Key Questions

1. What is the current state of the educational attainment of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students?

2. How have CPS students performed on key attainment milestones over time?


This annual report looks closely at how CPS students are progressing on the path to and through high school and college. In particular, we examine three key milestones: high school graduation, college enrollment, and college completion, and track how rates on these milestones have changed across time. These rates are then used to calculate an updated Post-secondary Attainment Index (PAI) which represents the proportion of current CPS ninth-graders who would complete any degree or certificate from a two-year or four-year college within 10 years, if current rates of attainment were to hold constant over the next decade. The 2021 PAI is calculated using the most recent available data: 2021 high school graduation rates, college enrollment rates for 2021 high school graduates, and rates of college completion for 2014 high school graduates.

This year’s educational attainment updates are shared via a webpage that links to additional data on the To&Through Project’s data tool.

Key Findings

  • The 2022 CPS high school graduation rate has surpassed pre-pandemic measures after a decline in 2021--reaching its highest rate ever.
    • Among first-time ninth-graders, the high school graduation rate was 84.0% in 2022 vs. 81.8% in 2021.
  • 2022 college enrollment rates are slightly higher than 2021 rates and continued to climb after declines seen in 2020.
    • Among the CPS graduating class of 2022, 60.8% of grads enrolled in a two-year or four-year college in the first summer or fall following high school graduation vs. 59.3% in 2021.
    • Nationally, according to the National Student Clearinghouse, the 2022 college enrollment rate for high poverty high schools was 49.9%.
  • College completion rates among 2-year college enrollees have reached a new high.
    • 32.5% of 2015 CPS graduates who immediately enrolled in a community college earned a degree or credential by 2021, up 4.6 percentage points from 27.9% for the prior cohort. i. Note: the high school graduating class of 2015 was the first class eligible for the STAR Scholarship to City Colleges of Chicago.
    • 55.8% of 2015 CPS graduates who enrolled in a 4-year college earned a degree or credential by 2021, holding relatively steady since last year's update.
  • While the overall PAI has reached an all-time high, there are still differences in the PAIs for different student groups, representing important opportunities for improvements to ensure equitable college access for all CPS students.
    • There were three student groups who had PAIs that fell below the district rate of 30%: The 2022 PAI for Black young men is 13.6%, for Black young women is 23.3%, and for Latino young men is 24.4%.

Click below to view a webinar of the authors presenting the research in the report (October 12, 2023).

Click below to view a 90-second episode of GO FIGURE, with Shelby Mahaffie explaining Figure 1 of this research (December 13, 2023).

Click below to view a 90-second episode of GO FIGURE, with Alexandra Usher explaining the data tool figure from this research (December 13, 2023).