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Projections of Education Statistics to 2015

Section 3. High School Graduates: Introduction

Between 2002–03 and 2015–16, the number of high school graduates is projected to increase nationally by 6 percent. Increases are expected in the West and South and decreases are expected in the Northeast and Midwest. Both public and private schools are expected to have increases in high school graduates.

Factors affecting the projections

Projected increases in the number of graduates reflect changes in the 18-year-old population over the projection period, rather than changes in the graduation rates of 12th-graders. However, projections of graduates could be impacted by changes in policies affecting graduation requirements.


A high school graduate is defined as an individual who has received formal recognition from school authorities, by the granting of a diploma, for completing a prescribed course of study. This definition does not include other high school completers or high school equivalency recipients.

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