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Information Services - Statistical Reports

Plans of High School Graduates 1998

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education collects data annually from high schools regarding the plans of high school graduates. The following report summarizes this data at the state level for the Class of 1998 and includes analyses by racial/ethnic groups and gender. Comparison data from past years are also provided, as well as individual school and district data. It is important to note that the data represent the intentions of high school graduates and may not reflect what students actually do after graduating from high school.

In 1998, a total of 50,452 students graduated from Massachusetts public high schools. Of these graduates, nearly 74 percent planned on attending college or some other post-secondary institution, almost 16 percent planned on working, and nearly three percent intended to enter the military (Figure 1 and Table 1). Of the graduates planning to attend college, nearly three times as many planned to attend a four-year college than planned to attend a two-year college (53 versus 19 percent of all graduates).

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Figure 1. Plans of 1998 High School Graduates

Of the total number of graduates:

  • 72% planned to attend college
    • Public 4-year college - 22%
    • Private 4-year college - 31%
    • Public 2-year college - 16%
    • Private 2-year college - 3%
  • 2% planned to attend other post-secondary schools
  • 16% planned to work
  • 3% planned to enter the military

Pie Charts of Graduate Plans

Table 1. Plans of High School Graduates: Class of 1998

Percentage of Graduates by Plans

 Number of
Graduates
Public College Private College Other Post-
Secondary
Military Work Other Data Not Available
2-Year 4-Year 2-Year 4-Year
Total 50,452 15.5 22.5 3.0 30.7 2.1 2.6 16.2 3.6 3.9
Gender
Male 24,745 14.3 20.7 2.5 27.6 2.5 4.5 20.3 3.9 3.7
Female 25,707 16.6 24.2 3.4 33.8 1.8 0.8 12.2 3.2 4.0
Racial/Ethnic Group
African-American 3,824 13.5 16.7 4.3 21.2 2.0 2.8 12.2 7.8 19.5
Asian 2,088 10.8 24.8 2.6 41.4 2.0 1.2 7.6 3.2 6.4
Hispanic 3,306 24.4 11.8 4.5 12.7 2.2 3.9 21.6 7.2 11.7
Native American 75 18.7 16.0 4.0 16.0 5.3 4.0 18.7 9.3 8.0
White 41,159 15.2 23.7 2.7 32.6 2.1 2.6 16.5 2.9 1.7

Gender

In the 1998 graduating class, 78 percent of female graduates planned to attend a two- or four-year college, compared to 65 percent of male graduates, while a higher percentage of male graduates than female graduates (20 versus 12 percent) intended to work. Over five times as many males as females planned to enter the military (approximately 5 versus 1 percent). These differences extend a gender pattern seen in recent years.

Racial/Ethnic Groups

Post-graduate plans also varied according to racial/ethnic group (Figure 2). The percentage of Asian graduates planning to attend a two- or four-year college (80 percent) was higher than that of white graduates (74 percent), African-American graduates (56 percent), Native American graduates (55 percent), and Hispanic graduates (53 percent). While comparisons by race of the percentage of graduates planning to attend public colleges varied only slightly, the rates for those planning to attend private colleges show more substantial variations between racial/ethnic groups.

Graduates Planning to Attend College byRacial/Ethnic Group

Trends over Time

The percentage of graduates planning to attend college has increased over the past twenty years, from 51 percent in 1978, to 64 percent in 1988, and to 72 percent of all graduates in 1998 (Table 2). Between 1978 and 1998, the percentage of graduates planning to attend a two-year college increased from 14 percent to 19 percent, and the percentage planning to attend a four-year college rose from 37 percent to 53 percent. Over that same time period, the percentage of high school graduates intending to enroll in a private college increased from 24 to 34 percent, and the percentage intending to enroll in a public college increased from 27 percent to 38 percent (Figure 3 and Figure 4).

Graduates Planning to Attend College

Table 2. Plans of High School Graduates: 1975-1998

Percentage of Graduates by Plans

Class Number of
Graduates
Public College Private College Other Post-Secondary MilitaryWorkOther Data Not Available
2-Year4-Year2-Year4-Year
1998 50,452 15.5 22.5 3.0 30.7 2.1 2.6 16.2 3.6 3.9
1997 49,008 15.2 22.8 3.3 30.6 2.5 2.8 16.8 3.4 2.6
1996 47,994 14.1 23.4 3.9 30.8 2.6 2.8 16.2 3.7 2.4
1995 47,679 13.8 23.0 4.5 29.9 2.5 2.8 17.4 3.8 2.3
1994 47,453 14.1 22.7 4.5 29.2 2.8 2.9 17.0 4.2 2.7
1993 48,394 14.2 21.7 5.0 28.5 2.8 3.2 17.4 4.4 2.9
1992 50,323 14.8 21.4 4.7 27.5 3.2 3.4 17.9 4.1 2.8
1991 50,216 14.9 22.7 4.6 24.6 3.9 3.4 19.2 3.6 3.2
1990 51,496 15.1 20.7 5.2 24.3 3.8 3.0 21.6 3.9 2.3
1989 57,328 14.5 21.0 5.3 23.2 3.7 2.9 23.6 3.7 2.2
1988 59,515 13.5 21.4 4.9 23.7 3.9 3.1 24.5 2.8 2.4
1987 59,552 12.4 20.7 5.0 22.4 4.1 3.4 24.9 3.7 3.5
1986 61,261 10.9 20.5 5.2 21.9 4.6 3.5 27.9 3.2 2.4
1985 63,411 10.5 19.8 5.0 21.7 4.7 4.0 28.0 4.5 1.9
1984 65,885 10.3 18.5 4.9 22.0 4.7 4.1 28.6 4.3 2.6
1983 71,225 10.7 18.3 4.9 20.4 5.4 4.6 28.9 4.5 2.6
1982 74,299 10.9 18.1 4.8 20.3 5.5 4.3 29.7 4.1 2.5
1981 74,876 10.9 18.7 4.4 19.5 5.3 4.0 30.4 4.7 2.1
1980 73,802 10.1 18.2 4.4 20.3 5.7 4.0 31.1 4.0 2.3
1979 76,391 10.2 17.2 4.3 19.5 5.4 3.5 32.8 4.7 2.4
1978 78,348 10.2 17.2 4.0 19.3 5.2 3.8 32.2 5.0 3.1
1977 72,393 11.0 16.5 4.2 19.3 5.5 4.2 31.8 4.8 2.7
1976 75,386 10.7 15.6 4.5 18.4 5.7 4.0 30.8 6.6 3.7
1975 78,408 11.1 16.4 4.2 17.5 5.6 4.0 30.9 6.1 4.3

The overall percentage of graduates planning to attend college has increased from 49 percent in 1975 to 72 percent in 1998. The percentage of graduates planning to attend a private two-year college has declined in recent years, while the percentage planning to attend public two- and four-year colleges has grown slightly. From 1975 to 1998, the percentage of graduates planning to attend a private four-year college has shown the highest increase, from 18 percent to 31 percent.

Figure 4

As the percentage of graduates planning to attend college has increased, the percentage of graduates planning to work, attend some other post-secondary institution, or enter the military has decreased (Figure 5). The percentage of graduates planning to work fell from 32 percent in 1978 to 16 percent in 1998. The percentage of graduates planning to attend a non-college post-secondary institution decreased from five to two percent, and the percentage planning to enter the military decreased slightly from four to three percent over the same time period.

Figure 5

Data Collection and Reporting by Individual Schools and Districts

Data about the plans of high school graduates were obtained from the Year-End School Indicator Report, a survey of Massachusetts public schools conducted by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at the end of every school year. School officials report the number of graduating students by gender and race across nine categories of post-graduation plans.

View the School and District Report



Last Updated: September 1, 1999
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