As the recession deepens, private schools are feeling the pinch. In the U.S., where some 30,000 private institutions educate about 11 per cent of all elementary and secondary students, more parents are falling behind on tuition payments, applying for financial aid, and being forced to pull their kids out—even in the midst of the school year. According to the Education Department, the current school year has already seen a decline of 120,000 students in the private system. Private school enrollment has long been tied to economic booms and busts—numbers dropped following recessions in the early 80s, early 90s, and the Sept. 11 attacks. Some predict an even bigger slide in the spring, when parents who paid this year’s tuition before the economic downturn determine whether private school is in the cards for their kids in 2009-2010.