Ali Murphy drops her two daughters off at Day Prep, a private school in La Jolla. / Photo by Brittany Cruz-Fejeran

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Some private schools adapted rapidly to COVID-19-related restrictions and rules, and saw an uptick in demand in the 2020-2021 school year. Catholic schools at all grade levels in San Diego saw a net increase in enrollment of at least 5 percent for the 2020-2021 academic year, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego. 

The Diocese of San Diego and Imperial counties says there are 43 Catholic elementary schools, six Catholic high schools and three Catholic universities in the region, accounting for 15,000 students.

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Voice of San Diego surveyed all local private schools about their capacity to handle more students and what percentage of their students either got a discount on tuition or free tuition. We also asked whether they would provide an online alternative for students. Here is a list of the responses we received.  

Some other tidbits about private schools in San Diego: 

  • Academy of Our Lady of Peace is an all-girls school in North Park considered to be San Diego’s oldest high school (138 years).
  • The Islamic School of San Diego is now Bright Horizon Academy. It teaches about 250 students in pre K-12; hijabs are mandatory for girls in grades six and up.
  • Cal Coast Academy has a new Carmel Valley campus that can accommodate more students this coming academic year. The small college prep private school puts an emphasis on individualized curriculums.
Name of School Percent of students who get a tuition discount Percent of students who pay no tuition Can the school accommodate more students? Is there an online option available? 
Academy of Our Lady of Peace 40% 0% Yes Yes 
Banyan Tree Educational Services 0% 0% No Yes 
The Bishops School 20% 0% No  No 
Brookshire International Academy 0% 0% Yes Yes 
Cal Coast Academy 6% 6% Yes Yes 
Cathedral Catholic High School 35%  0% No No 
Child’s Primary School 20% 5% Yes No 
La Jolla Country Day School 19% 0% No  No 
Le Lycée Français De San Diego 0% 1% Yes No 
Nativity Prep Academy 100% 100% No No 
Renaissance Village Academy 33% 0% Yes No 
Rock Academy 40% 1% No Yes 
San Diego Liberal Arts Academy 0% 0% Yes Yes 
Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School N/A 0% Yes No 
St. Augustine High School 51-55%  0% No  No 
St. Charles Catholic School 15% 0% Yes Yes 
St. Columba Catholic School 35% 5% Yes Yes 
St. Katharine Drexel Academy 30% 0% Yes Yes 
St. Patrick’s School 35% 0% Yes No 
St. Rita’s School 60% 12% Yes No 
St. Therese Academy 5% 0% No No 
Stein Education Center 0% 100% Yes No 
Waldorf School of San Diego 30% <2% Yes Yes 

Jennifer McEntee is a San Diego-based freelance writer. Email her at or find her on Twitter at @smackentee.

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