ARIZONA NEWS

Number of Arizona high school graduates going to college continues to fall, report finds

Nov 22, 2021, 4:45 AM

(File photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)...

(File photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

(File photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

PHOENIX –Less than half of high school graduates in Arizona decided to pursue postsecondary education last year, continuing a trend that has education leaders concerned.

The Arizona Board of Regents Postsecondary Attainment Report for the fiscal year of 2021 found 46.3% of Arizona’s high school graduating class of 2020 enrolled in a two- or four-year college, a nearly 7% drop from 2019.

It marks the third straight year the number of graduates in Arizona going to college fell, and the first in the last 10 years in which a majority decided not to pursue postsecondary education.

The increase in graduates with no postsecondary enrollment last year was likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as numbers fell across the country, but the state was already not keeping pace before the onset of COVID-19 with the report saying Arizona “significantly trails the national average.”

It was also found that among the 2015 Arizona high school graduates, 27.4% completed a two- or four-year degree program after high school. That marks a decrease from the 2013 and 2014 classes that both had a postsecondary completion near 30%.

Considering Arizona’s low college enrollment and completion rate, along with the high school completion rate that ranks among the bottom quartile in the country, the report said only 16.8% of today’s freshmen will graduate from a four-year college in 2029 if trends stay on the current trajectory.

“Barring a change in the trajectory of postsecondary enrollment, the Arizona workforce will not be equipped to meet the demands of the state’s growing economy,” ABOR Executive Director John Arnold said in a press release.

“As a state, we need to improve our college-going culture or Arizona’s long-term economic health is at risk.”

It was also found there is a significant gap between Arizona schools, with the top Arizona high schools educating 8.7% of graduates and producing 21% of those who enrolled in a four-year college.

There wasn’t much of a difference for students who did pursue postsecondary education in 2020 deciding on a four-year college, but two-year college enrollment fell by just over 6% year-over-year to 17.9% as opposed to the 28.3% year-over-year of four-year colleges.

Those high school graduates who decided to go to a four-year college stayed close to home, with 68.3% pursuing a four-year degree at an Arizona public university.

The report also noted college enrollment of Black high school graduates increased in 2020 while enrollment of Hispanic graduates stayed the same and enrollment of Native American graduates decreased.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks on the 59th commemoration of the Bloody Sunday Selma bridge cro...

KTAR.com

VP Kamala Harris to visit Phoenix day after president’s State of the Union address

Vice President Kamala Harris is coming to Phoenix this week, one day after President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address.

2 hours ago

(OdySea Aquarium PR photo)...

KTAR.com

Mermaid Magic returns to OdySea Aquarium in Scottsdale for spring break

OdySea Aquarium is bringing back Mermaid Magic for a limited time from March 13-18, it announced last week.

4 hours ago

The Salvation Army closed its Tempe location on University Drive and Myrtle Avenue while renovation...

David Veenstra

Salvation Army closes Tempe location during renovations of new facility

The Salvation Army closed its Tempe location on University Drive and Myrtle Avenue while renovations are underway at its new facility.

4 hours ago

A sports fan checks odds at FanDuel Sportsbook in downtown Phoenix. (Cronkite News Photo)...

Brandon Brown/Phoenix Business Journal

Sports betting saw gains in Arizona in 2023, but not all sportsbooks shared in the surge

The sports betting market continued to grow in Arizona in 2023 with more than $6.57 billion wagered on sporting events in the state last year.

5 hours ago

Joe Elliott of Def Leppard performs on Sept. 21, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada....

KTAR.com

Here are the shows set for Phoenix area’s biggest concert stages in 2024

Here are all the headline acts set to perform at the Phoenix area's large-scale concert venues in the coming months.

5 hours ago

File photo of Phoenix Police cruiser with lights on at night...

KTAR.com

Collision leaves 1 dead, another seriously injured in north Phoenix

Police is investigating a collision that killed one adult man and seriously injured another in north Phoenix.

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Number of Arizona high school graduates going to college continues to fall, report finds