A First Look at WICHE's "Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates" (10th Edition)

Every four years, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) publishes Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates. This highly-anticipated publication provides a window into the projected pipeline of future high school graduates and therefore prospective college students. The 10th edition, released in December 2020, projects high school graduates through 2037.

Nationally, high school graduates are projected to increase each year for the next five years before peaking at 3.9 million graduates in 2025. (The 9th edition of Knocking at the College Door, published in 2016, projected a more modest peak of 3.6 million high school graduates.) Between 2025 and 2037, there will be successively fewer graduates in each high school graduating class, dropping by almost 11 percent to 3.5 million -- a cumulative loss of 400,000 students. The graduating class in 2037 is projected to be about the same size as the graduating class in 2014. The decline is a direct outcome of fewer births following the Great Recession, although it is tempered by a welcome uptick in high school graduation rates.