Enrollment by College Type

Of the ACT-tested students who enroll in college, 24% attend a 2-year college, 54% attend a public 4-year college, and 22% attend a private 4-year college.

Percent of College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates Enrolled in Different College Types by State ACT Participation Rate, 2012

  • With the exception of states that administer the ACT statewide, the majority of ACT-tested students attend a public 4-year college.
  • The percentage of ACT-tested students who attend a 2-year college increases with state ACT participation rate.
  • With the exception of states that administer the ACT statewide, the percentage of ACT-tested students who attend a private 4-year college decreases as state ACT participation rate increases.
Chart showing Percent of College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates Enrolled in Different College Types by State ACT Participation Rate, 2012

Graph reads: 20% of college-enrolled ACT-tested students from states administering the ACT statewide attend a private 4-year college.

State ACT Participation Rate2-YearPublic 4-YearPrivate 4-Year
Less than 26%15%53%32%
26%–50%20%52%28%
51%–75%22%59%19%
76%–100%32%57%11%
Statewide (100%)33%47%20%

Note: Percentages within state ACT participation rate may not sum to 100 due to rounding.


Percent of College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates Enrolled in Different College Types by ACT Composite Score, 2012

  • As ACT Composite score increases, the percentage of students who attend a 2-year college decreases.
  • In contrast, the percentage of students who attend a private 4-year college increases as ACT Composite score increases.
  • The percentage of students who attend a public 4-year college peaks at an ACT Composite score range of 24–27 and then declines as ACT Composite score continues to increase.
  • Only in the ACT Composite score range of 1–15 do the majority of students attend a 2-year college as opposed to a 4-year college.
Chart showing Percent of College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates
Enrolled in Different College Types by ACT Composite Score, 2012

Graph reads: 59% of college-enrolled ACT-tested students with an ACT Composite score in the range of 1–15 attend a 2-year college.

ACT Composite Score Range2-YearPublic 4-YearPrivate 4-Year
1–1559%31%10%
19–1940%45%14%
20–2323%57%20%
24–2711%63%26%
28–324%61%35%
33–361%51%48%

Note: Percentages within ACT Composite score range may not sum to 100 due to rounding.


Percent of College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates Enrolled in Different College Types by Parent Education Level, 2012

  • As parent education level increases, the percentage of ACT-tested students who attend a 2-year college decreases.
  • Conversely, the percentage of ACT-tested students who attend a private 4-year college increases with parent education level.
  • With the exception of first-generation college students— that is, students whose parents did not attend college—the majority of ACT-tested students attend a public 4-year college.
Chart showing Percent of College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates Enrolled in Different College Types by Parent Education Level, 2012

Graph reads: 58% of college-enrolled ACT-tested students whose parents earned a bachelor’s degree attend a public 4-year college.

Parent Education Level2-YearPublic 4-YearPrivate 4-Year
No College38%48%14%
Some College33%51%17%
Bachelor's Degree19%58%22%
Graduate Degree12%58%30%

Note: Based on 84% of college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduates for whom parent education level is available. Percentages within parent education level may not sum to 100 due to rounding.


Percent of College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates Enrolled in Different College Types by Degree Plans, 2012

  • A large majority of ACT-tested students who plan to obtain an associate’s degree or an undergraduate certificate attend a 2-year college.
  • In contrast, the majority of ACT-tested students who plan to obtain a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree attend a public 4-year college.
  • As degree aspirations increase, so does the percentage of ACT-tested students who attend a private 4-year college.
Chart showing Percent of College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates
Enrolled in Different College Types by Degree Plans, 2012

Graph reads: 26% of college-enrolled ACT-tested students who plan to earn a graduate degree attend a private 4-year college.

Degree Plans2-YearPublic 4-YearPrivate 4-Year
Less Than Bachelor's Degree70%22%8%
Bachelor's Degree30%52%18%
Graduate Degree15%59%26%

Note: Based on 91% of college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduates for whom degree plans are available. Percentages within degree plans may not sum to 100 due to rounding.