NEWS RELEASES 2014-15 :: MARCH 5, 2015


Once again, the dropout rate for North Carolina public schools hit a record low; and for the first time, two school districts – Hyde and Tyrrell – reported zero dropouts according to the 2013-14 Consolidated Data Report today presented to State Board of Education members. Last school year, 2.28 percent of high school students dropped out of school, which represents a 6.9 percent decrease from the previous year’s record low of 2.45 percent.

“This is a day for celebration as North Carolina has seen another record low dropout rate and two school districts report no dropouts,” State Superintendent June Atkinson said. “This could not have been done without the hard work and perseverance of students, educators and parents. Students realize a high school diploma is the first step toward reaching their life goals. I look forward to the day when reporting zero dropouts is the rule and not the exception.”

Key findings of the 2013-04 Consolidated Data Report show that:

  • The annual high school dropout rate decreased from 2.45 percent to 2.28 percent for 2013-14 (6.9 percent decrease).
  • A total of 10,404 high school students dropped out in 2013-14 as compared to 11,049 in 2012-13 (5.8 percent decrease).
  • There were dropout count decreases in 65 of 115 of school districts.
  • The number of high school students dropping out decreased at all grade levels and for all ethnic groups except American Indian, which increased, and multi-racial, which remained the same.
  • Males accounted for 62.7 percent of reported dropouts, which was up from the 61.5 percent reported last year.
  • Attendance issues were again the reason most often cited for dropping out, accounting for 42 percent of all dropouts. Enrollment in a community college came in second at 14.8 percent.

In considering the annual dropout rate, it is critical to note that this rate is not the same as the four-year cohort graduation rate. The cohort graduation rate follows a group of ninth graders across four years’ time and reports the percentage of these students who graduate four years after they begin high school. North Carolina high schools reported a record-high 83.9 percent four-year cohort graduation rate for the class of 2014. A lower dropout rate typically corresponds with a high graduation rate.

The annual dropout rate illustrates the number and percentage of students who drop out during one year’s time. Some of these students may return to school the following year and complete high school while others may drop out multiple times. The four-year cohort graduation rate is considered a more comprehensive picture of this issue.

The full report containing state, district and charter high school dropout counts and rates for 2013-14 is available online at