The graduation rate for low-income New Yorkers was 68 percent, while wealthier students had a graduation rate of 84 percent, according to the report released Monday by foundations including the America's Promise Alliance, which is headed by former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.
New York ranks 34th in the nation for students graduating on time. The national rate is 80 percent.
The authors of the report, "Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic," see 80 percent as a milestone and hope to reach 90 percent by 2020.
"After the nation witnessed flat-lining high school graduation rates for three decades, rates have risen about 10 percentage points over the last 10 years," the report says, noting that improvements have been driven by gains in graduation rates among Hispanic and African-American students.
In New York state, 63 percent of black students and 63 percent of Hispanic students graduated on time in 2012.
The report examines efforts to raise graduation rates and credits New York City with successful programs like an anti-truancy drive undertaken by Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration in 2010. It says the anti-truancy effort can be replicated elsewhere without spending much money.
The report also highlights efforts to close what it calls "dropout factories," schools where the senior class is less than 60 percent the size the freshman class was three years earlier.
It praises efforts that started in New York City with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to replace large schools deemed to be dropout factories with clusters of smaller schools.