By Jordan Wolfe
Neah-Kah-Nie School District officials know if you or your child stayed in college. At least, if you graduated in the class of 2008 through the class of 2015.
On Monday night, during the Regular School Board Meeting, Dr. Heidi Buckmaster, principal of Neah-Kah-Nie High School, presented data on college enrollment, graduation and persistence rates for students continuing their education. Buckmaster said “This data says what students are doing, but data doesn’t tell us why,” referring to the reasons Neah-Kah-Nie alumni drop out of college or stay in school until they graduate.
The data comes from National Student Clearinghouse, an organization that offers information to school districts on their students who pursue a college education. Buckmaster said that of the graduating class of 2008, 39 percent went to college directly following high school, 88 percent of the students who originally went stayed past their first year, and within a six-year period, 16 percent obtained their diploma. However, Buckmaster noted that for every single class Neah-Kah-Nie School District has data on, the percentage of students enrolled in college increased after the first year. Some students appear to take a year off between high school and college. The class of 2009 had a college enrollment of 33 percent for their first year after high school, but during the second year increased to 49 percent of their graduating class.
According to Buckmaster, 85 percent of the graduating class of 2013 reported that they would be going to college in the fall, however, only 55 percent of the graduating class went to college their first year out of high school.
Buckmaster says she is curious how these trends compare at the state and national levels. A shift in ideals and beliefs about studying at a four-year college not necessarily guaranteeing a good job or comfortable life, she added, may be one of the reasons there have been declines in college enrollment.
Following are percentages of NKN students by class who attend college after high school graduation:
2008 – 39 percent
2009 – 33 percent
2010 – 67 percent
2011 – 52 percent
2012 – 55 percent
2013 – 55 percent
2014 – 50 percent
2015 – 38 percent