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Catholic Education

 

These facts are for 2016-2017 unless otherwise noted.

The Catholic Church runs the largest network of private schools in the United States. Total Catholic elementary/middle and high school enrollment for the 2016-2017 academic year is 1,878,824.  

  • Elementary/middle schools: 5,224 schools educating 1,309,429 students.
  • High schools: 1,205 schools educating 569,395 students.
  • 6,429 total Catholic (elementary/middle and high) schools in the United States.

Other Religious Education

  • 1,739 Catholic schools had waiting lists for admission.  
  • Non-Catholic enrollment was 345,327 or 18.4% of the total enrollment.
  • 30% of all Catholic high schools are single gender and 1.4% of all Catholic elementary schools are single gender.
  • 99.3% of Catholic secondary school students graduate and 85.2% go on to four-year colleges, compared to 44% of public school graduates who go on to a four-year college.  
  • Dioceses with the largest enrollments are: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Brooklyn, St. Louis, Boston and New Orleans.
  • 20 new Catholic schools opened and 96 schools closed or consolidated.

Student Race and Ethnicity

  • 73.3% or 1,377,782 students enrolled in Catholic elementary/middle and secondary schools were Caucasian or white.
  • 5.5% or 102,901 students enrolled in Catholic elementary/middle and secondary schools were Asian.
  • 7.8% or 146,480 students enrolled in Catholic elementary/middle and secondary schools were African American.
  • 6% or 112,767 students enrolled in Catholic elementary/middle and secondary schools were multiracial.     
  • 16.8% or 315,610 students enrolled in Catholic elementary/middle and secondary schools were Hispanic/Latino.      

Tuition and Costs

  • Based on the average public school cost of $11,066 per student, Catholic schools provide more than 20 billion dollars a year savings for U.S. taxpayers.
  • Tuition fees paid by families constitute a portion of the actual per pupil expenses.
  • The average per pupil tuition in parish elementary schools is $4,400, which is approximately 74.7% of actual costs per pupil of $5,887.
  • About 91% of elementary schools provide some form of tuition assistance.  
  • The secondary school mean freshman tuition is $9,840, which is about 70.6% of actual costs per pupil of $13,939.
  • About 85% of secondary schools provide some form of tuition assistance.
  • 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.

Staffing of Catholic Schools

  • There are 152,883 total full time equivalent teaching staff in Catholic elementary/middle and secondary schools. The student/teacher ratio is 12:1.
  • 2.6% Religious/Clergy:
    2,470 or 1.7% Sisters
    784 or 0.5% Clergy
    743 or 0.5% Brothers

  • 97.4% Lay:
    115,110 or 75.3% female lay
    33,776 or 22% male lay

  • The larger the number of Latino parishioners, the less likely that community had a shared responsibility for a parish school, according to a 2014 Boston College study.
  • Catholic schools are less available in areas where the Catholic population has grown the most, mostly due to Hispanics, in the South and the West.
  • Major initiatives by bishops, superintendents, pastors and principals to provide consistent cultural competency training and financial investments have produced positive results.  
  • The percentage of Latino children enrolled in Catholic schools in the United States has grown from 12.8% to 16% over the last five years.

More information is available at the National Catholic Education Association at www.ncea.org and http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catholic-education/

Catholic Colleges and Universities 

(As of 2015)

  • There are 233 Catholic colleges and universities educating more than 802,093 students.  
  • About 60% of undergraduate students at Catholic colleges and universities self-identify as Catholic.
  • There are 10 Catholic two-year colleges with more than 5,100 students enrolled. The median enrollment is 302.
  • 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.
  • The newest Catholic institution is Holy Spirit College in Atlanta, founded in 2010.
  • Nearly 12.5% of the world's Catholic colleges and universities are located in the United States.
  • There are approximately 1,861 Catholic colleges and universities worldwide.

More information is available at the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities at www.accunet.org.



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