Idaho’s 2016 college “go-on” numbers are up slightly, compared to a similar snapshot from 2015.
But even if the numbers are improving — and that’s still open to interpretation — they also show that Idaho has a long way to go to meet its ambitious college graduation goals.
According to new State Board of Education statistics, 48 percent of Idaho’s high school class of 2016 enrolled in college within 12 months of graduation. These are preliminary numbers — and at a similar point in time last summer, the State Board calculated the 2015 “go-on rate” at a discouraging 46 percent.
The go-on rate is one of the state’s most scrutinized education metrics. That’s because the state’s political, business and education leaders want 60 percent of the state’s 25- to 34-year-olds to hold a postsecondary degree or certificate. Idaho will not meet its “60 percent” goal by its original 2020 target date.
THE GO-ON RATE: GOING UP OR GOING DOWN?
That depends on how you look at the numbers.
The State Board now pegs the 2015 go-on rate at 51 percent — not the original 46 percent, and 3 percentage points higher than the 2016 number.
But on Monday, State Board officials cautioned against comparing this updated 51 percent number to the 48 percent go-on rate for 2016.
Since last summer, the State Board has been tracking the whereabouts of 2015 high school graduates and refining the 2015 go-on number.
The State Board has used its in-house data to track enrollments at Idaho’s public colleges and universities. The State Board uses the National Student Clearinghouse, a Herndon, Va.-based nonprofit, to track down Idaho students who enroll in out-of-state, private or for-profit colleges. The State Board also uses Idaho high school counselors to track down college-bound students who might otherwise fall through the cracks.