Nearly 70 percent of 2012 graduates of New Orleans public high schools went on to college, new state data show.

Almost 60 percent enrolled right after high school. The rest had enrolled by the fall of 2013, or 16 months after they graduated.

The rate of college enrollment for graduates of New Orleans public high schools leads the state average by two percentage points. Data for past years was not immediately available from the state Department of Education, making it impossible to say whether current rates, first noted Monday on the nonprofit Educate Now! website, are an improvement.

High school graduates hailing from schools run by the Orleans Parish School Board, the local district known for higher academic performance, outpaced the Recovery School District’s Class of 2012. About 80 percent of OPSB’s graduates went to college, while close to 60 percent of RSD’s graduates went.

The state-run RSD, which took charge of schools that were failing under OPSB management before Hurricane Katrina, have gotten better with time.

School-by-school data show that fewer than half the students graduating from RSD high schools entered college immediately, while more than half of OPSB students did so. On average, the college-bound RSD grads waited a year before enrolling.

Overall, about 40 percent of the graduates of New Orleans public high schools went to a community college, the data show. And, a clear majority of them — 85 percent — stayed in state for college.

The data don’t show whether the New Orleans high school graduates stayed the course through their first or second year of college. In 2010, Louisiana’s college graduation rate for public four-year colleges was close to 40 percent, according to a study by the Southern Regional Education Board. For two-year colleges, it was only six percent.

College enrollment rates for the Class of 2013 are not yet available, a state spokeswoman said, though release of the data is expected within weeks.

Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams stays on top of the city's loosely organized collection of public schools, with a special emphasis on charter schools. In 2011 she was recognized by the Press Club of New Orleans for her...