Diocese awards $694,109 in Catholic school tuition grants

The Diocese of Peoria has awarded a record $694,109 in tuition assistance grants to 606 Catholic school students for the 2011-12 academic year.

The figure is the highest in the six years since the John Lancaster Spalding Fund for tuition assistance was established by contributions to the diocesan Rooted in Faith Capital Campaign. This year’s total brings the cumulative sum awarded since 2006 to more than $3 million.

Parents who applied for grants for their children were notified concerning awards in mid-April. All awards are based on need as assessed by FACTS Management Company and were made in rank order beginning with the neediest, according to Brother William Dygert, CSC, diocesan superintendent of schools.

In a letter to all pastors dated April 14, Brother William said recipients represent 37 Catholic schools throughout the diocese. Although the money is awarded to the students, the funds will be paid to the schools they attend.

Applications were invited in late 2010 through announcements at the schools, in parish bulletins, the diocesan website, and The Catholic Post. A total of 1,760 applications were received from 649 families.

A board that oversees the $12 million Spalding Scholarship Fund sets policy for the grants, which are then distributed through the Office of Catholic Schools. All grants are for one year, and the students must apply each year.

Brother William said that, while the assistance is substantial, the bulk of tuition help is actually provided at the parish level. Actual tuition is usually only about 50 percent of the per-child cost of education, with the rest covered by fundraising and direct subsidies from the parish.

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