On-time graduation rates for Virginia high school students has improved overall by more than 7 percent since 2008. (Dennis R.J. Geppert/AP)

Virginia’s on-time graduation rate continues to rise, but a gap persists between white students and their black and Hispanic classmates, according to figures released Tuesday by the Virginia Department of Education.

According to the state, 88 percent of students who began high school in fall 2008 graduated within four years. The statewide dropout rate fell to just under 7 percent; over the past five years, it has dropped more than 25 percent.

Nearly 83 percent of black students and nearly 81 percent of Hispanic students graduated on time, compared with nearly 91 percent of white students and almost 95 percent of Asian students.

However, the gap is narrowing, with increases of a couple of percentage points for both black and Hispanic students over last year’s numbers, according to the state figures.

On-time graduation rates overall have improved by more than 7 percent since 2008.

“We are seeing better outcomes for more young Virginians because schools are able to identify at-risk students earlier and get them the help they need to succeed,” David M. Foster, president of the state Board of Education, said in a statement.