RELEASE: Statewide Graduation Rate Reaches Another Historic High for Class of 2020

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Press Release Minnesota Department of Education

For Immediate Release

Contact: Ashleigh Norris


June 10, 2021

Previous Announcements

Statewide Graduation Rate Reaches Another Historic High for Class of 2020, Dropouts Decrease While Gaps Remain

Despite graduating in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, dropout rates for the class of 2020 decreased across all student groups and for all students statewide

American Indian students saw significant graduation rate increase statewide, Black students and English learners saw slight decrease

ROSEVILLE, MN – Today, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released the class of 2020’s graduation rate data. Overall, Minnesota high school seniors reached another historic graduation rate high of 83.8% (56,684 students) who graduated in 2020. This continues an upward trend for Minnesota’s statewide four-year graduation rate, which has increased 1.3 percentage points in the last five years. Additionally, 3,490 students from earlier classes also earned their diplomas in 2020, graduating five, six or seven years after beginning high school.

Minnesota's 4-Year Graduation Rate Increased 1.3 Points Over Last 5 Years: 2016 - 82.5%; 2017 - 82.7%; 2018 - 83.2%; 2019 - 83.7%; 2020 - 83.8%

“The class of 2020 graduated while we were all just learning how to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a time of great uncertainty, and the perseverance of our students, educators and families demonstrates their commitment to rise to this moment and reach the end of their pre-K through grade 12 journey,” said Commissioner Dr. Heather Mueller. “While we have so much to be proud of in Minnesota, we know that we still have work to do to close gaps and increase access, participation and representation to ensure every single student graduates from high school. Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan’s Due North Education Plan will continue to guide us in eliminating barriers and building out the systems and structures we need to center our students so that every student is seen, valued, heard and represented throughout their entire educational experience.”

While graduation rates increased statewide for most racial and ethnic student groups, the graduation rate for Black students declined slightly from 2019 to 2020. American Indian students saw a significant increase of 4.9 percentage points for a graduation rate of 55.7%. In the previous five years, the four-year graduation rate for American Indian students had remained between 49% and 51%.

Fewer students are dropping out of high school. From 2019 to 2020, the overall statewide high school dropout rate decreased from 4.4% to 3.7%, and also dropped for every major student group. This continues a trend from 2019, which had also seen a decrease in dropout rates statewide and in every major student group compared to 2018.

“Seeing dropout rates continue to decrease is incredibly promising,” said Commissioner Mueller. “When our school communities rally around students to help them complete high school, we can make a real difference. Dropout prevention begins the moment students walk in the door of our elementary schools and continues until they make it to graduation. I am excited to continue working with school leaders to share effective practices in this critical area.”

Student Group Data: Four-Year Graduation Rates

Student Demographic Group

2019 Graduation Rate (percent)

2020 Graduation Rate (percent)

Change from 2019 to 2020 (percentage points)

All Students




American Indian/Alaskan Native Students




Asian Students




Black Students




Hispanic Students




White Students




Two or More Races Students




Students Receiving Special Education




English Learners




Students Eligible for Free/Reduced-Price Meals





More About the Data

Find graduation data 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. In the Category field, select Graduation Rate to access graduation indicator files for each year. In the Year, Subcategory and Level fields, select the desired data, if needed. Click List files to view the spreadsheet.

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