Celebrating 10 Years It's about great public schools.

Growth + Demand

Public charter schools would not exist, let alone grow and thrive, without demand from families seeking high-quality public school choices. Since New York City’s first charter school opened in 1999, this educational option has grown to encompass 207 schools serving 95,000 students—with nearly 43,000 more on waiting lists.

Out of 207 charter schools operating in 2015-16, 193 (93%) responded to the NYC Charter School Center’s survey about their lottery application rates. Based on survey data, the Charter Center estimates that New York City charter schools received a total of 249,700 applications for 22,000 available seats. Discounting for students who apply to more than one school, this represents an estimated 64,600 applicants for 22,000 seats—creating a citywide charter school “waiting list” of an estimated 42,600.

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New York has capped the number of charter schools that can open in the state at 460. 302 charters have been issued to date, with 207 of those currently operating in NYC. As per 2015 legislation, only 50 of the remaining charters can be issued in NYC by one of New York’s two authorizers - the State Education Department Board of Regents (Regents) and the SUNY Charter School Institute (SUNY). Our detailed analysis breaks down the charter cap, while our fact sheet answers frequently asked questions about the cap.


2014-15 Enrollment Lottery Estimates

With only 21,000 charter seats for the 2014-15 school year, there was a citywide charter school “waiting list” of an estimated 49,700.

Waiting for Their Chance

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools examines conditions in 10 urban districts that have large waitlists for their public charter schools, including New York City.

Growth & Demand Fact Sheet

This fact sheet illustrates the growth in the number of charters schools beginning in 2000, with projections up to 2018.

Lottery Process Fact Sheet

Due to the high demand from parents, charter schools receive many more applications than they have seats available. Charters then fill their seats by a random lottery.

Cap Fact Sheet

In NYC, 50 total charters are available to be issued in the future, by either the Regents or the SUNY Trustees.

2013-14 Enrollment Lottery Estimates

2012-13 Enrollment Lottery Estimates

2011-12 Enrollment Lottery Estimates