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Feds: On-time graduation for U.S. remains flat at about 75 percent

By Sally Holland, CNN
  • 25 percent of U.S. high school students don't graduate on time, report says
  • Rate is 40 percent among African-American and Hispanic students
  • Nevada had lowest graduation rate, report says
  • Wisconsin and Vermont had highest

Washington (CNN) -- One out of four U.S. high school students fails to graduate on time, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Center for Education Statistics.

The number is even higher -- at 40 percent -- among African-American and Hispanic students.

Male students are slightly more likely to fail to graduate than female students, according to the report.

The on-time graduation rate in the U.S. has hovered between 70 percent and 75 percent since 1990.

The report shows that in 2008, Nevada had the lowest graduation rate at just over 51 percent, followed by the District of Columbia at 56 percent. Wisconsin and Vermont had the highest rates with both graduating over 89 percent of their students on time.

Turning around low-performing schools has been a constant agenda item for President Barack Obama's administration, with special emphases on improving the 2,000 high schools that produce half of the dropouts in this country.

"With $4 billion available for these turnarounds, we have the resources to transform these schools from dropout factories to college-graduation academies," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a written response to the new numbers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for those who did not complete high school in 2009 was over 14 percent, compared to less than 10 percent for those who did.

The National Center for Education Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the primary federal agency for collecting and analyzing data related to education.