= Top southern state

(not available for all indicators)

Chronic Absenteeism

Percentage of North Carolina K-12 students missing 15 or more days of school (indicator shown as distance from 100%)

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Nearly 15% of North Carolina K-12 students were chronically absent during the 2015-16 school year, meaning they missed 15 or more days of school during the year. This placed our state 24th among all states in 2016. South Carolina (11.3%) had the lowest chronic absenteeism rate among southern states. By 2030, the goal is to reduce the statewide chronic absenteeism rate to 11%.


High School Graduation Rate

Percentage of North Carolina public high school students graduating within four years

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North Carolina’s high school graduation rate is currently 86%, placing our state 22nd among all states in 2018. Iowa was the top performing state (91%) in 2018 and Tennessee and Texas (90%) were the top Southern states. By 2030, the goal is that 95% of North Carolina high school students will graduate within four years or less.


ACT Performance

Percentage of North Carolina Grade 11 students earning an ACT composite score of 17 or above (UNC minimum)

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In 2019, 56% of North Carolina public school 11th graders earned an ACT composite score of 17 or higher. By 2030, the goal is to have 70% of 11th graders earn an ACT score of 17 or higher.


FAFSA Completion Rate

Percentage of North Carolina high school seniors completing Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSAs)

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North Carolina’s FAFSA completion rate is currently 58%, placing our state 34th among all states in 2020. Tennessee had the highest FAFSA completion rate (78%) among southern comparison states. By 2030, the goal is that 80% of North Carolina high school seniors will complete the FAFSA.


Postsecondary Enrollment Rate

Percentage of North Carolinians aged 18-24 enrolled in a postsecondary institution

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North Carolina’s postsecondary enrollment rate for 18-24-year-olds was 41% in 2019, placing our state 28th among all states. Virginia (43%) was the southern comparison state with the highest postsecondary enrollment rate. By 2030, the goal is to have 47% of North Carolina 18-24-year-olds enrolled in college or graduate school.

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North Carolina County Profiles

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Alamance Alexander Alleghany Anson Ashe Avery Beaufort Bertie Bladen Brunswick Buncombe Burke Cabarrus Caldwell Camden Carteret Caswell Catawba Chatham Cherokee Chowan Clay Cleveland Columbus Craven Cumberland Currituck Dare Davidson Davie Duplin Durham Edgecombe Forsyth Franklin Gaston Gates Graham Granville Greene Guilford Halifax Harnett Haywood Henderson Hertford Hoke Hyde Iredell Jackson Johnston Jones Lee Lenoir Lincoln McDowell Macon Madison Martin Mecklenburg Mitchell Montgomery Moore Nash NewHanover Northampton Onslow Orange Pamlico Pasquotank Pender Perquimans Person Pitt Polk Randolph Richmond Robeson Rockingham Rowan Rutherford Sampson Scotland Stanly Stokes Surry Swain Transylvania Tyrrell Union Vance Wake Warren Washington Watauga Wayne Wilkes Wilson Yadkin Yancey

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