A total of 1,006 students from the Harford County Public Schools Class of 2011, nearly 40% of the graduating class, enrolled in Harford Community College immediately following high school according to data collected by the community college. Bill Ekey, HCC interim director of institutional research, planning, and effectiveness, began tracking HCPS graduates this year, telling The Dagger that he hoped data collection would continue after 2011 so that trends could be identified over time. He said that the effort was intended to assist the college with recruitment and highlighted the importance of collaboration between HCPS and the community college.
The data collected by Harford Community College show that 37.4% of the students who graduated from Harford County Public Schools in the spring of 2011 enrolled in HCC the following fall. While stressing that more data was needed before conclusions could be drawn, Ekey, who once served as the executive director of secondary education for HCPS, said he was surprised that the figure was so high. He speculated that the economy may have played a role in student decisions to attend HCC instead of going directly to a four-year institution, adding that the community college was well-respected and considered by parents to be a good path to higher education.
Looking at the data by high school, C. Milton Wright, Havre de Grace, North Harford and Bel Air high schools each sent over 40% of 2011 graduates to HCC this fall.
While only 11 students graduated from the Alternative Education program in 2011, all but one enrolled at HCC in the fall.
Aberdeen High School sent the lowest percentage of 2011 graduates (29%) to the community college, which Ekey said highlighted an opportunity for greater outreach by the college.
Data for 2011 was also collected by race and by gender, with the latter sparking something of a mystery. Knowing that HCC enrollment tilted toward women in a 60/40 ratio, Ekey was surprised to find female and male members of the HCPS Class of 2011 attending HCC in roughly equal numbers. But of course, not all of the incoming HCC students this fall were 2011 HCPS graduates and Ekey later found that the gender gap widened significantly with age in 2011, peaking with 35 to 40 year olds, where the split was 78% female and 22% male.
The table below provides a breakdown by HCPS high school of the percentage of the Class of 2011 enrolled in HCC this fall.
Below is a graph showing the gender gap for various age groups enrolled in HCC for the 2011 fall semester: