Our Goal

The GradNation Campaign is a national campaign that aims to increase the national graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020 and put millions more young people on the path to adult success.

The Challenge

For nearly 30 years, the nation’s graduation rate was stuck at just over 70 percent and in the past dozen years, the nation has seen remarkable graduation rate gains. To date, the nation has achieved an all-time high of 84.1 percent in 2017. However, the pace of increase has slowed over the last three years, putting at risk the goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate. State and community leaders continue to strive towards the goal by meeting the needs and aspirations of young people and, in turn, the economic needs of the nation.

Average Freshmen graduation rate 2001-2006

State-level graduation rates indicate that nearly every state is graduating significantly lower percentages of students of color, students from low-income families, students with disabilities, and English learners than White and Asian youth. Federal data indicates that at 50 percent, the national public-school population is increasingly composed of students of color. In addition, 13 percent of the public-school population are students with disabilities and 9.5 percent are English learners. 47.6 percent of public-school students are considered low-income. Reaching a 90 percent national graduation rate requires us to uncover the needs of and remove barriers to success for these youth.

Each year, nearly 500,000 young people still leave high school without graduating. In fact, despite our gains, we’re slightly behind the pace needed to reach a 90 percent graduation rate for the class of 2020 and we still see sobering graduation gaps for key groups of students. 

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To propel us toward the goal of a 90 percent graduation rate for all students, the GradNation Campaign brings national attention to the high school graduation rate challenge and what is needed to continue to meet our goal. We do this by guiding  the field towards coordinated action through our GradNation Action Platform and leveraging research and data to identify youth and places to accelerate progress. We also elevate effective and promising practices to a national and diverse audience and provide opportunities for state and community leaders to connect and learn from one another. 

Campaign Conveners

America's Promise Alliance
Everyone Graduates Center
Civic Enterprises
Alliance for Excellent Education