Hamilton County has seen an increase in students attending college after graduation. (Photo: Kansas State University, MGNOnline)

More students from the Hamilton County School System are now enrolling in college than in previous years.

The Hamilton County Department of Education has had a focus on preparing students for careers or college, according to a news release.

Seventy-six percent of all HCDE graduates enrolled in a two- or four-year college or other postsecondary career option after graduation. That’s a 5 percent increase from 2015.

“Not only are we seeing an increase in students attending college, but we are seeing an across-the-board increase in the number of students attending traditional four-year colleges,” HCDE Interim Superintendent Dr. Kirk Kelly said in a prepared statement. 

More than 1,000 students who graduated in 2016 enrolled in a four-year college this past fall semester. During 2015, that number was 885.

“This is further proof that HCDE’s strategic focus area of creating pathways and opportunities for students as they prepare for postsecondary education and careers is working in a tangible way,” HCDE Chief Academic Officer Jill Levine said in a prepared statement. 

The data also shows HCDE students are attending several different institutions of higher learning, according to the news release.

Chattanooga’s Public Education Foundation worked with Hamilton County career counselors to track students after graduation, and they determined how many of the class of 2016 enrolled in colleges or training programs across the United States.

HCDE administrators will visit each high school to delve into the numbers during the first week of April.