Enrollment by Distance

The median distance to college among all ACT-tested students is 51 miles.

Median Distance to College Among College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates by State ACT Participation Rate, 2012

  • As state ACT participation rate increases, the median distance between home and college decreases.
  • In states where 25% or fewer high school graduates take the ACT, the median distance to college is 82 miles.
  • Comparatively, in states administering the ACT statewide, the median distance to college is 36 miles.
Chart showing Median Distance to College Among College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates by State ACT Participation Rate, 2012

Graph reads: In states where 76%–100% of high school graduates take the ACT, the median distance to college is 38 miles.

State ACT Participation RateDistance (in Miles)
Less than 26%82
26%–50%73
51%–75%51
76%–100%38
Statewide (100%)36

Median Distance to College Among College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates by ACT Composite Score, 2012

  • The median distance between home and college increases exponentially as ACT Composite score increases.
  • For students with an ACT Composite score in the range of 1–15, the median distance to college is less than 20 miles.
  • In contrast, the median distance to college for students with an ACT Composite score in the range of 33–36 is 170 miles.
Chart showing Median Distance to College Among College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates by ACT Composite Score, 2012

Graph reads: The median distance to college among students with an ACT Composite score in the score range of 24–27 is 79 miles.

ACT Composite Score RangeDistance (in Miles)
1–1518
16–1927
20–2346
24–2779
28–32113
33–36170

Median Distance to College Among College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates by Parent Education Level, 2012

  • As parent education level increases, ACT-tested students typically attend college farther from home.
  • Among ACT-tested first-generation college students, the median distance to college is 24 miles.
  • Comparatively, the median distance to college among ACT-tested students whose parents earned a graduate degree is 95 miles.
Chart showing Median Distance to College Among College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates by Parent Education Level, 2012

Graph reads: Among ACT-tested students whose parents earned a bachelor’s degree, the median distance to college is 65 miles.

Parent Education LevelDistance (in Miles)
No College24
Some College35
Bachelor's Degree65
Graduate Degree95

Note: Based on 84% of college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduates for whom parent education level is available.


Median Distance to College Among College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates by Degree Plans, 2012

  • ACT-tested students with higher degree aspirations typically attend college farther from home.
  • Among ACT-tested students who plan to obtain an associate’s degree or an undergraduate certificate, the median distance to college is 22 miles.
  • In contrast, ACT-tested students who plan to obtain a graduate degree travel a median distance to college of 72 miles.
Chart showing Median Distance to College Among College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates by Degree Plans, 2012

Graph reads: ACT-tested students who plan to earn a bachelor’s degree travel a median distance of 41 miles to attend college.

Degree PlansDistance (in Miles)
Less Than Bachelor's Degree22
Bachelor's Degree41
Graduate Degree72

Note: Based on 91% of college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduates for whom degree plans are available.