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Washington Lags Behind in Chance for College by Age 19

Release Date: 

June 3, 2013

The Postsecondary Education Opportunity recently released a report ranking states by the chance for college by age 19. That is, the percent of students who attend college immediately after high school. Washington ranked 47th at 35.3%, and was listed as a national laggard.

Chance for College by Age 19 = High School Graduation Rate x College Continuation Rate

Washington was ranked as high as 8th in 1986, but steadily lost ground and then has hovered in the mid-forties for the last 10 years.

Table showing Washington's rank every two years from 1986-2010. The rank has dropped from 8th in 1986 to 47th in 2010

There are several factors that contribute to Washington’s low rank. One is the degree to which we don’t align our high school graduation requirements with college entrance requirements. The State Board of Education is working with the Legislature to pass HB 2051 which would expand the educational program to provide all students the opportunity to complete career and college ready requirements.

Map of U.S. showing chance for college by age 19 in all 50 states, from 2010

According to the report, in the fall of 2010, 45.6% of all 19-year-olds were enrolled in a public or private, 2-year or 4-year college or university somewhere in the U.S. (that is the highest enrollment rate on record in data reported since 1986). Looking at state specific data, the chance for college by age 19 in 2010 ranged from 26.3% in Nevada to 61.5% in Minnesota.

Media Contact: 

Alissa Muller, SBE Communications Manager, (360) 725-6501