TIME Education

U.S. High School Graduation Rate Hits Record High, White House Says

Obama smiles as students take photos on their cell phones during a speech at Benjamin Banneker Academy High School in Washington, on Oct. 17, 2016.
Anadolu Agency—Getty Images Obama smiles as students take photos on their cell phones during a speech at Benjamin Banneker Academy High School in Washington, on Oct. 17, 2016.

President Obama spoke at a Washington D.C. high school to celebrate the milestone

More kids in the U.S. are graduating from high school than ever before, as the national graduation rate has risen to 83.2%.

The national high school graduation rate has risen steadily since the 2010-2011 school year when the national graduation rate was 79%.

Across all demographic groups the graduation rate has ticked up; between the 2010 and 2015 school years, the graduation rate among black students rose by 7.6 points, 6.6 points among American Indians, and 6.8 points among Hispanic students. Graduation rates have also increased among white and Asian American students.

Graduation Rates by Subgroup of Students
2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 Change from 2010-2011 to 2014-2015
Total 79 80 81.4 82.3 83.2 4.2
American Indian/Alaska Native 65 67 69.7 69.6 71.6 6.6
Asian/Pacific Islander 87 88 88.7 89.4 90.2 3.2
Hispanic 71 73 75.2 76.3 77.8 6.8
Black 67 69 70.7 72.5 74.6 7.6
White 84 86 86.6 87.2 87.6 3.6
Low Income Students 70 72 73.3 74.6 76.1 6.1
English Learners 57 59 61.1 62.6 65.1 8.1
Students with Disabilities 59 61 61.9 63.1 64.6 5.6

The White House says the increase in graduation rates is a reflection of the progress the country has made to better prepare students for life after high school. “Having a higher graduation rate marks considerable progress,” Education Secretary John King said on a conference call Monday, though he says there is more work to do to ensure students are prepared for college and career after high school.

Speaking at Banneker, which had 100% graduation rate last year, the president said the progress we’ve seen is due to the work of teachers, students, and investments in early childhood education. According to the Washington Post, the D.C. graduation rate reached an all time high in 2016 with 69% of seniors earning their diploma within four years. The president stressed the importance of getting an education after high school reminding students to fill out the federal student aid form called FAFSA, which students access money for college.

“Bottom line is higher grad rates, higher college attendance rates…working to expand early childhood education and preschool—we’ve made a lot of progress in terms of making sure that young people around the country can get the kind of education you’re getting here at Banneker,” Obama said, adding that there’s work to do.

“We all have a part to play in making sure every single child has every single opportunity to achieve his or her dreams,” he said.



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