Diversification of High School Graduates and Undergraduates

High school graduating classes have become more diverse over the last decade (from 54% non-white in the Class of 2011 to a projected 62% in the Class of 2021), with Hispanic high school graduates becoming the largest share of graduates in recent years. However, Hispanic undergraduates continued to be underrepresented among the region’s postsecondary enrollments despite continued growth in undergraduate enrollment over the past decade.

Notes: High school graduates are public high school graduates, which have historically been 93% of all high school graduates in the West. High school graduate counts data are not available for the U.S. Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States. “Foreign” students, “two-more races”, and “unknown” populations are disaggregated in undergraduate enrollments, but not high school graduates. Undergraduate enrollments are for undergraduates at two- and four-year degree-granting, Title IV-eligible, public and private nonprofit institutions, excluding service academies. “Two or More Races” is for all undergraduates who identify as such and became a mandatory reporting category starting in 2009-2010.

Sources: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Fall Enrollment Survey, 2011-2021, and WICHE, Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates, 2020.

Related Resource

Knocking at the College Door

Projections of High School Graduates Through 2037

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For more information, please contact:

Colleen Falkenstern

Senior Research Analyst, Policy Analysis and Research