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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, November 5, 2003
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106 or Kim Beck 781-338-3105

Report Finds 73 Percent Of 2002 Graduates Headed To College After High School

MALDEN - More than 73 percent of graduates from the class of 2002 planned on attending college, a spike from 20 years ago when just 54 percent of graduates sought a higher education and more than 30 percent headed straight to work after high school.

Statewide and high school specific numbers are detailed in the Department of Education’s new “2002 Plans of High School Graduates” report, released Wednesday.

Of those not headed for college, 13 percent planned to work, 2 percent were headed to the military and 2 percent intended to attend other post-secondary schools. Data was unavailable for the remaining 9 percent.

“I am pleased to see that as time goes on, more of our students are pursuing a degree or career beyond the 12th grade,” said Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll. “It is critical that our students understand that a good education does not have to end with a high school diploma.”

The 2002 report is the first compiled using data from the state’s Student Information Management System. As a result, numbers are slightly lower in some categories than they were for the class of 2001, and the percentage for whom data was not available rose from 3 percent in 2001 to 9 percent.

Officials cautioned against drawing conclusions from the slight decline, noting that much of the difference is likely a result of the change in reporting and data collection system. Under the old system schools needed only to provide the number of students and their post-graduate plans as a whole, while the new system requires schools to report student plans individually.

“At this point I believe the slight drop has more to do with our new reporting system than an actual change in what our graduates are doing,” Driscoll said. “We will keep an eye on it, but we believe that over time this new system will allow us to report more accurate data, and to conduct more in-depth analysis of the plans of our graduates.”

According to the 2002 report, 29 percent of those planning to attend college were headed to a private four-year school, 23 percent were headed to a public four-year college, 18 percent were headed to a public two-year college and 3 percent were headed for a private two-year college.

From 1982 to 2002 the percentage of graduates intending to attend a two-year college rose from 16 to 20 percent, and the percentage intending to attend a four-year college rose from 38 to 52 percent.

Just as the college-bound numbers have risen over the past two decades, the percentage heading to work has declined. In 1977, 32 percent were planning to go straight to work, whereas in 2002 just 13 percent chose work as their post-graduate intention.

Other results include:

  • More women planned to attend college than men, continuing a 10-year trend. In 2002 79 percent of female graduates planned to attend a two- or four-year college, compared to 67 percent of male graduates. In contrast, 17 percent of males planned to go straight to work, as compared to 9 percent of females.
  • The percentage of graduates heading to a two- or four-year college varied widely: 79 percent of Asians; 75 percent of whites, 64 percent of African-Americans, 60 percent of Native Americans and 54 percent of Hispanics.
  • Among vocational-technical school graduates, 47 percent planned on working, 24 percent planned to attend a two-year college and 13 percent planned to attend a four-year college.
  • Among charters school graduates, 69 percent planned to attend a four-year college, 17 percent planned to attend a two-year college, 6 percent planned to work and 2 percent planned to enter the military.

To view the entire report, as well as individual high school results, look online at

Last Updated: November 5, 2003
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