CharterNation Blog

A place for California parents to connect with the charter public school community

Reports: Black and Latinx Charter School Students More Likely to Attend College

Charter public schools are making college an option for more students. 

That’s according to a trio of new college-ready reports by CCSA based on data from 2014 to 2017. The data shows charter schools sent a greater and more diverse proportion of their students to University of California (UC) and California State Universities (CSU) and helped further close the college access gap for historically disadvantaged students. Here are the 2016 highlights of what we found when it comes to California charter school students and access to UCs:  

  • A greater proportion of charter school students applied, were accepted, and enrolled in UCs than their peers in traditional district schools, 33 percent versus 24 percent.
  • Charter schools helped students of color achieve higher rates of application and admittance. For Black students at charter schools, 33 percent applied to a UC compared to 22 percent at traditional district schools. The application rate was even higher for Latinx charter school students, 33 percent to 17 percent.
  • Charter schools continued closing the college access gap between students from high and low-income backgrounds, making college an option for all. For example, in charter schools that served a student body with 75 percent or more eligible for free and reduced-price meals, twice as many students (41 percent) applied to a UC, compared to their traditional district school peers (19 percent).

Read the full report here. 

Here are highlights of what we discovered about charter school students and access at CSUs from 2014-2017:

  • Charter schools in California sent a larger proportion of their students to CSU’s than traditional district schools, eight percent of charter school graduates attending CSUs compared to six percent of traditional district school graduates.
  • A larger proportion of historically disadvantaged students enrolling in CSUs come from charter schools. Almost 60 percent of charter school graduates enrolled in CSUs are Latinx, compared to 48 percent of traditional district school enrollees. The number of Black CSU charter public school enrollees is nearly double compared to their district school counterparts.

Read the full report here.

We also combed through data from the National Student Clearinghouse that confirmed similar results:

  • On average, more California charter school graduates enrolled in college than graduates from traditional district schools.
  • California charter schools narrowed the college enrollment gap for low-income students to 3 percent compared to a gap of 12 percent at traditional district schools. Strikingly, students from low-income charter schools enrolled in college at a similar rate to students from higher-income traditional district schools (74 percent vs. 75 percent);

Read the full report here.

All of these findings echo our 2016 “A Step Up” report: charter schools are promoting college access for all students and making great progress towards expanding access to higher education for historically disadvantaged students.

These reports also show that there’s work to be done to ensure enrolling charter school graduates persist and succeed in earning a college degree. For example, CSU charter school enrollees trail their traditional district school peers in GPA (2.85 to 2.97) and re-enrollment rates for a second year at the same school.

Still, charter schools in California continue to maintain a stronger track record in narrowing the achievement gap and expanding access to UCs and CSUs for more Black and Latinx students. That’s something we should all celebrate.

Photo credit: Sac High