TRENTON - A new study says once again New Jersey schools lead the nation in high school graduation rates.

An analysis of the class of 2005 by Editorial Projects in Education, a Bethesda, Md.-based nonprofit, finds that 83 percent of the state's high school students get diplomas on time. That places New Jersey just ahead of Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Vermont. Pennsylvania's rate is 80 percent for all students. The national average rate was just over 70 percent.

Among Pennsylvania students, the lowest graduation rates were 44.5 percent for American Indian students and 58 percent for Hispanics. The rate for black students was 62.9 percent.

The study finds that white students in New Jersey had a graduation rate more than 20 points higher than black and Hispanic students. While there are wide disparities in the state's schools, New Jersey's education system usually does well when stacked up against other states - particularly when it comes to graduation rates.

- AP