Report: Percentage of college-bound students in Indiana declining

The percentage of Indiana high school graduates enrolling in college continues to drop, according to a report by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

The 2019 College Readiness Report shows that 63% of 2017 graduates went immediately to college, dropping from 64% in 2016 and 65% in 2015, The Journal Gazette reported. The national average is 67%, the commission said.

"One of the challenges facing higher education and reflected in this report is the decline in enrollment over recent years. Declining birth rates will impact enrollment patterns in the future, too," Teresa Lubbers, Indiana's commissioner for higher education, said in a statement.

The report found that around 46% of the 2017 high school graduates were enrolled in a public state college, with Ivy Tech Community being the most favored.

Carl Drummond, vice chancellor for academic affairs and enrollment management at Purdue University Fort Wayne, said the statewide slip hasn't impacted the college.

"Rather, last fall we experienced an 11.9% increase in new student enrollment and we are anticipating further growth in new students in the fall 2019 class,"
Drummond said. "We believe these gains have been achieved because we offer outstanding academic programs, a generous financial aid program, and an institutional commitment to student success."

Roughly 67% of college-bound students wanted to earn a bachelor's degree, the report revealed, and many received a college credit while in high school. The report also notes that 88% of the students did not require remediation.

John Shannon, vice president for academic affairs at Trine University, said he has observed that college-bound students are entering the institution better prepared.

"Trine University has raised its academic criteria from what it was in past years, and yet our student body continues to grow, so we (know) that our students have higher credentials coming in," Shannon said in an email. "Anecdotally, it seems that they are transferring in more dual enrollment credits than ever before, as well."

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