More Colorado high school students are going to and staying in college

Nearly 57 percent of students in the class of 2015 enrolled in a postsecondary institution, according to a new report from the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

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Hinkley College Center director Jazmin Lopez speaks with senior Moise Kombo in January. (Photo by Nicholas Garcia )

Hinkley College Center director Jazmin Lopez speaks with senior Moise Kombo in January. (Nicholas Garcia/Chalkbeat)

By Nicholas GarciaChalkbeat 

More Colorado high school graduates are going on to colleges and universities — and succeeding.

Nearly 57 percent of students in the class of 2015 enrolled in a postsecondary institution, according to a new report from the Colorado Department of Higher Education. That’s up more than half a percentage point since 2014.

About three-fourths of those 30,000 graduates chose to attend a Colorado college or university.

The college-going population is also more diverse. Almost every ethnic group saw an increase in the college going-rate. But large gaps still exist between the number of white students enrolling compared to black and Latino students.

Black and Latino students are still less likely to enroll in college and earn a credential than their white and Asian counterparts, the report found.

There’s also new evidence that students are succeeding after arriving on campus.

The average grade point average for college freshmen was 2.79 in 2015. The average is up for a sixth straight year.

First-year Colorado college students are also more likely to remain in their programs compared to the national average. About 87 percent of first-year students are on track to graduate while about 60 percent of two-year college students are.

Here are some other key findings from the report:

  • Sixty-one percent of female high school graduates enrolled in college compared to 52 percent of male graduates.
  • Hispanic students are the most likely to enroll at a two-year college.
  • Asian students are the most likely to enroll at a four-year institution.
  • Nearly 33 percent of first-year college students received a Federal Pell Grant, which helps low-income students pay for college, in 2015.
  • About 75 percent of students who enrolled in college right after high school have completed at least 18.5 credit hours by the end of their first year.
  • The first-year persistence rate for 2014 high schools graduates was 87 percent at four-year institutions and 60 percent at two-year colleges.
  • The second-year persistence rate for 2013 high school graduates pursuing a bachelor’s degree was just over 90 percent.

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.