College & Workforce Readiness Report Roundup

Graduation Numbers Projected to Flatline

By Madeline Will — December 13, 2016 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The overall number of high school graduates has been increasing steadily over the last decade or so, but according to a new report, that growth is coming to a halt.

The supply of U.S. high school graduates is expected to show virtually no growth for the next seven years and will likely decline this school year, says the report by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, a regional nonprofit that aims to expand access to high-quality higher education. The report was funded with support from ACT Inc. and the College Board.

There have been steady increases in the overall number of high school graduates over the last 15 years, and, at last count, the high school graduation rate increased by 1 percentage point to 83.2 percent from the 2013-14 school year to 2014-15. That marked the fourth year in a row of high school graduation-rate increases.

Tracking the Supply of High School Graduates

Year-after-year increases in the number of students graduating from high school are expected to end in 2017. Researchers say the number won’t rise again until 2024.

BRIC ARCHIVE

Source: Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

But the report projects that the country actually will produce 81,000 fewer graduates—2.3 percent less—in 2017 and the decline is largely due to changing demographics. The number of students graduating from private high schools will decline even more sharply—by 26 percent, or 80,000 fewer graduates, from 2011 to the early 2030s. This is due to declining enrollments in private schools, particularly in Roman Catholic schools, the report notes.

The report also projects significant increases in nonwhite high school graduates, coupled with steady declines in the numbers of white graduates. By 2030, the number of white public school graduates is projected to decrease by 14 percent when compared to 2013. But the rising number of nonwhite public school graduates is expected to counterbalance some of that decline, particularly so for Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander graduates.

A version of this article appeared in the December 14, 2016 edition of Education Week as Graduation Numbers Projected to Flatline

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
Teaching Live Online Discussion Seat at the Table: How Can We Help Students Feel Connected to School?
Get strategies for your struggles with student engagement. Bring questions for our expert panel. Help students recover the joy of learning.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Science Webinar
Real-World Problem Solving: How Invention Education Drives Student Learning
Hear from student inventors and K-12 teachers about how invention education enhances learning, opens minds, and preps students for the future.
Content provided by The Lemelson Foundation

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

College & Workforce Readiness What the Research Says 5 Ways to Make Online Credit Recovery Work Better for Struggling Students
Seven out of 10 districts use online programs for credit recovery.
5 min read
Image of person's hands using a laptop and writing in a notebook
Chonlachai/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion High School Graduation Is Down. There Are No Quick Fixes
Online credit-recovery programs are popular, but many shortchange students, write Robert Balfanz and Karen Hawley Miles.
Robert Balfanz & Karen Hawley Miles
4 min read
Illustration of students climbing broken ladders
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness Q&A Conquering School Anxiety and Saving Lives: A Courageous Pilot's Message for Teachers
Tammie Jo Shults put into action a lifetime of learning—in and out of school—when Southwest flight 1380 blew an engine at 32,000 feet.
7 min read
College & Workforce Readiness What the Research Says 12th Graders Took Harder Courses and Got Higher GPAs, But Test Scores Fell. What Gives?
A federal study finds that improvements in high school students' course-taking and GPAs did not lead to higher NAEP scores.
2 min read
Image of data.
monsitj/iStock/Getty