Baltimore College Fact Book: Data Digest of College Access Outcomes

June 2020 / Abell-Supported Research
Two young men study in a library.
With support from the Abell Foundation, the Baltimore Education Research Consortium (BERC) released a College Fact Book, a compendium of college access-related data that provides a detailed overview of Baltimore City Schools (City Schools) students’ experiences preparing for, enrolling in, and completing postsecondary education.

The Abell Foundation has supported the work of the Baltimore Education Research Consortium (BERC) around college access for Baltimore City Public School students since 2007.

BERC’s latest publication, “Baltimore College Fact Book: Data Digest of College Access Outcomes,” by Rachel E. Durham, Zyrashae Smith and Curt Cronister, provides a detailed update on how graduates of Baltimore City Schools (City Schools) apply to, enroll in, and graduate from colleges. Part of a longitudinal data study dating back more than a decade, this version of the College Fact Book tracks students through the class of 2018 in order to better understand graduates’ transition to college. For the first time, this report includes the trajectories of students who were first-time ninth graders and provides their college enrollment and degree completion information.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Total fall college enrollment increased slightly from 43.9% for the class of 2015 to 45.3% among the class of 2018.  Among recent graduates, enrollment at 4-year colleges was more common than enrollment at 2-year colleges.
  • The average graduate across the classes of 2016 through 2018 completed more than three applications to college. However, the number of college applications completed varied dramatically across high schools.
  • After four years, approximately one-third of first-time 9th grade students enrolled in college during their on-time fall enrollment window.
  • Student achievements and behaviors during 9th grade are remarkably predictive of fall enrollment outcomes. Students with no core course failures in 9th grade were seven times more likely to enroll in a 4-year college on time than students with only one core course failure. Similarly, students with a 9th grade attendance rate of at least 95% were over nine times more likely to enroll in a 4-year college than students who were chronically absent that year.

The College Fact Book will inform the work of educators, partners, policy-makers, and researchers working to support students in Baltimore City Public Schools.