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Campaign Grants $6 Million in Tuition Grants

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Now in its fourth year, the “One Faith, One Hope, One Love” capital campaign has begun to make a big difference in the lives of parents who have their children enrolled in Catholic schools within the archdiocese. Forty percent of the pledges collected are allocated to the Catholic Education Fund (CEF), which, in turn, provides funding to families in the form of tuition assistance grants.

The number of students last year who received assistance is impressive: 1,424 elementary school students and 510 high school students benefited from the endowment, receiving more than $2 million in funds. Over the three years the program has existed, more than $6 million has been granted to local families for tuition assistance, creating the opportunity for more families to afford Catholic education.

Terry Adkins, principal of St. Brigid School, has seen a large impact at his school in Xenia.

“The Catholic Education Foundation has been an important benefit to many of our St. Brigid School families and the parish. Fifty-one students (24 percent of enrollment) received funds totaling over $51,000. This tuition assistance was truly the difference in some families’ ability to afford and attend St. Brigid School this year,” he said.

“The fund for the elementary level is a great start. There’s a lot of momentum behind it. It allows the elementary schools and parishes to spread their own tuition assistance dollars further,” said Vince Woodall in the archdiocesan Catholic schools office.

Woodall added, “More parishes and schools are encouraging families to apply to the Catholic Education Foundation first. They’re getting families to think about enrolling earlier, getting them to apply for assistance, and then if they’re not awarded, they’re able to assess what assistance they can provide at the parish and school level.”

“These gifts also relieved some of the burden from the parish, as less was required for parish subsidies for families with financial needs for tuition. We are grateful and blessed for such generosity and support,” said Adkins.

The maximum tuition benefits for families has grown. The first year the maximum tuition assistance grant awarded to students was $1,000; this year the maximum was $1,200.

How it Works
Gifts received from the “One Faith, One Hope, One Love” capital campaign go directly to the Catholic Community Foundation. From there, funds are distributed to the different priorities that benefit directly from the campaign. Funds for the tuition assistance endowment flow directly to the Catholic Education Foundation for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, a foundation that supports Catholic education within the archdiocese. The CEF oversees the endowment, as well as the distribution of tuition assistance grants to families.

How to Apply
Families of elementary school students (K-8) can apply for assistance directly through FACTS Grant and Aid Management. All schools in the archdiocese are linked to a master account. All students are considered for tuition assistance from the Foundation, as long as the FACTS application is completed by the deadline.

“We can see every application, and then we award based off of need from that pool of applicants, the people who have applied by the deadline, which, this year, is January 31st,” said Woodall.

Funds at the high school level are distributed directly by the school, following guidelines set forth by the Catholic Education Foundation.

Successes in the Community
St. Clement School in St. Bernard has grown their enrollment significantly since the beginning of this tuition assistance program.

Principal Jeff Eiser is effusive when he speaks about how the fund has positively impacted his school.

“The CEF Scholarship program has become a critical part of making a Catholic education possible for many of our economically challenged families, he said. “Our enrollment at St. Clement School has risen every year for the last eight years, but it has really taken off over the last two years, thanks in part to the CEF scholarship program. Our school serves students from over 17 different zip codes from as far north as West Chester and south to Camp Washington. Eight years ago we were struggling at an enrollment of 158 students in grades K-8, and this year our enrollment is 324 students.”

And that growth in student population has also served to evangelize.

“Our percentage of Catholic students has been very steady at between 65 to 70 percent during our growth period, and we annually have baptized five to 10 students (through RCIA) as more of our new students ask to become Catholic,” said Eiser.

Part of the reason that St. Clement School has been so successful is that they’ve paired the CEF grant program with other options to accommodate financial need.

“The CEF grant program has allowed St. Clement School to offer a variable tuition payment schedule based upon actual financial need. In combination with available state scholarship programs and parish based financial aid programs, we have been able to meet almost 100 percent of the actual financial needs of our families,” said Eiser.

The deadline to apply for a grant is January 31, 2020. To apply, visit catholicbestchoice.org.

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