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OII: Office of Innovation and Improvement
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Office of Non-Public Education (ONPE)
Liaison to the nonpublic school community for the U.S. Department of Education

Statistics About NonPublic Education in the United States

Private Schools

Schools and Enrollment

Private School Universe Survey 2011-12

In the fall of 2011, there were an estimated:

  • 30,861 private elementary and secondary schools with,
  • 4,494,845 students, and
  • 420,880 full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers.

Note: These estimates include schools for which kindergarten is the highest grade.

Private Schools in the U.S. Number and Percentage by NCES Typology 2011-12, Table 1 by NCES Typology 2011-12
Catholic Parochial Diocesan Private
6,873 2,910 2,922 1,041
(22.3%) (9.4%) (9.5%) (3.4%)

Other religious Conservative Christian Affiliated Unaffiliated
14,214 4,744 3,060 6,579
(46.1%) (14.8%) (8.6%) (24.3%)

Nonsectarian Regular Special Emphasis Special Education
9,775 4,882 3,280 1,613
(31.7%) (15.8%) (10.6%) (5.2%)

Private Schools by School Level 2011-12, Table 1
Elementary Secondary Combined
19,697 2,677 8,488
(63.8%) (8.7%) (27.5%)

Private School Students in the U.S. Number and Percentage by NCES Typology 2011-12 Table 5
Catholic Parochial Diocesan Private
1,928,388 728,669 830,813 368,906
(42.9%) (16.2%) (18.5%) (8.2%)

Other religious Conservative Christian Other affiliated Unaffiliated
1,676,649 630,557 486,746 559,347
(37.3%) (14.0%) (10.8%) (12.4%)

Nonsectarian Regular Special emphasis Special education
889,807 611,529 173,773 104,505
(19.8%) (13.4%) (3.9%) (2.3%)

Private Schools by School Level 2011-12, Table 5
Elementary Secondary Combined
2,124,106 757,448 1,613,291
(47.3%) (16.9%) (35.9%)

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Tuition

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, Advance Release of Selected 2013 Digest Tables

For the 2011-2012 school year, private school full tuition averages were:

  • $7,770 for elementary schools;
  • $13,030 for secondary schools; and
  • $13,640 for combined schools.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), "Private School Data File," 1999-2000, 2003-04, 2007-08 and 2011-12. (This table was prepared in June 2013.)

Homeschooling

Parent and Family Involvement in Education, From the National Household Education Surveys (NHES) Program of 2012

In the spring of 2011, an estimated 1.77 million students (1,770,000) were homeschooled in the United States. This represents an increase from the estimated 1.5 million students (1,508,000) who were being homeschooled in the spring of 2007. In addition, the estimated percentage of the school-age population that was homeschooled increased from 2.9 percent in 2007 to 3.4 percent in 2011.

Parents give various reasons for the decision to educate their children at home.

Parents' Reasons for Homeschooling Their Children (in percentages)
Reason 2011-2012 2006-2007 2002-2003
A desire to provide religious instruction 64 83* 72*
A desire to provide moral instruction 77 83* 72*
A concern about environment of other schools 91 88 85
A dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools 74 73 68
A desire to provide a nontraditional approach to child's education 44 65 Not asked this year.
Child has other special needs 17 21 29
Child has a physical or mental health problem 15 11 16
Other reasons 37 32 20

*Note: During these years, the surveys listed “a desire to provide religious or moral instruction” as a combined reason.

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In the 2012 NHES, parents were also asked which of their selected reasons for homeschooling was the most important.

Parents’ Most Important Reasons for Homeschooling Their Children,
Top Five (in percentages)
Reason 2011-2012 Notes
A concern about environment of other schools 25 Four percent increase from 2006-07 NHES results
Other reasons (include family time, finances, travel, and distance) 21 Seven percent increase from 2006-07 NHES results
A dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools 19 Two percent increase from 2006-07 NHES results
A desire to provide religious instruction 16 In the 2007 NHES, religious and moral instruction reasons asked as one with a 36 percent result
A desire to provide moral instruction 5 In the 2007 NHES, religious and moral instruction reasons asked as one with a 36 percent result
Child has a physical or mental health problem 5 Three percent increase from 2006-07 NHES results
A desire to provide a nontraditional approach to child's education 5 Interpret current data with caution, coefficient of variation is 30 percent or more
Child has other special needs - Reporting standards not met for 2011-2012

SOURCE: Noel, A., Stark, P., and Redford, J. (2013). Parent and Family Involvement in Education, From the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012 (NCES 2013-028), National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC. Retrieved September 30, 2013 from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch.

Helpful Links

Institute for Education Sciences (IES)

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

List of Sources


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Last Modified: 02/11/2014