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Continued Improvements Seen in Michigan Graduation and Dropout Rates

February 26, 2020

LANSING – Michigan continues to improve its state graduation and dropout rates, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and the Michigan Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI) announced today.

CEPI reports that the 2018-19 school year graduation rate improved to 81.41 percent, from 80.64 percent in 2017-18. The dropout rate fell to 8.36 percent, from the 2017-18 rate of 8.73 percent.

“This is great news for our students and families, because every kid in Michigan deserves a great education that gets them on track to graduate and pursue a postsecondary education,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “My administration is working hard to ensure students and educators have the resources they need. Last year, we tripled the number of literacy coaches in our state and moved closer toward an equitable funding formula that directs more funding to students who need it most. These are the things that improve our graduation rates and help our students thrive.”

Over the past four years, Michigan’s graduation rate has increased 1.62 percentage points – from 79.79 percent in 2014-2015 to 81.41 percent in 2018-2019; while the state’s dropout rate has dropped 0.76 percentage points – from 9.12 percent in 2014-2015 to 8.36 percent in 2018-2019.

Throughout the past decade, Michigan’s graduation rate has increased 5.46 percentage points, with increases in eight out of 10 years, according to CEPI.

 “Michigan’s 2019 graduation rates are at an all-time high since the uniform federal graduation rate formula was adopted in 2008,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “While we continue to have significant room for improvement, particularly for students of color, economically disadvantaged students, and special needs students, we are making yearly progress in increasing graduation rates and decreasing dropout rates.”

The graduation rate of African American students was 70.23 percent in 2018-19, continuing a steady growth from 67.31 percent in 2014-2015. The graduation rate for Hispanic students was 76.55 percent in 2018-2019, also representing its steady growth from 72.07 percent in 2014-2015. The graduation rate for multiracial students was 76.16 percent in 2018-2019, up from 74.74 percent in 2014-2015.

 “It’s encouraging to see that student success continues to improve in Michigan,” said CEPI Executive Director Tom Howell. “Notably, Hispanic and multiracial students generated the largest increases in graduation rates this year and further closed achievement gaps.”

Improvements in graduation rates and dropout rates are the latest good news story in Michigan public education. In the last six months, Michigan has announced increased participation and/or success in the following areas: Great Start Readiness Program (pre-school), career and technical education, Early/Middle College, dual enrollment, advanced placement, International Baccalaureate, and National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading ranks.

Below is the statewide five-year trend for on-time four-year graduation and dropout rates:







4-Year Graduation Rate






4-Year Dropout Rate






CEPI calculates graduation rates by tracking enrollment records of individual students from the time they first enroll as ninth graders. This method, along with concerted efforts by CEPI, school administrators and intermediate school district auditors, accounts for every student.

Four-year graduation rates are a school accountability measure adopted by the state, and the methodology for calculating rates is aligned with the National Governors Association Graduation Counts Compact.

CEPI also reports graduation rates for students who graduate from high school five and six years. The rate for five-year graduates increased 0.57 percentage points to 83.79 percent and the rate for six-year graduates grew to 83.96 percent, a 0.51 percentage point increase.

Graduation and dropout rates can be found on CEPI’s MI School Data website.  Under the site’s K-12th Grade Student Counts section, visitors can select a school or district or compare one district to another.

CEPI is a division of the State Budget Office that facilitates the collection, management and reporting of public education data required by state and federal law. MI School Data is Michigan's official education data portal to help residents, educators and policymakers make informed decisions that can lead to improved success for our students.