More Hawaii high school students are earning college credits before graduating. But the percentage of Hawaii graduates who actually went to college didn’t budge in 2015, a new report shows.
The disconnect is a concern for school leaders, who had hoped giving students a head start on college credits would translate into gains in Hawaii's college-going rate.
The new school-by-school report shows that 10 percent of public school students who graduated in 2015 participated in dual-credit courses, earning high school and college credits, up from six percent in 2013.
And about 30 percent completed at least one Advanced Placement course, from 28 percent in 2014. (Not all of those students passed the AP exam with a score high enough to earn college credit, but the number who did went up.)
Those increases didn’t push up Hawaii's college-going rate: 56 percent of the Class of 2015 were enrolled in a two- or four-year institution the fall after their graduation.
That’s the same as the Class of 2015, and up from 54 percent in 2013.
Karen Lee, executive director of Hawaii P-20, an educational consortium aimed at helping students get to – and get through – college, said 56 percent is still a number Hawaii schools should be proud of.
Though the percentage didn’t go up in 2015, it’s 6 percentage points higher than the total in 2010.
“It’s on an upward trend,” she said.
Still, Hawaii trails the nation on the metric.
Federal statistics for the Class of 2013, the latest year for which data is available, show that about 66 percent of public high school students nationally attended college after graduating from high school.
Hawaii has long struggled to boost its college-going rates, and has set in place a host of initiatives aimed at making the transition from high school to college easier.
Statistics from the newly-released College and Career Readiness Indicators report, which will be presented to the Board of Education on April 5, show while those efforts are reaching many students, at-risk populations aren't seeing across-the-board gains.
For example, the college-going rate among Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander graduates was just 40 percent for the Class of 2015.
Meanwhile, the college-going rate among economically-disadvantaged students has held steady at 44 percent over the last three years, while the rate for those not in the category has gone up.
And women continue to outperform men: 49 percent of men enrolled in college after graduation. By comparison, the college-going rate among women was 62 percent.
Achievement gaps were even higher at some schools. At King Kekaulike High School, just 33 percent of men in the Class of 2015 went to college. At Pearl City High, the college-going rate among economically-disadvantaged students was just 35 percent.
Still, there are plenty of bright spots to be found in the new figures.
For example, more seniors are opting to attend four-year institutions right out of high school. Of the 56 percent of Class of 2015 graduates who enrolled in college, 31 percent chose a four-year institution and 25 percent opted for a two-year college.
In 2010, by comparison, 24 percent of college-going seniors chose a four-year institution and 26 percent opted to attend two-year colleges.
Which school had the highest college-going rate?
That would be Kalani High, where 81 percent of the Class of 2015 enrolled in college after graduation. Roosevelt High took the second spot, with 76 percent, and Kaiser rounded out the top three, with 74 percent.
Also noteworthy: Some 6 in 10 of Hawaii’s college-going Class of 2015 seniors chose to remain in state, attending one of the University of Hawaii’s 10 campuses. And of those who attended UH, fewer required remedial courses.
Mobile users: See a school-by-school listing of college-going rates here.