Private School : Facts and Studies

Private School Statistics at a Glance
PK-12 Enrollment (2011-12)5,268,000 (10% of all US students)
# of Schools (2011-12)30,861 (24% of all US schools)
Enrollment Source: National Center for Education Statistics (see table)
School Source: National Center for Education Statistics (see table)

Where do private school students go to school?
 Years 89-90Years 11-12
Conservative Christian10.9%14.0%
Seventh-day Adventist1.6%1.1%
Source: National Center for Education Statistics (PSS Report)

FAQs About Private Schools

How many private schools are there in the United States? How many students attend them? What's the average tuition? These are just a few of the frequently asked questions we get at CAPE. Here are some answers. (Unless otherwise noted, all data are from the National Center for Education Statistics.)

Schools and Students

There are 30,861 private schools in the United States, serving 5.3 million PK-12 students. Private schools account for 24 percent of the nation's schools and enroll 10 percent of all PK-12 students.
Most private school students (80 percent) attend religiously-affiliated schools (see table 2 of the PSS Report). And most private schools are small: 86 percent have fewer than 300 students (see table 1 of the PSS Report).


Average Private School Tuition: 2011-12
All LevelsElementarySecondaryK-12 Schools
All Schools$10,740$7,770$13,030$13,640
Other Religious$8,690$7,960$16,520$8,160
Source: Table 205.50 Digest of Education Statistics, 2013 Tables, National Center for Education Statistics.

Family Income

income chart
Where do the children of the wealthy go to school? The U.S. Census Bureau has data on the social and economic characteristics of students enrolled in the nation’s schools during the month of October 2012. It turns out that of the 8.8 million families with children in grades K-12 with annual incomes of $75,000 or more (the highest income bracket measured), 83 percent have children only in public schools and 13 percent have children only in private schools. (Four percent have children in both types of schools.)
Visit the U.S. Census Bureau Web site for detailed tables on school enrollment for October 2012. Table 8 provides data by family income.

Community Service

In March 2000, the National Center for Education Statistics issued a report entitled Service-Learning and Community Service Among 6th- Through 12th-Grade Students in the United States. According to the report, "Involving America's students in community service activities is one of the objectives established under the third National Education Goal for the year 2000,which seeks to prepare students for responsible citizenship."

The report notes a significant difference in levels of community service between public school students and private school students. "For both 1996 and 1999, students attending church-related private schools(42 percent for both years) and non-church-related private schools (31percent in 1996 and 41 percent in 1999) were more likely to say their schools required and arranged community service than students attending public schools...(14 percent in 1996 and 17 percent in 1999)."

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