College enrollment by recent high school grads is down

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College enrollment by the high school class of 2013 was lower than it has been for any graduating class since 2006, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.

The federal bureau’s annual report on college enrollment and work activity of the most recent national class of high school graduates showed the rate at which the graduates enrolled in college dropped to 65.9 percent as measured in October as part of the Current Population Survey.

College enrollment by recent high school graduates reached a record high in 2009 when 70.1 percent of those with a high school diploma went on to seek higher education.

In the aftermath of the Great Recession, that number declined to 68 percent in 2010 and 2011, then 66.2 percent in 2012, and the decline is continuing.

Of the 2013 grads who enrolled in further schooling, about 60 percent attended four-year colleges or universities. The freshmen in those colleges were less likely to be working or trying to get a job than the students who went on to two-year programs.

Those in a four-year program were in the labor force at a rate of 27.8 percent, while 45.2 of those in two-year schools were working or looking for work.

Recent high school graduates who did not go to college were in the labor force at a much higher rate — 74.2 percent — but that didn’t mean they had jobs, only that they were seeking work.

Recent graduates who were not in college had an unemployment rate of 30.9 percent, compared to 20.2 percent for those who signed up for college.

Ann Belser: 412-263-1699 or

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