Ways to plan for Catholic school tuition

Article copied from Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Website: 

According to the National Catholic Education Association, more than 2 million children attend the 6,500-plus Catholic schools across the United States. It can be difficult for many parents – even in healthy economic times — to pay tuition for a Catholic school. The average tuition per child for elementary school is $4,841 and the average secondary school tuition is $11,239 per child.

Tuition fees paid by families constitute a portion of the actual per-pupil expenses. The difference between the per-pupil cost and the tuition charged is obtained in many ways, primarily through assistance from parish, diocesan or religious congregation resources and fundraising activities.

Almost all students attending elementary and secondary schools receive some form of financial assistance in the Diocese of Cleveland.

Based on the average public school per-pupil cost, the NCEA reports that Catholic schools provide more than $21 billion a year in educational savings for families in the United States.  

The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland is committed to supporting all families as they navigate financial planning for Catholic School tuition. There are many options, regardless of school location, economic background and number of children in the family or age of the student. 

Diocesan Tuition Assistance

The Diocesan Tuition Assistance program offers need-based financial assistance to families with K-12 students attending a Catholic school in the Diocese of Cleveland. These funds are raised through the generosity of many donors and the work of the Catholic Community Foundation.

The program also funds several scholarship opportunities, offers assistance designated for teachers and others working in a Catholic Diocese of Cleveland school, as well as an emergency assistance fund for families facing unexpected hardships.

“For the current 2018-2019 academic year, over 3,500 students received nearly $2.5 million in tuition assistance from diocesan-raised funds,” said Melanie Galizio, tuition assistance coordinator for the Office of Catechetical Formation and Education. 

While the Diocesan Tuition Assistance program – also called DTA — is separate from local tuition assistance, which is processed by individual school or parish financial aid, applying at the diocesan level often opens the door for families to receive assistance from additional sources. 

The application process opens ahead of the upcoming school year. Funds are distributed in two rounds. The deadline for round one is March 15. The deadline for round two is June 1.  Families must apply each year with their most recent tax information.  Financial awards for the student’s tuition are provided to the student’s school via a one-time payment from the diocese in the month of October.

State of Ohio Scholarship Programs

Scholarship programs offered through the state of Ohio provide opportunities for students in designated public school districts or who have qualifying needs for resources or Individualized Education Plans, to attend Catholic schools. To learn more on eligibility, the programs listed below link directly to the Ohio Department of Education Scholarship Programs.

Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program

Ohio EdChoice and EdChoice Expansion Program

Forty-seven Catholic schools in the eight-county diocese are a part of the Better Together initiative which supports environments for exceptional learners.  Catholic schools have educated students with exceptional needs for many years, but now with the resources provided through Better Together, programs and supports have been expanded. Tuition scholarship resources are also available for families through the state of Ohio.

Autism Scholarship Program

Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program

In addition to diocesan and state tuition support programs, Catholic organizations within the area also provide support to families.  Unity Catholic Federal Credit Union based in Parma has four branch offices and services more than 10,000 Catholic families across Northeast Ohio. Unity Catholic Federal Credit Union offers a variety of banking products including the Guaranteed Tuition Loan program to help families finance their Catholic school education. 

“Providing a Catholic education is a sacrifice regardless of a child’s age, but as students enter high school this can be especially challenging for a family,” said Kelly Reddy, a business development manager for Unity Catholic Federal Credit Union.  “Unity is proud to offer the Guaranteed Tuition loan program to all Catholic schools. This program guarantees that every parent that wants a loan gets a loan to pay for school, regardless of credit history.”

Unity Catholic Federal Credit Union also works directly with Incarnate Word Academy and Saint Joseph Academy to build tuition loan programs that meet specific school needs. 

Since 2012, the financial institution has funded more than $2.4 million in tuition loans and has helped more than 1,600 students attend Catholic schools. 

Click HERE to learn more about Unity Catholic Federal Credit Union’s Guaranteed Tuition Loan program.

Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union may be another option for students. 

“Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union believes that a Catholic education is one of the most important investments a family can make for their children,” shares Michael Wisnor, Vice President of Marketing & Mission. 

In order to help families realize their dream of sending their children to Catholic schools, Ohio Catholic FCU began its Catholic School Scholarship Program in 2014.  Over the past five years, Ohio Catholic FCU has awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships to students attending Catholic elementary and high schools in the Diocese of Cleveland.  The scholarships are awarded in the amount of $500 per student.

In order to be eligible for the scholarship program, a family must be a member of Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union.  The cost to join is $5.00 to become a member of the credit union, and the entire process can be completed online, through the call center, or by visiting one of the four branches.

To learn more about the Catholic Education Scholarship at Ohio Catholic FCU click HERE.

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