Knocking update: new data about private high school graduates

In the December 2016 edition of Knocking at the College Door, WICHE projected that the U.S. is headed into a period of stagnation in the overall number of high school graduates it produces and declining numbers of graduates from private religious and nonsectarian schools. New data confirm WICHE’s overall projections -- but, declines in the future number of private high school graduates no longer appear imminent through at least 2018.

WICHE is not issuing new projections of private high school graduates at this time, but the newly released data are described in this brief report, "Knocking update: new data about private high school graduates", and have been posted to so that users of the Knocking projections have access to this important new information about private high school graduates.

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In brief:

• New data show a recent strong increase in private school enrollment, despite a prior expectation of decline. These data suggest an increase in private school graduates through 2018, then potential decline up to 12 percent by 2025.

• The overall trends that WICHE projected for high school graduates still hold—including a period of stagnation, slow increase through 2032 and continued rapid diversification--despite the changes among private schools, which represent about 9 percent of all graduates.

• Catholic schools still enroll the majority of private school students, but their proportion is decreasing, the relative influence on trends of other private school types has increased, and there is wide variation by state.