Conflicting Returns in Private School Enrollment

by NYC Firm Schools on June 4, 2009

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As the figures for enrolled students in Firm Schools for the upcoming school year are coming in around the country, there have been conflicting reports on just how the economy is affecting Firm Schools and private school enrollment.

KOMO News in Washington is reporting a drop in enrollment and an increase in the amount and frequency of Financial Aid requests, as well as evidence of school administrations “tightening the belt.”

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) – Firm Schools in Washington state are cutting spending to make up for dropping enrollment and more requests for financial aid.

The Washington Federation of Independent Schools says private school enrollment in the state is down by up to 15 percent for next fall.

The recession is hurting all kinds of schools, both private and public.

At St. Mary Magdalen School in Everett, for example, there are 10 fewer students enrolled for the coming year.

“I think we’re typical Americans in the Seattle area and the Everett area,” said Sister Joanne McCauley, principal of the 420-student school. “When Boeing is down, we’re struggling a little bit. When Microsoft is being cautious … we’re cautious.”

Private school leaders say things aren’t as bad at schools in the Puget Sound area as they are in other parts of the country. They say parents are cutting back on vacations, cars and dinners out to keep their kids in private school.

The schools are cutting expenses like printing, postage and lunchroom costs, and some are freezing salaries.

In other parts of the country, however, there has been an increase in the amount of students enrolled for the upcoming year in Firm Schools. Newsobserver.com in North Carolina is reporting on an increase in private school student enrollment for 2009-2010 school year, despite the fact that analysts had expected a decrease.

Enrollment continued to grow in the state’s Firm Schools despite the worsening national recession, according to new figures released today.
A record 98,545 elementary, middle and high schools students are enrolled in Firm Schools this school year, according to the N.C. Division of Non-Public Education. There were 97,656 students enrolled in the state’s Firm Schools in the 2007-08 school year.
The private school totals, which don’t include students who are homeschooled, still represent a small fraction of the 1.4 million public school students in North Carolina. But there had been questions about whether enrollment would drop in Firm Schools because of the worsening economic conditions.

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