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Public School Enrollment in the District of Columbia Increases for Ninth Consecutive Year

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Audited 2017-18 school year numbers show 1.6 percent increase over the prior school year.

Media Contact: Fred Lewis (202) 412-2167; [email protected]

Public school enrollment in the District of Columbia increased by about 1.6 percent in the 2017-18 school year, marking the ninth consecutive year of public school enrollment gains in DC, State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang said today in releasing audited enrollment numbers for the 2017-18 school year.

Audited enrollment numbers for the 2017-18 school year show a 1.61 percent increase over the 2016-17 school year with the statewide enrollment total growing from 90,061 in the 2016-17 school year to 91,537 in 2017-18.

Enrollment in District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) decreased slightly from 48,555 in 2016-17 to 48,144 in 2017-18, while enrollment in the District’s public charter schools increased from 41,506 to 43,393.

“Our public schools have come a long way over the past ten years, and families across the District continue to take notice,” said Mayor Muriel E. Bowser. “From early childhood education to adult education, I am proud of the investments we have made and remain committed to building on our progress.”

“Families in the District of Columbia want their children to receive a high-quality education, and show their confidence in what we are doing to improve the quality of education in the District each year by enrolling their children in our public and public charter schools,” State Superintendent Hanseul Kang said. “The steady increases in enrollment we have seen each year for the past nine years are encouraging signs of the progress we are making in public education.”

The District’s audited enrollment numbers released today mirror unaudited enrollment numbers released to the public on Oct. 20, 2017, which reflected a statewide student enrollment increase of about 1.6 percent.

Public School Enrollment Since 2007
School Year DCPS Charter State
2007-08 49,422 21,947 71,369
2008-09 45,190 25,729 70,919
2009-10 44,718 27,661 72,379
2010-11 45,631 29,366 74,997

Background on the District’s Audit of Student Enrollment

As the state education agency, OSSE is responsible for contracting with an independent auditor to conduct an annual audit of the student enrollment data submitted by local education agencies (LEAs) in the District. In the first week of October, auditors contracted by OSSE launch an audit of public school enrollment in the District of Columbia that includes a review of student enrollment documentation submitted by LEAs. Prior to the audit, school-based staff were trained in the annual enrollment audit process as well as changes to the process that were enacted in summer 2017. As part of the annual process, LEAs resolve any anomalies found in enrollment documents and are offered the opportunity to appeal the results of the audit as they relate to their schools. Once documents are resolved and appeals exhausted, OSSE releases final, official enrollment numbers to LEAs.   

OSSE updated the enrollment audit for the 2017-18 school year by improving existing data systems or building new ones that facilitated direct data comparison for English learners and provided greater clarity and transparency for schools. OSSE also eliminated the annual student-by-student physical headcount.

For additional resources regarding the District of Columbia 2017-18 school year student enrollment audit, as well as information about past enrollment audits and changes to the enrollment audit process for the 2017-18 school year, visit the OSSE website at