A report provided to POLITICO by the New York Equity Coalition found the state graduation rate has been on the rise since 2016, but said those numbers may be inflated by exemptions and flexibility granted during the pandemic. Since 2016 the state graduation rate rose 9.4 percentage points to a 86.1% graduation rate in 2021. The report found 71% of students in the 2021 cohort used at least one Regents exam exemption to graduate, and students from low-income backgrounds and English Learners were reliant on exemptions to earn a diploma.