As the 10th largest school division in the U.S., Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) serves a diverse student population of more than 186,000 students in grades prekindergarten through 12. More than 52,000 (28 percent of total population) of those students are eligible for free and reduced-price meals; more than 28,000 (17 percent of total population) receive English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) services, and more than 25,000 (13 percent of total population) receive special education services. Demographically, 40 percent of FCPS students are White, 24 percent are Hispanic, 19 percent are Asian American, 10 percent are African American, and five percent are multiracial.
Nearly 93 percent of FCPS students graduate on time (in four years of high school), and more than 93 percent plan to pursue post-secondary education. FCPS students can take Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes in high school; the division offers the IB middle years program and the IB primary years program in select schools. The class of 2016 had 237 National Merit Semifinalists. Fairfax County high schools are recognized annually by the Washington Post as being among the most challenging high schools in the U.S.
FCPS is the third largest employer in Virginia, with 24,600 full-time staff positions, more than 92 percent of which are school-based. Its $2.7 billion budget is primarily funded by Fairfax County (71.2 percent) with contributions from Virginia (22.9 percent), other sources (4.3 percent) and the federal government (1.6 percent). More than 85 percent of the budget goes toward instruction, and the average cost per student is $14,432. The FCPS bus fleet is one of the largest private bus fleets in the U.S., transporting more than 130,000 students on over 1,600 buses each day.