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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's dropout rate has declined for the third consecutive year, with 365 fewer high school students dropping out compared to the previous school year.
The state Education Department reported Friday the dropout rate for 2010-11 was 2.8 percent, down 0.1 percentage points from the previous year and 1.1 percentage points from 2007-08.
Beaufort County's dropout rate increased compared to 2009-10 figures -- up to 2.3 percent from 1.7 percent. In 2010-11, 122 high school students dropped out -- 90 of them were males, and 86 of the 122 were minorities.
Jasper County's dropout rate was down to 1.8 percent, from 2.1 percent in 2009-10. In the 2010-11 school year, 15 students dropped out. Eight of those 15 were males, and 12 were minorities.
Statewide, 5,900 teens left high school in 2010-11, compared with 8,032 in 2007-08.
The year-to-year dropout rate is different than the graduation rate. It reflects how many teens officially withdrew during the school year or became too old to return. Students can legally drop out at age 17. They cannot stay in school past age 21.
The graduation rate measures students earning a regular diploma in four years. The graduation rate for 2011 was 73.6 percent.