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 for the first time via a webpage that links to additional data on the To&Through Project’s data tool.

Key Findings

  • If 2021 rates hold over the next decade, of 100 current CPS ninth-graders, 82 would graduate from high school within four years; 37 would enroll immediately in a four-year college; 13 would enroll immediately in a two-year college; and 27 would complete any college credential within 10 years of starting high school.
  • The CPS high school graduation rate declined for the first time in recent history: Among 2017–18 first-time ninth-graders, the high school graduation rate was 81.8% in 2021 vs. from 83.3% in 2020 and 82.2% in 2019.
  • 2021 college enrollment rates are slightly higher than 2020 rates, and lower than pre-pandemic levels. Among the CPS graduating class of 2021, 58.8% enrolled in a two-year or four-year college in the first summer or fall following high school graduation vs. 58.2% in 2020 and 62.4% in 2019.
  • 2021 college completion rates are similar to prior years. Among the CPS graduating class of 2014, 46% of students who immediately enrolled in college completed a bachelor’s degree, associate degree, or certificate within six years.


Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages