Explore the Report's 10th Edition

Number of High School Graduates Projected

Every four years—for nearly 40 years, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) publishes Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates. This report provides detailed data and projections more than 15 years forward on high school graduate populations for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and selected U.S. territories and outlying areas, including detail about the race/ethnicity of public school graduates, and the number of private school graduates. In this latest Knocking at the College Door report, the number of high school graduates are projected out to 2037. This site provides the full report, summary highlights, charted profiles by state and geographic area, and data for download.

In 2020, this 10th edition of the projections is produced with generous support from the College Board and reflects WICHE’s enduring commitment to objective research that helps stakeholders make prudent decisions related to higher education policy, institutional operations, and long-term planning.

Some Key Findings

Slight growth projected for five more years, then decline
Shift to much more diverse graduating classes to continue
Strong graduation trends bolster projected increase; COVID impact unknown
Private schools prop up the total, but less predictable

Nationally, high school graduates are projected to peak in number in the mid-2020s, before a period of modest decline through the end of the projections. More >>

Increased diversification of the graduating classes is a projected trend that endures. More >>

Recent past increases in graduation rates underlie the projections for the future number of graduates—but COVID-19 could alter that course. More >>

Private school enrollments have been more volatile than previously projected, with strong growth in recent years. More >>

What's Happening

What Does the Changing Mix of High School Graduates Mean for the West?

18 Feb

View the recorded webinar or get the slides. WICHE staff were joined by Renay Scott, Vice President & Professor of Education at New Mexico State University and Adriana Rodriguez, Vice President of Programs at Excelencia in Education, to discuss...

New England’s Declining Number of High School Graduates

29 Jan

View the recorded webinar or get the slides. In this webinar hosted by the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE), WICHE shared key findings from the 10th edition of Knocking at the College Door report, NEBHE detailed the...

National Panhellenic Conference – Knocking at the College Door

12 Jan

WICHE staff presented the most recent trends from the 10th edition of Knocking at the College Door to leaders from leaders across National Panhellenic Conference organizations in January 2021. The presentation includes high-level national trends as well a deeper view...

A Planner’s Discussion of Enrollment and Admission Trends

17 Dec

Reliable data are essential for planning as the nation, states and educational institutions respond to the challenges and opportunities brought about by major demographic changes and other current events. View this session hosted by the College Board Higher Education...

Announcing: Knocking at the College Door 10th Ed. High School Graduate Projections

15 Dec

View the recorded webinar or get the slides. WICHE’s 10th edition of Knocking at the College Door, which projects the number of high school graduates out to 2037, was released on a webcast on December 15th, 2020. Incorporating reported...

Publication

Knocking at the College Door: 10th Edition

15 Dec

The latest edition of Knocking at the College Door includes projections of high school graduates through the Class of 2037. These...