CORRECTION: Statewide Graduation Rate Reaches Historic High, Gaps Closing Over Time While Much Work Remains

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Press Release Minnesota Department of Education

For Immediate Release

Contact: Wendy Hatch


March 5, 2020

Previous Announcements

Correction: This press release has been updated to reflect the correct 2018 all students graduation rate percentage. In 2018 the all students graduation rate was 83.2 percent. The change from 2018 to 2019 column now shows the correct change when subtracting numbers rounded to the tenths place. The The Minnesota Report Card is experiencing technical difficulties and will be back online and updated as soon as possible. The data files provided on the Data Reports and Analytics web page are accurate and available.

Statewide Graduation Rate Reaches Historic High, Gaps Closing Over Time While Much Work Remains

Gaps for black students and Hispanic students are closing, while the graduation rate for American Indian students remains stagnant

ROSEVILLE, MN – Today, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released the class of 2019’s graduation rate data. Overall, Minnesota seniors reached another historic graduation rate high of 83.7 percent–57,171 students–who graduated in 2019. This represents an additional 0.5 percent of students from 2018 who went on to college, career or community success. Additionally, 3,806 students from earlier classes also earned their diplomas in 2019, graduating five, six, or seven years after beginning high school.

“I’m proud of all of our students, educators and schools for again posting the highest graduation rate on record. Reaching that high school graduation milestone is a pivotal moment on a student’s path to success because it opens up so many different life options,” said Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker. “That’s why these gaps in our graduation rates are unacceptable. Students of all races and ZIP codes deserve the same opportunity at achieving the life they have always dreamed. We hear from students and families about what is important, including cultural competence, student voice and building relationships with our students. Governor Walz, Lieutenant Governor Flanagan, and I will not stop until gaps are closed and every student in the state of Minnesota receives a world-class education from caring, qualified teachers in a safe and nurturing environment.”

While graduation rates increased statewide for most racial and ethnic student groups, the graduation rate for American Indian students remains stagnant. For example, since 2017, graduation rates for black students have increased 5.2 percentage points and rates for Hispanic students have increased 3.5 percentage points. However, for our American Indian students, the four-year graduation rate has remained between 50 and 51 percent.

Fewer students are choosing to drop out of high school. From 2018 to 2019, the overall statewide high school dropout rate decreased from 4.6 percent to 4.4 percent, and also dropped for every student group. Over the last 10 years, the number of high school graduates enrolled in developmental education courses at Minnesota colleges and universities during their first two years has dropped by 10 percent, suggesting that as more Minnesota students graduate high school, they are leaving prepared for college level coursework.

“I am heartened to see a measurable decrease in the number of students who dropped out of high school,” said Commissioner Ricker. “That suggests that students are hearing the message that the adults in their lives are here to support them, and if they choose to persist in their education that we will persist right alongside them. I know that, with the help of my fellow commissioners as well as educators and families all across the state, Minnesota can be the first state in the nation to effectively end high school dropouts.”

Student Group Data

Student Demographic Group

2018 Graduation Rate (percent)

2019 Graduation Rate (percent)

Change from  2018 to 2019  (percentage points)

All Students




American Indian/Alaskan Native Students




Asian Students




Hispanic Students




Black Students




White Students




Two or More Races Students




Students Receiving Special Education




English Learners




Students Eligible for Free/Reduced-Price Meals




Students Experiencing Homelessness





More About the Data

Graduation data are available on the Minnesota Report Card, presented in an easy-to-read, mobile-friendly layout that includes charts and graphs illustrating trends and results for all student groups.

View the complete statewide, district, school and county graduation rates in an Excel spreadsheet by visiting our Data Reports and Analytics' student webpage. Under category, choose "Graduation Rate" to access graduation indicator files for each year.

View data on enrollment in developmental education in Minnesota colleges and universities on the Minnesota Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLEDS).