Student Enrollment Growing in Independent, Lutheran Schools

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In addition to the National Catholic Educational Association, a number of private-school associations have compiled information on enrollment, numbers of schools, and other statistics for the 1982-83 school year.

The National Association of Independent Schools (nais) reports that, as of September, 1982, its United States membership included 336,347 elementary and secondary students in 842 schools.

Last year, there were 326,165 students in 828 schools, according to Gayle Merrithew, an nais statistician.

Enrollments Have Grown

Enrollments in and numbers of nais schools have grown steadily over the past several years, according to the group's statistics. In 1978-79, for example, there were 747 schools with 281,344 students.

Enrollment in Lutheran elementary and secondary schools this year is 181,568, up 3.6 percent from last year, according to H. James Boldt, secretary of elementary and secondary schools for The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

The number of Lutheran elementary schools increased by 63, to 1,542.

Mr. Boldt noted that some Luth-eran schools did not report and were not included in the official survey results. For example, he said there are actually closer to 85 new elementary schools.

Enrollments Increased

Enrollments in Lutheran high schools increased to 16,493 this year, up from 16,150 in 1981-82. There are 61 high schools, Mr. Boldt said, three more than last year.

Lutheran enrollments have been increasing steadily since 1972, he said.

The nonwhite enrollment in Lutheran schools increased 1.1 percent this year. The overall racial makeup of Lutheran schools is now 87.4-percent white, 7.6-percent black, 1.5-percent Mexican-American, and the rest from a variety of oriental ethnic groups.

The Association of Christian Schools International, based in La Habra, Calif., reports that its 1,933 member schools enrolled 337,554 students (including preschool and some college students) for 1982-83.

Last year, there were 320,950 students in 1,728 schools, a spokesman for the organization said. In 1980-81 there were 289,001 students in 1,482 schools.

The American Association of Christian Schools (aacs), based in Normal, Ill., reports 1982-83 enrollments totalling 166,734 students (kindergarten through 12th grade) in 1,105 schools.

Gerald B. Carlson, field director for aacs, says 20 more schools have been added to the group since this information was compiled in February.

Last year, a total of 155,000 students attended 1,048 aacs schools, he said. In 1980-81, there were 144,647 students in 907 schools.

Christian Schools International, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., counted 72,443 students in 379 schools for 1982-83 as of last October.

Last year, the group's 368 schools enrolled 71,235 students.

Total elementary and secondary enrollment in schools run by the North American Division of the 7th-Day Adventists dropped from 73,596 last year to 70,484 in 1982-83.

The number of schools fell from 1,558 to 1,550 in the same period.

'Driven By Tuition'

Donald E. Lee, director of institutional research, attributes the loss to the continuing effects of the low birth rate, and the economy. "Our schools are essentially all driven by tuition," he said, "so I'm sure the economy has hit some of them."

The Philadelphia-based Friends Council on Education, an association of Quaker schools, reports a 1982-83 enrollment (including nursery-school through 12th-grade students) of 15,955 students in 69 schools. Last year, there were 68 schools with 15,675 students, said Ruth A. Seeley, the administrative assistant for the council.

The percentages of Quakers at Friends-operated schools ranges from 1 percent to about 80 percent, Ms. Seeley said.

The most recent information on minority enrollments in Friends' schools (from 1980-81) shows that out of that year's total of 15,025 students, 1,508 were black, and 584 were "other nonwhite" students, she said.

Proportions Stay the Same

In a report on 1981 enrollment statistics released last week, the U.S. Bureau of the Census noted that the proportion of elementary and secondary students in private schools was about the same in 1981 as in 1971.

About 11 percent of elementary-level students were in private schools in those two years. In 1981, 8.3 percent of secondary-school students attended private schools, compared to 8.9 percent in 1971.--ah

Vol. 02, Issue 27

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