ST. CLOUD -- Enrollment in Roman Catholic schools across the country has dropped more than six percent this year compared to the previous academic year.

President of the St. Cloud Catholic Community Schools Scott Warzecha says locally overall enrollment is down about four percent, and most of that is at the youngest levels.

That decline interestingly happened at our pre-school and kindergarten levels.  That's pretty understandable going into the school year and seeing that we may be moving in and out of distance learning and such.

Warzecha says at some of their elementary schools they actually have a waiting list to get in as they maintain a 16-1 student to teacher ratio. He says they've seen the biggest bump in enrollment at Cathedral high school, which has offset the losses in the early grades.

Overall the St. Cloud Catholic Community Schools are down about 50 students with a total enrollment this year of nearly 1,900 students.

For families who need help paying for a private education, the Cathedral High School Education Foundation has helped more than 230 of its students in the form of $569,000 in grants and scholarships.

At the secondary level about a third of our kids are receiving some sort of financial aid, and it's a little bit higher down at the elementary level, so tuition is something that's manageable.

As for what might happen next year, he says it's too soon to tell, but there are a lot of four and five year olds that are not in school this year that will start entering the system whether it's private or public schools this fall.

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