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Branstad-Reynolds Administration Releases Iowa Postsecondary Readiness Report

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced a new state website that shows how prepared students are for success in postsecondary education and training upon graduation from public high schools in Iowa.  Lt. Gov. Reynolds was joined by Ryan Wise, director of the Iowa Department of Education and D.T. Magee, Superintendent of the Norwalk Community School District at the Administration’s weekly press conference.


Iowa’s Postsecondary Readiness Report provides student enrollment in college and career training, postsecondary remedial course-taking rates, and postsecondary retention and completion rates that can be connected to every public high school in Iowa.


“This new resource supports our Future Ready Iowa initiative, which is about ensuring more Iowans have great career opportunities and employers have a workforce that is ready to fill the high-quality, well-paying jobs and careers of today and tomorrow,” Branstad said. “With more than two-thirds of all jobs in Iowa expected to require postsecondary education or training beyond high school, it’s critical that our students graduate from high school prepared for success at the next level. The new Postsecondary Readiness Report helps us understand whether that’s happening.”


Reynolds, co-chair of the Future Ready Iowa Alliance added, “Iowa needs all of today’s high school graduates to be genuinely ready for college or career training so they can succeed in a knowledge-based, technology-driven economy.  That will open up great opportunities in their personal and professional lives, and will help close the skills gap that employers tell us about when we travel the state.”


The Postsecondary Readiness Report is a collaboration between the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Workforce Development and the Board of Regents.


Specifically, the website provides the percentage of students who enroll in college or career training as well as remedial math and/or English courses in the first year after high school graduation at Iowa community colleges or public universities.  It also pinpoints postsecondary retention/completion by grouping student outcomes into one of four categories each year for five years after high school graduation: No enrollment found, enrolled, no longer enrolled and no award, and award. An award is defined as a degree, certificate or postsecondary diploma.


Data are available statewide and by Iowa high school, as well as by student demographic subgroup, such as race/ethnicity and eligibility for free and reduced-price meals.


“While we are proud that Iowa has the best high school graduation rate in the nation, our education system is focused on ensuring all students have the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in education and training beyond high school,” Wise said. “The Postsecondary Readiness Report is not meant to rate schools.  Instead, they provide valuable information to help guide improvement efforts both locally and at the state level.”


A findings summary released with the new Postsecondary Readiness Report shows:

  • 71.1 percent of Iowa high school graduates enrolled in college or training programs within one year of high school graduation.
  • 18.9 percent of those students took a remedial math class within one year of high school graduation.
  • 9.2 percent of those students took a remedial English class within one year of high school graduation.
  • 90.1 percent of college-bound students enroll within the first year and 95.2 percent within two years of high school graduation.
  • Rates of postsecondary enrollment differ greatly by students’ family income, race/ethnicity, first language spoken, and special education status.


The report will be updated each year in the spring. The Postsecondary Readiness Report is located at