A college education generally enhances a person's employment prospects and increases his or her earning potential.112 The percentage of high school completers who enroll in college in the fall immediately after high school is one measure of the accessibility and perceived value of a college education by high school completers.113
NOTE: Enrollment in college, as of October of each year, is for individuals ages 16–24 who completed high school during the preceding 12 months. High school completion includes General Educational Development (GED) recipients. Moving averages are used to produce more stable estimates. A 3-year moving average is the average of the estimates for the year prior to the reported year, the reported year, and the following year. For 2011, a 2-year moving average is used, reflecting an average of the 2010 and 2011 estimates. For data before 2003, the 1977 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standards for data on race and ethnicity were used to classify persons into one of the following four racial groups: White, Black, American Indian or Alaskan Native, or Asian or Pacific Islander. The revised 1997 OMB standards were used for data for 2003 and later years. Under these standards, persons could select one or more of five racial groups: White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. Included in the total but not shown separately are American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and "Two or more races." Also beginning in 2003, those in a given racial category represent those reporting only that race. Data from 2003 onward are not directly comparable with data from earlier years. Data on race and Hispanic origin are collected separately. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, School Enrollment Supplement.
112 Dohm, A., and Wyatt, I. (2002, Fall). College at work: Outlook and earnings for college graduates, 2000–10. Occupational Outlook Quarterly, 46(3), 3–15.
113 "High school completer" refers to those who completed 12 years of school for survey years 1980–1991 and to those who earned a high school diploma or equivalent (e.g., a General Educational Development [GED] certificate) for all years since 1992.