If there’s one thing Wisconsin residents take pride in, it’s their schools - and it's for good reason. The state excels in academic achievement and offers its residents a wide range of educational opportunities – both public and private. There are more than 191 Roman Catholic, Lutheran (Missouri and Wisconsin synods), Jewish, Christian and Baptist schools in the five-county region. Many have deep roots. Marquette University High School, for example, is more than 150 years old.
A Strong Legacy of Private Education
In addition, there are several non-sectarian, college-preparatory schools, including three that offer classes from kindergarten through 12th grade. University School of Milwaukee can trace its roots back to 1851, while University Lake School was founded in 1956. The two schools are not related, but both are devoted to providing high quality education. Brookfield Academy, founded in 1962, is an independent college preparatory day-school for students from pre-kindergarten through high school. The Prairie School, founded in 1965, is a co-ed independent day school located in Racine County that serves pre-kindergarten through high school students. Lake Country’s non-denominational Christian Education Leadership Academy (CELA) in Pewaukee, serving students in 4K through 8th grade, was founded in 2015 on the three pillars of academic excellence, comprehensive Christian values and strong leadership development. St. John's Northwestern Military Academy is a private, all-male college preparatory and leadership development school that has graduated heads of state, key business leaders, professional athletes and accomplished artists since its founding in 1884.
Southeastern Wisconsin also offers a wealth of higher education opportunities. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has more than 25,000 students in more than 190 different undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The university’s Lubar School of Business accommodates approximately 4,200 students and is noted for its research in manufacturing, information systems, accounting, marketing, finance strategy and leadership, business development, and diversity issues. Marquette University offers over 11,400 students a wide array of academic choices and more than 75 majors through its nationally recognized colleges and schools. More than 2,800 students attend the Milwaukee School of Engineering, a private college with very strong ties to the business community.
The state’s vocational education program was the first of its kind in the nation when it was established in 1908. Working closely with business and industry, it provides two-year degrees that are closely matched to real-world needs. In southeastern Wisconsin, vocational schools include the Milwaukee Area Technical College in Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties, Waukesha County Technical College in Waukesha County, the Moraine Park Technical College in Washington County and Gateway Technical College in Racine County. These schools have a combined enrollment of nearly 85,000 students in associate degree and certificate programs.
Private School Choice Programs
Private School Choice Programs available to qualifying families include the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP), the Racine Parental Choice Program (RPCP) and the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP). Schools participating in the program receive a state aid payment for each eligible student on behalf of the student’s parent or guardian. Determination of which program a student is eligible for is based on where in Wisconsin a student resides. Student eligibility varies for each program. It is a combination of student residence, income and prior year attendance. There is also an age requirement that must be met for grades K4, K5, and 1.
For further information on private school choice programs and student application information, visit dpi.wi.gov/sms/choice-programs/student-applications.