UCLA Community School Students Go to College at Higher Rates

New findings show 11 % increase in immediate college enrollment from 2014 to 2017.

To some, it may not seem to be a neighborhood where most of the kids go to college. The area around UCLA Community School near Koreatown in Los Angeles is populated by hardworking, low-income residents. About two-thirds are foreign born, many from Mexico and Central America. About 10 percent are Korean. The majority of students who attend the school come from families where money is always tight, and where economic hardship is real. Most begin school classified as English Learners.

But the students in UCLA Community School go to college at higher rates than their student peers in Los Angeles and across the nation, and they keep going.

A new analysis, the UCLA Community School Longitudinal College-going Data Report, finds that 86 percent of students in the class of 2017 enrolled in college immediately after high school, 60 percent in four-year colleges.  And the rate of persistence toward a college education for these students from the first year to second was 85 percent.

By way of comparison, in 2016, the immediate college enrollment rate in 4-year schools for students across the United States was 46 percent.  And the persistence rate from the first to the second year of college was 74 percent.

The research, by Sidronio Jacobo and Karen Hunter Quartz at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, examines the college plans, enrollment, and persistence of the UCLA Community School classes of 2014 to 2018.  To compile the analysis, The UCLA Community School Research and Accountability Committee (RAC) tracks the postsecondary success of UCLA-CS alumni using data from two databases: the UCLA-CS College Database and the UCLA-CS Postsecondary Pathways Database. In doing so the research draws on college enrollment data provided by the National Student Clearinghouse. The RAC also collects and provides data that may be missing from NSC reports.

The findings show an increase in immediate college enrollment by UCLA Community School students from 75 percent in 2014 to 86 percent in the class of 2017. Enrollment in four-year colleges has increased by more than 10 percent (49% to 60%) during the same time period. By comparison, enrollment rates by students from schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District have remained relatively flat at about 36 percent. There has been a 2 percent gain (from 44% to 46%) nationally during the same time period.

With a persistence rate of 85 percent of students in 2016, college persistence rates at the UCLA Community school also slightly exceed those for students across California (69%) and Nationally (4%) in 2016. And one important note, overall, the persistence rates of Latino graduates attending four-year colleges increased from 47% 2014 to 61% 2016.

“Overall, this report on the first four cohorts of UCLA Community School graduates provides strong initial evidence that the school is developing a robust college-going culture for first-generation, college-going students,” said Karen Hunter Quartz, Director of UCLA Center for Community Schooling. “The next frontier will be tracking college graduation rates in 2020 when graduates of the Class of 2014 reach their sixth postsecondary year.”

The full report can be found online at https://communityschooling.gseis.ucla.edu/college-going-report/