Union County is the sixth largest school system in North Carolina. Student enrollment has increased 57% over the past 10 years, bringing enrollment in 2011-2012 to 40,360 students. It is made up of 53 schools including: 30 elementary schools, 9 middle schools, 11 high schools and three special needs schools. Some 68% of the student population is white; 13% is African American; 14% is Hispanic and 5% is "other." Some 31% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunches. Of the class of 2011, 86% of high school graduates planned to attend college (54% aimed to attend four-year colleges and 32% headed to two-year colleges).
UCPS ranked 5 out of 115 school systems in North Carolina with a 89.1 percent graduation rate.