A report by the National Center for Education Statistics estimates that three-quarters of high school freshmen receive a diploma four years later.
The study, issued Sept. 3, found that the “averaged freshman graduation rate”—the percentage of public high school students who earn a regular diploma four years after starting high school—was 74.7 percent for the class of 2005. It was 75 percent for the class of 2004, up from 72.6 percent for the class of 2002.
Students living in low-income families were four times more likely to drop out of high school in any given year—in this case, between 2005 and 2006—than those living in high-income families, the report says.
The national “status dropout rate”—the portion of a given age group of students who were not enrolled in school and had not earned a diploma or its equivalent at a specific time—declined from 14.6 percent in 1972 to 9.3 percent in 2006, the report says. That means that in October 2006, about 3.5 million young people ages 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school and had not earned a diploma or its equivalent.
A version of this article appeared in the September 10, 2008 edition of Education Week