Washington students still less likely to enroll in college after pandemic

Mar 10, 2023, 3:38 PM | Updated: 3:41 pm
(Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
(Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Over the past 10 years, high school graduation rates have increased significantly across Washington state, but the number of graduates pursuing a post-secondary degree directly after school has declined.

About 66,000 students graduated high school in Washington in 2013 compared to about 74,000 graduates in 2022. This is an increase from 76% of high school students graduating with a degree to 82% graduating with a degree.

Bellevue School District revise consolidation plans, only closing 2 schools

But according to a study by the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC), the direct enrollment rate following high school graduation dropped from 60% to 50% during the COVID-19 pandemic and has not yet recovered.

Only half of 2020 Washington high school graduates enrolled directly in a two-year or four-year college after graduating, compared to 59% in 2019.

This direct enrollment into college is also lower than the national average, despite this decrease also appearing as a national trend, where 66% enrolled directly in 2019 compared to 63% in 2020.

California’s direct enrollment rate fell by about two percentage points in 2020 (from 65% in 2019 to 63% in 2020,) and Idaho’s direct enrollment rate decreased by seven percentage points (from 46% to 39%.)

Declines in the direct enrollment rate also varied by race, which the WSAC said could further exacerbate existing racial inequities in postsecondary enrollment. The largest decline in direct enrollment was among Latino students. In total, the direct enrollment rate was 14 percentage points lower for Hispanic students in the Class of 2021 than before the pandemic.

“As evidence of the pandemic’s impact on students continues to mount, it is increasingly important that the state continues to provide ample resources and supports to students furthest from educational equity,” the report said.

Gates Foundation donates $1B to prioritize math education

As a result of the pandemic’s impact on students, the state continues to provide resources and supports to students furthest from educational equity. WSAC is working with partners across the state to build a more supportive environment for college access and success through the Regional Challenge Grant.

WSAC is also engaged in a variety of efforts to improve access to financial aid.

Local News

Former President Donald Trump listens as he speaks with reporters while in flight on his plane afte...
Associated Press

Donald Trump indicted; 1st ex-president charged with crime

A lawyer for Donald Trump said Thursday he's been told that the former president has been indicted in New York.
18 hours ago
ferry crash...
Chris Sullivan

WA Ferries blames ship captain for Cathlament ferry crash

The captain is to blame, according to the Washington State Ferries in its internal report on the crash of the Cathlament ferry last summer.
18 hours ago
parking rates...
Micki Gamez

Seattle on-street parking rates continue to increase

"The Seattle local laws require, that a few times a year, we adjust the parking rates based on real-time data," Bergerson said.
18 hours ago
Intercity Transit bus in Olympia (Photo from Flickr @Intercity Transit Advantage)...
L.B. Gilbert

Man chokes teenage girl, tries to kiss her at Lacey bus stop

A teenage girl reported to Lacey police that while she was waiting for a bus, a man assaulted her. The man was recently released from prison.
18 hours ago
missing child...
L.B. Gilbert

Seattle police look for missing 8-year-old child last seen in Ravenna

Seattle police have an alert out in hopes of finding an 8-year-old who has been missing since about 11 p.m. Wednesday.
18 hours ago
Pittsburgh Police and paramedics respond to Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School for what turned...
Associated Press

Washington man charged in 20-plus ‘swatting’ calls around US

SEATTLE (AP) — U.S. authorities on Thursday said they arrested a Washington state man who made more than 20 “swatting” calls around the country and in Canada, prompting real emergency responses to his fake reports of bombs, shootings or other threats. Ashton Connor Garcia, 20, of Bremerton, used voice-over-internet technology to conceal his identity as […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Washington students still less likely to enroll in college after pandemic