The Diocese of Cleveland operates the largest Catholic school system in the state, with 20 high schools and 94 elementary schools. There are more than 40,000 students enrolled: nearly 13,000 at the high school level and more than 27,000 in elementary school.
Although every effort is made to operate the schools as efficiently as possible, tuition costs can be challenging for some families.
But Melanie Galizio, diocesan tuition assistance coordinator, said there are programs — both public and private — to help make a Catholic education more affordable.
“About one-third of those who apply for diocesan tuition assistance receive it,” she said. Awards are based on family need and average $400 to $800 per student, per year, at the elementary school level. High school students can receive $500 to $1,500 per student, per year. Payments are made directly to the student’s school.
Low-income families or those who live in the Cleveland Municipal School District could qualify for a scholarship, sometimes called a voucher, to help pay tuition costs at a Catholic school. Families can visit the Ohio Department of Education website, http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Other-Resources/Scholarships, for information about state scholarship opportunities.
Galizio said sometimes schools also have special scholarships or other tuition discounts to help families. Some have requirements such as writing an essay; others may be academic or merit based, or take into account family size and number of children attending Catholic schools. Recently, eight high school students received $3,000 each and 16 elementary students received $1,000 each from the Catholic Education Endowment Trust at the 19th annual Bishops’ Scholarship for Excellence lunch. Applicants wrote an essay on a prescribed topic and a panel anonymously selected the winners.
She recommends that parents stay in touch with the financial office at the school and keep school officials abreast of any changes in the family situation, such as serious illness, death, loss of employment or other emergency. Cindy Williams in the education office, 216-696-6525, Ext. 2830, also has information about emergency tuition assistance and other diocesan scholarship opportunities.
Although the application process for this school year is over, Galizio said the process will open in early 2018 for the 2018-2019 school year.
“Scholarship and tuition assistance is not one size fits all,” Galizio said. “There are lots of different approaches, so it’s important to keep the communication avenues open. We want to ensure that every family who wants to send a child to a Catholic school has all the information and help available to them.”
Galizio can be reached at 216-696-6525, Ext. 1032.