Enrollment in Catholic schools has been declining in the United States for half a century due among others to a lack of affordability resulting from legal barriers to access public funding, a potential weakening of the perception of excellence associated with the schools, and a trend towards secularization magnified by the sexual abuse crisis in the Church. What could Catholic schools do to stem the decline in enrollment? There are no easy answers, and there is also no single perspective on how to improve Catholic schools and make them more attractive to a larger number of parents. To suggest some answers, this article (i) reviews the literature on factors that contributed to the decline in enrollment, (ii) suggests that many parents who have not enrolled their (youngest) child in a Catholic school might be willing to do so; and (iii) argues that three relatively untapped sources of comparative advantage could improve students’ lived experience in Catholic schools.



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