Catholic Schools Are Losing Students at Record Rates, and Hundreds Are Closing

Catholic schools across the country are struggling to keep the doors open, after a pandemic year that left many families unable to pay tuition and the church without extra funds to cover the difference.

At least 209 of the country’s nearly 6,000 Catholic schools have closed over the past year, according to the National Catholic Educational Association. More closures are expected this summer, and some schools have taken to GoFundMe in an effort to stay open.

Nationwide, Catholic school enrollment fell 6.4% at the start of this school year, the largest single-year decline since the NCEA began tracking such data in the 1970s.

Urban dioceses have been hit especially hard: Enrollment in schools run by the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles was down 12% at the start of this school year. In the Archdiocese of New York, enrollment was down 11%.

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