Revised go-on rates improve, but still don’t approach pre-pandemic rates

More Idaho students went to college during the pandemic than previously reported, according to a Friday news release from the State Board of Education.

New data provided by the National Student Clearinghouse (a national nonprofit that provides the State Board with the college enrollment data necessary to build go-on rates) shows that Idaho’s college-going rates for 2020, 2021 and 2022 are 3 to 5 percentage points higher than previously thought.

The go-on rates reflect the number of students who went to college in the fall immediately following their high school graduation.

Before the boosts, the data showed a drop of 6 percentage points from 45% in 2019 to 39% in 2020. Now, the data reflects a slightly smaller — but still significant — drop of 5 percentage points during the first year of the pandemic, from 47% in 2019 to 42% in 2020.

The discrepancy occurred because the original data did not account for “a significant percentage” of Idaho students enrolled in out-of-state colleges, according to Andy Mehl, the State Board’s educational analytics system program manager.

Post Secondary Enrollment Original Published College Going Rate Revised College Going Rate
Fall 2020 39% 42%
Fall 2021 38% 43%
Fall 2022 39%* 42%*

“The National Student Clearinghouse has improved its processes and given us better data,” State Board Chief Technology Officer Chris Campbell said in Friday’s press release.

New go-on rate is consistent with past years, shows some stagnation

The data also shows Idaho’s newest fall-immediate go-on rate: 42%.

It means that 42% of 2022 high school graduates (or just under 8,500 students) went to college in the fall immediately following their high school graduation. In other words, the majority of high school graduates aren’t heading to college right away, if at all.

The new score is consistent with fall-immediate go-on rates for the past three years (43% in 2021 and 42% in 2020), showing that the number of Idaho seniors heading straight to college could be stagnating.

And even with the retroactive boosts, the 2020-2022 go-on rates still fall below pre-pandemic scores.

Idaho’s fall-immediate go-on rate last hit 50% in 2017. Since then, it’s been on the decline, with one slight uptick in 2021:

  • 2017: 50%
  • 2018: 49%
  • 2019: 47%
  • 2020: 42%
  • 2021: 43%
  • 2022: 42%

Although the scores are higher than originally thought, they still don’t approach the State Board’s 60% go-on goal. Still, researchers see the boosts as a win.

“More Idaho students were going on to college during the pandemic than the data originally showed and that is positive news,” said Campbell.

Sadie Dittenber

Sadie Dittenber

Reporter Sadie Dittenber focuses on K-12 policy and politics. She is a College of Idaho graduate, born and raised in the Treasure Valley. You can follow Sadie on Twitter @sadiedittenber and send her news tips at [email protected].

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