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 https://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.