By Marnie McAllister, Record Editor
A record number of Catholic school students — 2,344 children — will receive financial aid when classes begin next month, according to a press release from the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF).
The Archdiocese of Louisville and the CEF announced late last week that tuition assistance awards for the 2015-2016 school year have reached $5 million, also a record number.
The announcement noted that, for the first time, every student who demonstrated financial need received assistance. Last year, financial aid was awarded to 1,476 students, a record at the time.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz credits, in part, parishioners of Catholic parishes with the remarkable increase in aid.
“The selfless generosity of all 111 Catholic parishes and their pastors in central Kentucky to support the education of our young people is a resounding testament to our faith and the future of Christ’s Church,” he said in the statement. “I am deeply thankful that we can come together with our other funding partners and create so much hope for so many families in our community. We are blessed indeed!”
A breakdown of the funding sources shows that the parishes of the Archdiocese of Louisville are giving a combined total of more than $2.7 million to support tuition assistance this year.
- Specifically, parishes and schools have provided $1.5 million in direct assistance to their students.
And a one-percent assessment on parish income — for all 111 parishes — has generated $1.2 million in aid. That funding is administered by the archdiocese in the form of vouchers and discounts.
- The CEF, which is funded by parishioners and contributions from businesses, is providing another $2 million in assistance. The foundation also led a new effort this year to coordinate aid awards from multiple sources.
Richard A. Lechleiter, president of the CEF, said the foundation, the archdiocese, parishes, schools, School Choice Scholarships and Community Catholic Center collaborated this year for the first time. The groups shared data and were able to create funding packages that provided the aid each child needed, he said.
“This creative new way of allocating funds ensured that each family received a fair award and that more families were assisted than ever before,” he said.
- Another $300,000 in aid will be provided by School Choice Scholarships, a private organization, and Community Catholic Center, which helps children in West Louisville attend Catholic schools.
The success of this year’s effort to increase aid, the announcement said, is a result of the new Catholic Elementary School Plan announced last fall by the archdiocese and the CEF.
Lechleiter said, “We began this new approach using the slogan, ‘The answer is Yes!’ to remind everyone of the importance of Catholic education in this community, particularly for those who can’t afford it. It is inspiring to see this slogan begin to evolve into a reality.”