CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Enrollment in private schools in North Carolina increased more in the past two school years than it has in the decade prior, according to enrollment numbers recorded by the state's Department of Administration.

Private school enrollment increased more than 10% from 2020 to 2022, compared to the 7.5% increase in enrollment from 2010 to 2020. 

What You Need To Know

  • North Carolina private school enrollment increased more than 10% from the 2020 to 2022 school year
  • Education officials say private schools reopening for in-person learning before public schools during the pandemic contributed to the increase
  • Charlotte Catholic Schools are looking at how to expand amongst student enrollment growth

Private school administration officials are partially crediting the increase to private schools opening up for in-person learning faster than public schools during the pandemic and parents deciding to stay.

Dr. Greg Monroe, the superintendent for Charlotte Catholic Schools, says enrollment has increased 15% since 2020, and could increase another 2% for the 2023-2024 school year.

"To accommodate some of that enthusiasm and growth, requires us to be very thoughtful in how we expand out our current existing schools, but then expand to places where there might not be Catholic schools, and we're looking at that right now," Monroe said.

The Fletcher School in Charlotte serves students with learning disabilities, offering small classroom sizes with a six students per one teacher ratio. Dr. Tara Terry, head of school, says students second grade and higher have to be medically diagnosed with a learning difference to continue school there. 

Terry says enrollment at The Fletcher School has increased 10% since coming back from the pandemic. 

"Parents were home with their children, and they were watching them on Zoom and they were seeing... 'I have this child who is really struggling and they're being taught, and it's not getting in the right way.' They are turning to us to say, 'What is this that is going on?'" Terry said.

Terry says when more students enroll, they are able to hire more teachers. Currently, 286 students are enrolled with a full capacity to teach 310. 

Private school officials say new students are coming from new families moving to the area, as well as those making the switch from public to private schooling.