Public High School Graduates that Earn a College degree by Age 25

I am back at making Sankey diagrams to illustrate the pathway to college degrees. Today I have manipulated data published by the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center. Look at the College and Workforce Outcomes for Maryland High School Graduates data dashboards and the college pipeline report. MLDS produces dashboards on three populations, immediate college enrollees, non-traditional college enrollees, and “complete” college enrollees. I used that information and a little fudging to make a Sankey diagram showing the pathway to a college degree, which for this data is defined as a postsecondary certificate, or an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degree or higher. Unfortunately, this data set does not track the type of degree earned or the pathway the students took to earn the degree, although I hope to play around with the data in the future making some educated guesses to illustrate those pathways. For this diagram, I used the class of 2011.

Approximately 78% of public high school graduates enrolled in college either full-time or part-time as degree-seeking or non-degree seeking at any point after high school graduation. Overall approximately 50% of students who enrolled in college at any time earned a college degree by age 25. Those who are reported as not earning a college degree by age 25 may be actively pursuing a college degree at age 25 or earn a college degree after age 25.

Click here if you can not see the diagram.

Sources: Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center, College and Workforce Outcomes for Maryland High School Graduates; Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center, College Pipeline Report

Notes on the Data

  • College enrollment and graduation from Maryland’s community colleges, four-year public institutions and state-aided independent institutions is evaluated using data from the Maryland Higher Education Commission. College enrollment and graduation from out-of-state colleges and in-state private colleges is evaluated using data from National Student Clearinghouse. National Student Clearinghouse reports college graduation for the five year period after high school graduation, which is approximately age 23. It is possible additional students graduate from out-of-state colleges or in-state private career colleges after five years. Those records are not available to include in this analysis.
  • Non-Traditional College Enrollment includes high school graduates that either delayed degree-seeking enrollment in college until age 20, or enrolled for the first time as part-time degree-seeking. Non-Traditional College Enrollment is not reported until two years have lapsed since high school graduation.
  • A high school graduate is considered enrolled in college if the graduate meets the definition of Immediate College Enrollment. Immediate college enrollment is defined as a high school graduate who enrolls in college as a full-time, degree-seeking student in the fall immediately following high school graduation.
  • Students reported as “No College Degree by Age 25” may be actively pursuing a college degree at age 25 or earn a college degree after age 25.
  • The data in the diagram has not yet been fully checked. This post is the product of an active learning process. I plan to revisit the data and diagram in the future.

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