A good year for the average student

Not everyone suffers during an economic downturn. Apple farmers and pencil manufacturers, for example, saw a surge in sidewalk sales during the Great Depression. Our current mess will benefit a few folks who were previously on the outs, too. In this case, C students.

All year long, Catholic schools around the country have been reporting a decrease in enrollment. At first, the soft matriculation rate was thought to have a lot to do with softer attendance on Sunday mornings, too. But the Archdiocese of New York just reported a drop of nearly 6,000 students. In Brooklyn, the plunge is as deep as 5%. Los Angeles schools are reporting that similar trouble is brewing.

For some families, that $5,500 tuition (the average for a Catholic school) could be better applied in other areas, so off to public school, that socialist institution that even hard-core conservatives love, the kids go.

Which means that across the country, a door of opportunity is opening at private schools. To keep enrollment up, standards are loosening, and whereas a year ago, your average student might not have stood a chance to get into the school uniform of your local institution, now he or she might make the cut. The situation is similar at day care facilities.

That is, as long as you have the money or can obtain it. One California school has reported that financial aid requests have skyrocketed by 220% this year. In some cities, applications are flat, but financial aid requests are up. By the time the application process is done this year for the start of the 2009 school year, lots of families who would normally send their kids to private school will not be able to.

As schools need to shift their entry requirements, expect fewer to insist upon only "exceptional" students, but "promising" ones. That's your kid, right? Every parent thinks their offspring has potential. And thanks to these new empty slots, more kids will have a chance to prove it.
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