Charter Facts

College Facts

High school and post-graduate achievement among Chicago’s charter public school students has generated extensive scholarship at many of the nation’s top research institutions in recent years — and a clear consensus has emerged: from performance on the ACT, to enrollment in very selective four-year universities, Chicago’s charter public schools are leading the way when it comes to preparing students for college.

1 12 of Chicago’s top-15 performing schools are charters

According to CPS data on ACT scores, charter public schools made up seven of Chicago’s top-10 and 12 of Chicago’s top-15 highest performing open-enrollment public schools. In fact, although charter public schools enrolled only 24% of test takers, charter school students made up 51% of test takers at the 15 highest-performing non-selective public schools in Chicago.⁴

2 Chicago’s charter network increased college enrollment
by 13 percentage points

A 2018 Princeton University – Brookings Institution study found that attending Noble charter high schools — Chicago’s largest charter network — increased college enrollment by 13 percentage points. Most of this was driven by enrollment at four year, relatively selective institutions. Attending a Noble high school was also found to boost persistence in college, driving a 12 percentage point increase in attending four or more semesters of higher education.¹

3 Tripled the likelihood of enrolling in a very selective
four year college

A 2017 University of Chicago study found that attending a Chicago charter high school increased the likelihood of four-year college enrollment by 19 points and almost tripled the likelihood of enrolling in a very selective four year college. 45% of charter high school students analyzed in the study enrolled in a four-year college following graduation compared to 26% of similar students in local district schools, and 7.2% of charter students attended a very selective college compared to 2.2% of non-charter students.²

4 24 percent likelier to enroll in college

Charter public school graduates are 24 percent likelier to enroll in college compared to students who graduate from other public high schools in Chicago, according to official CPS data. 73.9% of charter school graduates enrolled in college following the 2016 school year, leading the district-run average of 59.8% by 14 points.⁵

5 The advantages created by high-quality charter schools
persist into adulthood

A 2015 study co-authored by researchers from Harvard and The Wharton School found that Chicago’s charter public students achieve more than similar students in grades K-12, and that the advantages created by high-quality charter schools persist into adulthood. Tracking students who won the charter school lottery and enrolled in Noble high schools, the researchers determined that lottery winners were 26.0% likelier than other similar students to enroll in at least two semesters of college and 25.9% likelier to enroll in at least four semesters of college.³