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A look at graduation rates, per student spending by state

June 8, 2018

As high school seniors across the country don their graduation gowns, Truth in Accounting looked to see which states have the highest graduation rates.

According to TIA’s State Data Lab, the national graduation rate during the 2015-16 academic year, the latest year for which data is available, hit a record 84 percent—up from 79 percent in 2011.

Iowa once again led the nation with a high school graduation rate of 91 percent and was followed closely by New Jersey and West Virginia, both of which had high school graduation rates of 90 percent.

States with the lowest graduation rates were New Mexico, 71 percent; Nevada, 74 percent; and Oregon, 75 percent.

Check out the list below to see how your state fares:

In addition to graduation rates, State Data Lab also has figures on per pupil spending on K-12 public education by state. We analyzed current expenditures per student, which the National Center for Education Statistics defines as the day-to-day operations of schools, except construction projects, community colleges, and debts.

Three states on the East Coast top the list with the highest current expenditures per student in the 2015-2016 academic year: New York, $22,366; Connecticut, $18,958; and New Jersey, $18,402.

The three states with the lowest expenditures per student during that same time were Utah, $6,953; Idaho $7,157; and Arizona $7,613. The dramatic difference in current expenditure amongst states sparks debates on the price of education.

Scroll over the map to see per-student spending in your state:

 
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