Information Brief 2012-1

ACT College Readiness Benchmark Attainment by Annual Family Income Level

Socioeconomic status is known to have a substantial effect on academic success. The ACT® test includes student-reported information on annual family income. The chart below shows the distribution of students’ family income, and how their attainment of the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks in English, mathematics, reading, and science varies with family income. About 50% of the graduates’ families have annual incomes less than $50,000. Only 4% of students come from families with incomes greater than $120,000.

ACT College Readiness Benchmark Attainment by Annual Family Income Level

Family Income and College Readiness
Family IncomePercent of All
ACT-Tested Students
Percent Who Met
All 4 Benchmarks
Less than $24K218
About $24K–$36K1512
About $36K–$50K1419
About $50K–$60K924
About $60K–$80K1328
About $80K–$100K1134
About $100K–$120K1545
About $120K–$150K234
More than $150K241
Overall10024

Note: Based on data from 1,200,206 ACT-tested 2011 high school graduates who reported family income. This count reflects a nonresponse rate of about 26% and may not be representative of the underlying population of ACT-tested high school graduates.

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