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In a continuing effort to understand the behavior and choices of Oregon's high school graduates, the Oregon University System conducted a telephone survey of a random sample of the Oregon high school graduating class of 1999. This study, the fourth in a series begun with the class of 1993, sought to identify the proportion of the graduating class that attended a postsecondary institution, the type of college they chose, and the reasons for that choice. The survey also attempted to discern graduates' reasons for not attending college.


The college enrollment rates of the Oregon class of 1999 are similar to those of previous classes surveyed and to rates for the United States as a whole.

Percent of High School Graduates
Enrolled Fall Term Following Graduation

  Men Women Total
Oregon--1999 63.8 69.8 66.9
Oregon--1997 60.1 67.8 63.9
Oregon--1995 54.8 65.7 63.4
Oregon--1993 57.6 67.0 62.5
U.S.--1998* 62.4 69.1 65.6

* Source: U.S. Department of Education, Digest of Education Statistics 1999, March 2000.

Almost 67 percent of survey respondents were enrolled in a postsecondary institution during the fall of 1999, with an additional 3.6 percent enrolling winter term. With the additional delayed enrollment likely over the next year, the college attendance rate of the class of 1999 at the end of eighteen months following graduation could be as high as 84 percent, based on the findings of this survey.


Among all of the high school graduates surveyed, 41.0 percent were attending a four-year university or college after winter term and 28.7 percent had chosen a two-year college. As in previous years, the largest percentage of college-bound respondents selected an Oregon community college (25.5 percent), followed by OUS institutions, which enrolled 23.9 percent of respondents. While a significant percentage of respondents with a high school grade point average of 3.75 or better continue to choose an out-of-state institution (34.1 percent), that rate does not appear to be increasing. Survey results suggest that, though the flow of high achievers to out-of-state institutions may be holding even, more Oregon high school graduates overall are leaving the state for four-year colleges. The distribution for class of 1999 graduates is shown in the graph at the end of this summary.


As in the earlier studies, the major reasons for choosing or not choosing a college are related to academic reputation, availability of a desired major, costs to students, and proximity to (or distance from) home:

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