Enrollment in MN public schools down 2% this year due to COVID

Families chose other schooling options amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Publish date:

Public schools in Minnesota saw a 2% decrease in enrollment in the 2020-2021 school year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

That's according to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), which on Friday released its enrollment data for the current school year. 

MDE says the 2% decrease in enrollment is about 17,000 students. Each student generates about $10,164 in general education revenue. 

“COVID-19 has already robbed our students of so many milestones that make school memorable,” MDE Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker said in a statement. “Now, our schools are potentially facing a huge loss in funding and resources, which will mean schools faced with eliminating learning opportunities and experiences for our students, especially students who need them most."

"We have hope that our public school enrollment will rebound as Minnesota recovers from the pandemic. Until then, we will continue to do everything we can to ensure our public school systems are providing our students the education they need and deserve," Ricker said. 

MDE notes that Gov. Tim Walz's education budget includes a proposal for a one-time increase in general fund resources for declining enrollment revenue in an effort to limit the pandemic's impact on school funding.

Decline comes from youngest learners

MDE says the decrease in student enrollment this year is largely due to families choosing not to send their child to public school kindergarten this year, with a 9% drop in public kindergarten enrollment this year compared to last year. 

Meanwhile, there was an increase in young learners going to nonpublic kindergarten, with those schools seeing a 12.4% increase in enrollment this year compared to last year. 

MDE says the most significant increase came in students being homeschooled, with a 49.5% increase from last year to this year. 

The majority of the decline in public school enrollment came from white students, with about 20,000 students or 3.7% decrease in white students attending public school.

The data MDE shared is based on enrollment data as of Oct. 1, 2020. This data is available on MDE's website here and here

Next Up

best buy

Best Buy confirms it has recently laid off 5,000 workers

The retailer has seen business boom since the pandemic started, particularly online.

Mall of America

Mall of America COVID community vaccination site opening this week

This is the state's fourth community vaccination site.

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

Minneapolis Public Schools to bring middle, high students back in April

Distance learning will continue be offered to those who want it.

Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins

Timberwolves announce 2nd half schedule

The Timberwolves will play 37 games in 66 days to close out the season.

Chris Finch / Timberwolves

National Basketball Coaches Association criticizes Timberwolves' coaching search

The organization believes the Timberwolves failed "to conduct a through and transparent search" before hiring Chris Finch.


Burnsville PD: Customer sprayed chemical irritant at McDonald's workers

The incident happened in Burnsville over the weekend.

coronavirus, coronavirus test, covid-19

MN launches campaign to get students tested for COVID every 2 weeks

The state launched a youth testing campaign on Wednesday as part of its effort to control the spread of COVID.

jacob frey

Preparations for Derek Chauvin trial underway in Minneapolis

People will see "fortification" efforts and National Guard soldiers.

Willmar Police Department

Road rage leads to brawl at Willmar intersection, police say

The participants appeared to know each other, police said.

hazelewood burgers

3 Minnesota restaurants make it on 50 best burgers in America list

A travel website praised the restaurants' burgers in a recently released list.


teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

St. Paul to start bringing students back to school buildings Feb. 1

Students have been distancing learning since the start of the pandemic last spring.

al's breakfast

Minneapolis joint named to Esquire's list of restaurants we can't lose

Al's has been fundraising to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

school, classroom, students

The Page Amendment for education returns to MN Capitol, so what is it?

The Page Amendment would change the state Constitution to make quality education a civil right.

coronavirus, coronavirus test, covid-19

MN launches campaign to get students tested for COVID every 2 weeks

The state launched a youth testing campaign on Wednesday as part of its effort to control the spread of COVID.

school, classroom, students

8 Minnesota schools honored with national Blue Ribbon

Four Twin Cities schools and four in Greater Minnesota received the honor from the U.S. Department of Education.


Child under 10 years old dies from COVID-19 in Minnesota

An updated view of the COViD-19 pandemic in Minnesota.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz executive order aims to make life easier for teachers during COVID

Education Minnesota calls it "a step in the right direction."

senate mask

Republicans vote down mask mandate for MN Senate floor

Instead, they want to "strongly encourage" that people wear masks.