U.S. High School Graduation Rate Hits New Record High

Archived Information

U.S. High School Graduation Rate Hits New Record High

Achievement gap continues to narrow for underserved students
December 15, 2015

U.S. students are graduating from high school at a higher rate than ever before, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics. The nation's high school graduation rate hit 82 percent in 2013-14, the highest level since states adopted a new uniform way of calculating graduation rates five years ago.

"America's students have achieved another record milestone by improving graduation rates for a fourth year," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. "The hard work of teachers, administrators, students and their families has made these gains possible and as a result many more students will have a better chance of going to college, getting a good job, owning their own home, and supporting a family. We can take pride as a nation in knowing that we're seeing promising gains, including for students of color."

Overall Changes in Graduation Rates

 2010-11 2011-122012-132013-142013-14 3-yr change (2010-11 to 2013-14)
American Indian/Alaska Native 65 67 69.7 69.6 4.6
Asian/Pacific Islander 87 88 88.7 89.4 2.4
Hispanic 71 73 75.2 76.3 5.3
Black 67 69 70.7 72.5 5.5
White84 86 86.6 87.2 3.2
Low Income 70 72 73.3 74.6 4.6
English Learners 57 59 61.1 62.6 5.6
Students with Disabilities 59 61 61.9 63.1 4.1
Total 79 80 81.4 82.3 3.3

Achievement Gap Changes

 2010-11 2011-122012-132013-14
Black-white gap 17 17 15.9 14.8
Hispanic-white gap 13 13 11.4 11

"A high school diploma is absolutely critical, absolutely attainable and key to future success in college, in the workforce and in life," said Delegated Deputy Secretary John King. "It is encouraging to see our graduation rate on the rise and I applaud the hard work we know it takes to see this increase. But too many students never get their diploma, never walk across the graduation stage and while our dropout numbers are also decreasing, we remain committed to urgently closing the gaps that still exist in too many schools and in too many communities."

Since 2010, states, districts and schools have been using a new, common metric—the adjusted cohort graduation rate—to promote greater accountability and develop strategies that will help reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates in schools nationwide. For four consecutive years, graduation rates have continued to climb, which reflects continued progress among America's high school students.

To ensure the economic strength of our country, students must graduate high school ready for college, careers and life. The Department has invested more than $1.5 billion in early learning; implemented strategies that improve achievement and close opportunity gaps, and awarded billions of dollars through such grant programs as Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation, and School Improvement Grants; and expanded college access and affordability for families.

To view the graduation rate data—including a state-by-state breakdown—click here.