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 275 schools over 140,000 students.

2019-20 Enrollment Lottery Estimates

Based on survey data and data from the Common Online Charter School Application, the Charter Center estimates that NYC charter schools received a total of 296,093 applications for kindergarten through grade 12.

total number of charter school applicants*

*Source: NYC Charter School Center 2019-20 Enrollment Lottery Estimates


There are approximately 3 applicants per each charter school seat in Harlem and the South Bronx.


of NYC public school students attended a charter school in the 2019-20 school year. 

New York City Charter Cap

The Charter Center is leading efforts to once and for all eliminate the arbitrary cap on the number of charter schools that can open in New York. We are working toward the day when every child in New York can attend the public school of their choice. 

Status of the Cap

The Charter Center monitors the number of charters still available in New York City and New York State. New York has capped the number of charter schools that can open in the state at 460. As of March 4, 2019, zero charters remain available in NYC to be approved by one of New York’s two authorizers – the State Education Department Board of Regents (Regents) and the SUNY Charter School Institute (SUNY). 

One proven and successful education reform strategy that will immediately provide high-quality public-school options is opening new charter schools. Given the critical needs of many NYC students, particularly those in underserved communities, the Charter Center analyzed district school performance, charter demand, and Census data that identified four neighborhoods in the Bronx and Queens that would particularly benefit from the immediate growth of high-quality charter schools. 


Featured Resources: Growth & demand

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