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Many California High School Graduates Still Not Completing College

According to a new report by California Competes, a policy and advocacy organization focusing on the state’s system of higher education, California’s high school graduation rates have increased significantly in recent years, but the percentage of those students who complete their college education continues to lag.

California’s high school graduation rate – measured by the percentage of students who begin in the 9th grade and graduate four years later – increased from 77 percent in 2010 to 84 percent in 2016. But just over half of California’s college students – 55 percent – earn associate degrees at a community college in three years or bachelor’s degrees in six years.

That figure includes completion rates for private institutions as well as the state’s public colleges and universities. Completion rates are lowest at the California Community Colleges.

Broken down by race and ethnicity:

  • Nearly 90 percent of white students graduate from high school, while 60 percent complete their college degrees.
  • 81 percent of Latino students graduate from high school, but only 47 percent of students complete their college degrees.
  • Among African-American students, 73 percent graduate from high school, but only 38 percent complete their degrees.

The report also points to widening gender disparities. Just over half of girls (51 percent) graduate from high school meeting eligibility requirements to enter a CSU or UC, while only 40 percent of boys do. What’s more, male students have far lower college completion rates (52 percent) compared to women (58 percent).

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