Amid a global health crisis that has upended national college access, 80 percent of Noble’s Class of 2020 graduates enrolled in college immediately after graduation

CHICAGO—New data shows that four out of every five of the Noble Network of Charter Schools’ graduates last year from the Class of 2020 enrolled in college immediately after graduation, according to Noble’s post-secondary experts during a live Zoom presentation and Q&A. 

The online event, titled “What Happened to the Class of 2020?” focused on analyzing data associated with college access, matriculation, and persistence in the midst of a global pandemic. The event was jointly presented by Noble’s Chief College Officer Dr. Aidé Acosta and Manager of College Analytics & Insights JY Sun. The full presentation can be viewed below.

Although the 80 percent figure is a four percent decline from Noble’s prior year, data comprising all Chicago Public Schools as well as data representing predominantly low-income high schools across the United States shows declines in immediate college enrollment, or matriculation, by roughly five percentage points, confirming that Noble’s slight decline in matriculation rates is rooted in broader national and city-wide trends. Breaking the data down by gender, race, and ethnicity, Sun noted Noble’s 2020 matriculation rates from Black and Latinx graduates range from 23 to 39 percent higher compared to all Chicago Public Schools.

“Despite the pandemic, our matriculation rates for Black and Latinx students, who are over 94 percent of Noble’s Class of 2020, remain higher than the city of Chicago as well as across the nation,” said Sun. “We can credit this to the fact that by March 2020, we already had support systems in place for students to make informed college decisions. Plus, amid the pandemic, there continues to be a desire within the communities where we work to push for high aspirations including college enrollment for our graduates.”

Click below to watch the discussion video and share.

Seeking to answer the question of where Noble’s class of 2020 has enrolled, presenters highlighted that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Illinois at Chicago and National Louis University continue to be the top three schools that students are choosing after finishing at Noble.

“What I would love to see is strengthened partnerships with our higher education institutions so the onus is not only put on the student but also…we need to collaborate and for more higher education institutions to also be thinking about what are disparities and how they are being resolved.”

Dr. Aidé Acosta

Chief College Officer

Looking to college persistence, which considers students who return to any college from one semester to the next, data revealed an increase in the spring-to-fall persistence rate by 4 percentage points compared to one year prior. This increase means 40 additional Noble students still enrolled in college despite the pandemic.

The presenters also assessed college-related data characterizing the activities of Noble’s current year Class of 2021,

showing that these students have submitted over 26,000 college applications and have received 15,824 college acceptances, including 12 to Ivy League universities, over 100 to several of the nation’s most selective universities, and over 150 to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  “In the face of a severe international health crisis, Noble graduates’ rate of college enrollment has held relatively steady and students who are already enrolled are even persisting on the path toward earning their degrees in greater numbers,” said Acosta. “This is all made possible through our commitment to comprehensive college counseling and alumni support in partnership with incredible families and excellent teachers.”

About the Noble Network of Charter Schools

At Noble, we are college bound. Noble’s 18 nonprofit charter public schools prepare roughly 12,000 students for college success each year with excellent teaching, rigorous academics, and comprehensive wraparound supports. With love and high expectations, Noble guides students through the college application process and is recognized nationally for innovations in alumni support. The Noble Class of 2020 earned more than $500 million in college scholarships and more than 15,000 college acceptances. Learn more and join us at

Informational slides provided by Noble’s College Team

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