Every 26 seconds, a student drops out of school.  We cannot afford to lose one out of four young people to the dropout crisis. A high school diploma is an important step in preparing a young person to live an independent, secure and happy life and to contribute to America’s economic competitiveness as part of an educated, innovative workforce.

Dropping out makes it harder for these young people to succeed in life, our economy loses hundreds of billions of dollars in productivity and our communities suffer enormous social costs.


Our Response


America’s Promise Alliance launched the Grad Nation campaign in 2010, building on 105 Dropout Prevention Summits we convened across the country to raise awareness and inspire action. Grad Nation is now a large and growing movement of dedicated individuals, organizations and communities working together to end America’s dropout crisis.

Grad Nation goals include:

  • achieving a 90 percent graduation rate nationwide by 2020, with no high school graduating less than 80 percent of its students
  • regaining America’s standing as first in the world in college completion


Our Strategy

Through Grad Nation, America’s Promise mobilizes its more than 380+ national partners and their local affiliates to help ensure all children receive the Five Promises – the fundamental resources they need to thrive and succeed: Caring Adults, Safe Places, A Healthy Start, Effective Education, and Opportunities to Help Others.


Our strategy includes paying special attention to the communities surrounding the nation’s lowest-performing high schools, which account for half of all dropouts.

The result: High school graduation rates continue to improve nationally and across many states and school districts. New research reveals more than half of U.S. states increased graduation rates since 2002, bringing the national graduation rate to 75.5 percent. The number of high schools graduating 60 percent or fewer students — often referred to as “dropout factories” — also declined 23 percent. Nearly 800,000 fewer students now attend dropout factories. But we still have much to do to meet our goals.





Grad Nation Launch 

On March 1, 2010, President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Gen. Colin Powell and America’s Promise Alliance Chair Alma Powell gathered together at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with hundreds of partners from every sector to launch Grad Nation.

“This is a problem we cannot afford to accept and we cannot afford to ignore.” -- PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT THE GRAD NATION CAMPAIGN ANNOUNCEMENT MARCH 1, 2010

Dropout Prevention Campaign

dropout_prev_logo_250In an effort to reduce America’s high school dropout rates, America's Promise Alliance introduced the Dropout Prevention Campaign in April 2008. The 105 summits — one in all 50 states and 55 cities with the largest dropout rates — were held from 2008-10.


Grad Nation Funding Partners

The presenting sponsor for Grad Nation is the State Farm Insurance Company and there are numerous additional supporters.