More Families Are Switching to Private School Despite Higher Costs

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The pandemic has brought a shift in the way American children are being educated — and the change is more than virtual learning and social distancing. More parents than ever are sending their children to private school, according to CNBC.

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A recent survey by EdChoice, reported by CNBC, showed that 41% of parents would prefer a private education for their children post-pandemic. Enrollment figures do not align with these statistics, however.

Emily Glickman, the president of Abacus Guide Educational Consulting in New York, told CNBC, “I am seeing unprecedented interest from the public-school community seeking entrance into private schools.”

Pre-pandemic, CNBC reported, private school enrollment was on a decline.

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With greater flexibility, larger facilities and fewer students, many private schools opened to full-time, in-person instruction before public schools had the go-ahead. Many parents who could afford it opted for private school in order to continue working productively, either inside or outside the home.

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In addition, parents concerned about significant academic learning loss and stunted social-emotional progress may have opted for private school to provide a return to a normal learning environment for their children. Studies from McKinsey & Company showed that the learning loss affected Black and Hispanic students, as well as students with disabilities, disproportionately. The report showed that white students could be four to eight months behind while students of color could be six to 12 months behind.

The pandemic brought increased financial aid packages, helping private schools open their doors to families who previously could not afford a private school education. The National Association of Independent Schools reported that the average aid package per students rose to $19,240 for the 2020-21 school year, up from $18,717 in 2019-20 and up from $17,727 in 2018-19.

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Additionally, EdChoice reported that approximately 610,000 vouchers, ESAs, and tax credit scholarships were distributed in 2021, an increase from 2020.

The National Center for Education Statistics projected that public school enrollments would increase while private school enrollments would be lower in 2021 than they were in 2010, the last year for which the Department of Education collected statistics. However, certain factors such, as the pandemic and increased financial aid, may not have been accounted for in the projections.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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