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Catholic school enrollments see historic high

St. Joseph High School in Santa Maria
Posted at 6:32 AM, Feb 25, 2022

At St. Joseph High School in Santa Maria, the application window closed a few months early due to a record number of applicants.

The principal at St. Joseph High School, Erinn Dougherty, said, “For the last two years, we've noticed we had been trending about 10% increase a year since the 2018 year. However, we generally really get going in January is when we have the most applications submitted. However, this year I closed applications January 31st because we had such an overwhelming number of applicants.”

This is a trend across the United States, according to the National Catholic Education Association. Catholic school enrollment increased 3.8% for the 2021-2022 school year, the largest increase in two decades.

Administrators at St. Mary of the Assumption School and Mission College Preparatory Catholic School told KSBY that they saw an increase in enrollment as well.

Dougherty explained, “I think that people were interested in St. Joe’s, perhaps because we were back in person. And I think that that meant a lot to families. I think there has been a lot of discontent with public education.”

Catholic and many other private schools are not under the same jurisdiction as public schools in California, who report to the California Department of Public Education, so they are not regulated the same way.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles told St. Joseph High School that they will not be requiring their students to be vaccinated to attend. The school will not be offering a remote learning option for the upcoming school year.