This report looks closely at how CPS students are progressing on the path to and through high school and college. In particular, we examine five key milestones: Freshman OnTrack, high school graduation, college enrollment, college persistence, and college completion, and track how rates on these milestones have changed across time.

Key Findings

Freshman OnTrack

  • Freshman OnTrack rates have held steady at 89 percent since 2015.
  • The Freshman OnTrack rate for CPS is higher than the rate for the state of Illinois, which is 87 percent.
  • From 2007 to 2019, Black young men have had the largest increase in their FOT rate increasing 36 percentage points from 48 percent to 84 percent.

High School Graduation Rates

  • From 2007 to 2019, graduation rates increased by 22 percentage points from 60 percent to 82 percent.
  • Within racial/ethnic groups, young men were less likely to graduate from high school than young women.
  • Black young men and Black young women were much more likely to graduate from an options school.
  • Between 2009 and 2019, students with behavioral, learning, and physical disabilities became more likely to graduate within six years.

College Enrollment (for students graduating from CPS in 2018)

  • The proportion of CPS graduates enrolling immediately in college has risen gradually over time.
  • Forty-two percent of CPS graduates enrolled in a four-year college and 21 percent enrolled in a two-year institution for a total of 63 percent.
  • Thirty-five percent of Black young men and 31 percent of Latino young men enrolled immediately in a four-year college, compared to the district average of 42 percent.
  • The two-year college enrollment rate has nearly doubled among Latino students.
  • Students with disabilities were more likely to enroll in two-year than four-year colleges.
  • Forty-two percent of CPS graduates with learning disabilities enrolled immediately in college.

College Persistence

  • Rates of college persistence among immediate four-year enrollees declined slightly over the past decade.
  • Disparities in college persistence by race/ethnicity and gender have increased since 2007.
    • College persistence has fallen 11 percentage points among Black young men and 6 percentage points among Latino young men.
    • Across all race/ethnicity groups, young women are more likely to persist in college than young men, and these disparities have increased significantly since 2007.
  • Rates of persistence among immediate two-year enrollees have remained relatively flat around 46 percent.

College Completion

  • Completion rates for immediate four-year enrollees have remained around 50 percent over the last six cohorts of CPS graduates.
  • Disparities by race and gender in bachelor’s degree completion rates for immediate four-year enrollees widened over time.
  • Twenty-three percent of grads who immediately enrolled in a two-year college completed an associate degree or certificate.
  • Only 7 percent of grads who immediately enrolled in a two-year college completed a bachelor’s degree.
  • The likelihood of completing any degree is much lower for students who immediately enroll in a two-year college than a four-year college and is almost zero for students who do not immediately enroll in college.