Nearly 5,000 More Graduates Enrolled in Two- and Four-Year Colleges in 2018 than in 2012

BATON ROUGE, LA—The Louisiana Department of Education, in partnership with the Louisiana Board of Regents, today announced a record 25,083 public high school graduates from the Class of 2018 enrolled in college in the fall immediately following graduation, an increase of 1,566 over the Class of 2017 and an increase of 4,626 over the Class of 2012. The number of graduates attending higher education after graduating from high school has increased by 23 percent since 2012.

More than half of the growth is due to African-American students pursuing education and training after high school. Nearly 2,500 more African-American graduates from the Class of 2018 enrolled in higher education than did from the Class of 2012.

The results announced today follow the release of the statewide graduation results for the Class of 2018, the highest achieving cohort in the state’s history. Those results showed an increase the overall graduation rate, as well as in the rate at which students earn early-college credit or state-approved industry-valued career credentials, the number of graduates qualifying for Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, or TOPS, scholarships, and the number of seniors completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

“Louisiana is one of just four states in the nation that has aligned requirements to receive a high school diploma with admissions eligibility for the state public university system,” said State Superintendent John White, citing a report by the Center for American Progress. “We are proud to partner with the Louisiana Board of Regents to announce the results of that alignment. Not only are more students achieving eligibility for TOPS awards, they are applying those awards to their postsecondary pursuits and positioning themselves for lifelong success.”

“We are delighted to applaud this good news because we know what it means for our students. In today’s rapidly changing economy a high school diploma is no longer enough,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed. “Louisiana’s citizens need a credential of value to participate and prosper in the workforce. Regents is energized by our collaborative work to blur the lines between high school, higher education and the workforce so that today’s students can seamlessly access the knowledge and skills they need to thrive. This is how we move from poverty to prosperity in Louisiana.”

Class of 2018 College Enrollment Highlights

The number of graduates enrolled in the Fall semester immediately following  graduation, known as the number of first-time freshmen (FTF), has increased over time, just as the number of students graduating high school in four years has climbed.

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2017-2018 2012-2018
#FTF 20,457 21,744 22,972 22,188 22,860 23,517 25,083 +1,566 +4,626
#Grad 36,705 37,655 38,785 38,244 40,031 40,735 43,707 +2,972 +7,002

Among the other highlights of the college-bound graduates from the Class of 2018:

  • The number of historically disadvantaged graduates enrolling in college has significantly increased over time. Over 2,500 more students of color, nearly 5,000 more economically disadvantaged students, and 400 more students with disabilities enrolled in college in 2018 than did in 2012.
  • The proportion of graduates enrolling in two- versus four-year colleges has remained steady. The percent of college-going graduates in two- and four-year colleges in 2018 has remained steady from the previous year and since 2012. In 2018, 29 percent of college-bound graduates enrolled in two-year colleges, and 71 percent enrolled in four-year colleges.
  • The percentage of graduates enrolling in out-of-state colleges has inched upward. In 2018, 88 percent of high school graduates enrolled in an in-state college, while 12 percent enrolled in an out-of-state college. That’s a slight increase from 2017, when the percentages were 89 percent and 11 percent, respectively.
  • Twenty-two school systems exceeded the state’s average graduation rate and college enrollment rate in 2018. The top three school systems to do this with the highest college enrollment rates are Zachary, West Feliciana, and St. James parishes–all of which topped 68 percent.

View all data in the “High School Performance” library on the Department’s website.

To support the rise in college enrollment, Louisiana has:

  • Implemented higher academic standards, comparable with states across the country;
  • Provided access to the ACT to all 11th grade students, regardless of background or income;
  • Offered students the opportunity to earn college credit by taking rigorous coursework through dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate and by participating in the College Level Examination Program;
  • Expanded and diversified Jump Start, the state’s career and technical education program, to provide career courses and workplace experiences to high school students;
  • Measured how well schools equip students for postsecondary success through the state’s accountability system; and
  • Required students to choose whether or not to complete financial aid forms to fund their postsecon