The Catholic Church runs the largest network of private schools in the United States. Total Catholic elementary/middle and high school enrollment for the 2011-2012 academic year: 2,031,4551
- Elementary/middle schools: 5,636 schools educating 1,440,572 students
- High schools: 1,205 schools educating 590,883 students
- 6,841 total Catholic (elementary and high) schools in the United States
- 463 new schools opened in the last 10 years2
Other Religious Education
- Non-residential schools for disabled students: 53 schools educating 6,047 students3
- Public school students receiving religious education: 4
- Elementary /middle school students: 2,885,785
- High School students: 662,914
Did you know?
- 1,822 Catholic schools or 26.1% had waiting lists for admission for the 2011-2012 academic year. 5
- Non-Catholic enrollment for the 2011-2012 academic year was 312,732 or 15.4% of the total enrollment. 6
- Minority enrollment in Catholic schools for the academic year 2011-2012 was 624,878 or 30.2% of total enrollment.7
- 31.5% of all Catholic high schools are single gender, and 1.2% of all Catholic elementary schools are single gender. 8
- 99.1% of Catholic secondary school students graduate and 84.7% go on to college, compared to 44.1% of public school graduates. 9
- Parents choose Catholic schools for any and all of the following reasons: faith formation, high academic standards, values-added education, and safe school environment. 10
- Dioceses with the largest enrollments are: Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Brooklyn, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Boston, and New Orleans.11
- During the academic year 2011-2012, 34 new Catholic schools opened and 167 schools closed or consolidated.12
Student Race and Ethnicity in 2011-2012
- 74.2% or 1,507,985 students enrolled in Catholic elementary/ middle and secondary schools were Caucasian.13
- 4.8% or 96,609 students enrolled in Catholic elementary/middle and secondary schools were Asian.14
- 7.5% or 151,858 students enrolled in Catholic elementary/middle and secondary schools were African American.15
- 5% or 101,852 students enrolled in Catholic elementary/middle and secondary schools were multiracial.16
- 13.9% or 282,378 students enrolled in Catholic elementary/middle and secondary schools were Hispanic/Latino.17
Tuition and Costs
- Based on the average public school cost of $11,282 per pupil, Catholic schools provide nearly 23 billion dollars a year in savings for U.S. taxpayers. 18
- Tuition fees paid by families constitute a portion of the actual per pupil expenses.19
- The average per pupil tuition in parish elementary schools is $3,673, which is approximately 62.2% of actual costs per pupil of $5,387. 20
- About 93.9% of elementary schools provide some form of tuition assistance. 21
- The secondary school mean freshman tuition is $8,182, which is approximately 80% of actual costs per pupil of $10,228. 22
- About 97% of secondary schools provide some form of tuition assistance. 23
- The difference between the per pupil cost and the tuition charged is obtained in many ways, primarily through direct subsidy from parish, diocesan or religious congregation resources and from multi-faceted development programs and fundraising activities. 24
Staffing of Catholic Schools
There are 151,395 total full time equivalent teaching staff in Catholic elementary/middle and secondary schools. 25 The student/teacher ratio is 13:1.
- 3,567 or 2.4% Sisters
- 767 or 0.5% Clergy
- 689 or 0.5% Brothers
- 113,427 or 74.9% female lay
- 32,945 or 21.8% male lay
More information is available at the National Catholic Education Association at www.ncea.org.
Catholic Colleges and Universities
There are 232 colleges and universities educating 818,331 students.26
About 60% of incoming freshmen at 4-year Catholic colleges and universities self-identify as Catholic. 27
There are 14 Catholic women’s colleges. 28
- 105 colleges and universities offer weekend and evening classes. 29
- There are 11 Catholic two-year colleges with more than 5,100 students enrolled.
- The median enrollment is 492, and the average cost of tuition and fees is $9,835.30
- The first Catholic higher education institution in the United States was Georgetown University in Washington, DC, founded by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1789.31
- Nearly 12.5% of the world’s Catholic colleges and universities are located in the United States. 32
- There are approximately 1,861 Catholic colleges and universities worldwide.33
In the United States, Catholic institutions of higher learning include:
- Medical schools: 5
- Law schools: 28
- Pharmacy schools: 7
- Colleges and universities that offer engineering programs: 41
- Institutions with doctoral programs in theology, religion and ministry: 16
- Colleges and universities with undergraduate majors in education: 183; that offer doctorate degrees in education: 32
- Colleges, universities and hospital-related nursing schools that offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing: 128; that offer graduate degrees in nursing: 93; that offer doctoral degrees in nursing: 19 35
More information is available at the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities at www.accunet.org.
1 McDonald, Dale, PBVM, PhD, and Margaret Schultz, Annual Statistical
Report 2011-2012 Summary, National Catholic Educational Association
(NCEA), 2012, http://www.ncea.org/news/annualdatareport.asp?print=y
(accessed on 7/27/12).
2 NCEA, U.S. Catholic Education Snapshot. March 2011
3 The Official Catholic Directory 2013, General Summary.
4 The Official Catholic Directory 2013, General Summary.
5 NCEA, U.S. Catholic Education Snapshot. March 2011
6 National Catholic Educational Association, 2011 -2012 Annual Statistics
Report Summary, p. 6.
7 NCEA, U.S. Catholic Education Snapshot. March 2011
8 National Catholic Educational Association, 2011 -2012 Annual Statistics
Report Summary, p. 2.
9 National Catholic Educational Association, Catholic Education
Questions, (accessed on 7/27/12) http://www.ncea.org/FAQ/
12 National Catholic Educational Association, 2011 -2012 Annual Statistics
Report Summary, p. 1.
18 National Catholic Educational Association, 2011 -2012 Annual Statistics
Report Summary, p.4.
26 The Official Catholic Directory 2013, General Summary.
27 Association of Catholic colleges and Universities, Catholic Higher
Education Frequently Asked Questions, http://www.accunet.org/i4a/
pages/index.cfm?pageid=3513#international (accessed on 8/4/12)
28 Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, with information
collected from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
29 Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Catholic Higher
Education Frequently Asked Questions.
34 Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Special Programs,
(accessed on 8/4/12.) http://www.accunet.org/i4a/pages/
35 Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, 2012.