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Just 14 Percent of CPS Students Will Finish College, Report Says

By Sam Cholke | December 8, 2014 10:51pm
 A University of Chicago study found that more than a quarter of CPS' top-performing students never enroll in college.
A University of Chicago study found that more than a quarter of CPS' top-performing students never enroll in college.
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HYDE PARK — A University of Chicago report, to be published Tuesday, shows Chicago Public Schools is doing a better job at getting students out of high school, but only about one in seven students overall will finish college and black males still lag far behind.

The report from the Consortium on Chicago School Research shows that 73 percent of high school freshman will now go on to graduate, but only 14 percent of CPS ninth-graders of any race will earn a college degree within 10 years of starting high school.

That's up from 8 percent eight years ago.

Though a lot more CPS students are getting a shot at college, a little more then a third will choose to enroll in college and of those only half will finish.

“From 2006 to 2014, CPS nearly doubled the proportion of ninth-graders who are estimated to earn a four-year college degree within ten years of beginning high school,” the report says. “The increase was driven largely by a substantial rise in the high school graduation rate and, to a lesser extent, by modest increases in the college enrollment and college graduation rates.”

Chicago Public Schools officials said they were encouraged by the gains in high school graduation but felt they needed to do more to get kids to a point where they can enter college ready to finish with a degree.

“More and more students need to graduate high school with the academic and social-emotional skills necessary for the rigors of college, and we must ensure all of our students select colleges that best position them for success,” said Aarti Dhupelia, head of CPS’ office of college and career success.

She said CPS needs to do more to help students select the right college and must partner with college to make sure students are on-track to graduate.

The report suggested that there are other things CPS could do to get smart kids into good schools.

“Still, over a quarter of students with a high school [grade point average] of 3.5 or better and over a third of students with a 3.0-3.4 GPA do not enroll in a four-year college in the fall after high school graduation,” the report says.

The report also shows that black students did not share in many of the gains made by Hispanic, white and Asian students. In the last four years, black students were the only group whose chances of finishing college did not improve at all.

In fact, black men were the only group whose chances at finishing college actually went down. The report says the chance a black male freshman in CPS will get end up getting a college degree is now six percent.

CPS is doing better than many other urban school districts. Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., both reported that 10 percent or fewer or their students finish a four-year college degree.

But CPS trails national statistics. Approximately 18 percent of high school freshman go on to finish a college degree and 59 percent of students who enroll in college leave with a degree.

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