Michigan Sees Increase in Public School Enrollment for 2021-22

Overall public school enrollment numbers in Michigan rebounded slightly in 2021, according to the State Board of Education.

The state says that after a 4.1% decline in public school enrollment for the 2020-21 school year, the number of students enrolled in Michigan’s public schools was less severe this school year.

Kindergarten enrollment increased from 106,539 in 2020 to 114,744 in 2021, but is still down from 120,133 in the fall of 2019. Pre-kindergarten enrollment was also up, with 43,470 students enrolled in fall 2021 compared to 31,853 in 2020.

The number of students leaving public school to be homeschooled last fall was 4,583, which down from 13,233 in 2020 but still up from the average of around 1,500 per year prior to the start COVID-19 pandemic.

“These are important measuring sticks to gauge the overall support of public education in Michigan,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “Students are returning to their public schools, and we need to continue to invest more in our students and educators.”

According to the State Board of Education, enrollment declines overall in the state mirror the demographic decline of children 5-12 years old over the past decade. For more than a decade, broad demographic trends were mirrored in enrollment, which was gradually falling, on average, 0.8% each year.

“The drop in enrollment during the first year of the pandemic is beginning to reverse course, but it has not evenly returned to a pre-pandemic level for all groups of students,” said Tom Howell, director of the state’s Center for Educational Performance and Information. “The brightest spot is the significant increases seen in pre-K and kindergarten, which had experienced the largest declines in fall 2020. It is too early to suggest a pattern has emerged, but we are eager to see how enrollment figures move as the pandemic winds down.”