Check Out Your Local Catholic School!


Don’t assume you can’t afford it!! Please read on.

I have found that many folks just assume that a catholic school is out of reach of their finances for their kids. Please don’t assume this. Now more than ever faithful catholics NEED to band together to form a subculture that will help us and our kids avoid swallowing the totality of the culture we live in (and all that is wrong with it).

Please share the ways in which you have seen parishes help people afford catholic schools in this thread. Here’s mine:

  1. We probably can’t afford catholic high school, but we’ve decided that the money we DO have is best spent in the K-8 formative years. HS costs as much as college, but K-8 is about $3,800.

  2. Our parish doesn’t have a school, but instead refunds us about 30% of the tuition from a catholic school not far away. Down to $2,700.

  3. The State of Illinois gives a tax credit of up to $500 for private school parents. Down to $2,200. (Can’t remember if that is total or per kid, only have one in so far).

  4. School has a fundraising deal where you can buy cash cards for many corporations (dept stores, grocery, gas stations, restaurants) and get a small percentage of the card value applied to YOUR tuition (not a general school fund).

  5. The school has some access to donors and diocesan money for those with tough finances.

  6. My wife works in her pre-kids profession one weekend a month at a hospital. Its a great way for her to keep current in her field (which reduces our life insurance needs!) and she makes enough this way to pay the rest of the tuition! One weekend a month for that is well worth it.

  7. We don’t take fancy vacations. This was another hard one for my wife, but she has learned to camp in a low-cost popup camper and we still get to see America at a fraction of the price.

Chime in with other ways you have found to scrounge the money to pay for catholic schools!


I attend a Catholic secondary school that costs nothing to attend.Anyone is allowed to go and they dont have to pay a fee.Parents just have to pay 40 euro for books and get us a uniform and thats all.:slight_smile: Its also a very good school that teaches a LOT and has extras such as Franch and Art.


Wow… you’re both very blessed to live in an area with reasonable prices…

We’re considering the catholic school at our parish (we’d LOVE to send our kids there), but most likely will opt for the public due to cost… $5500 per student per year. Not an easy pill to swallow…


Personally, I’d rather save to send dd to a Catholic high school since I believe grade schools are relatively the same education wise in our area and problems are the same. High school, to me, seems like where the amount would be worth it (smaller class sizes and more discipline than what is found in the public system).


I sent my kids to Catholic grade school and 2 to Catholic HS, 1 to public school because he has ADHD and dyslexia. I wish to God that I had just home schooled him for his HS years. He will be a senior this year and I have disenrolled him and I am signing him up with Seton.

Like the OP, I live in IL and our parish does have a school. If you are a parishoner the tuition comes to 2370 after all the breaks. Then there is Private school Aid Service that you can apply for aid. I didn’t apply last year because i was promised a big raise at work and thought I would get it. Well it never happened and I struggled but of course I didn’t know how much I was going to struggle until after the forms for next year were past due… so I am not sure if dd will be going there this year… Tuition is $6000 a far cry from the grade school tuition. :frowning:


The foundations are laid in K-8. Actually children need to be Catechized by around age 10.

Find a way to pay for Catholic Elementary Ed. It is worth every penny.


I agree. However, I also feel toward Catholic High School being worth the money more than the Catholic grade school because I actively teach my dd the faith and live the faith too (may not have in the past, but do now). I went to Catholic grade and high schools but my parents NEVER taught me a thing about being Catholic (not even by example - dad had affairs, mom encouraged birth control). My solid understanding of basic Catholicism didn’t come from my Catholic grade school, but from my Catholic High School and one of the best Theology teachers ever (a couple of people on this forum could attest to this fact). So, even though I strayed for many years, when I started coming back to the faith it was due to what I learned in high school about the faith. Not to mention, it was much nicer to be in a graduating class of 105 than 500+ (like my sister).


Due to the public school situation here, we actually sold a bigger house, moved into a smaller house, changed and staggered our work hours and used the extra money from the lower house note and no day care bills to apply toward our parish Catholic School. A little (or a lot really) sacrifice - a huge payoff.

Our 2 boys are 6 years apart and HS was so much more for the older one - but we did it. He now has a full scholarship to college and this past year when the younger was being treated for cancer - the parish and school were more than wonderful - we always had meals, we kept up with schoolwork, folks cut my grass while I was away, financial gifts were collected, and many other acts of kindness shown. Sure - it might have happened at a public school - but I thank God for the active faith and support of our parish and catholic school through those tough times - we are so blessed.


The Catholic Schools are again trying to do a better job transmitting the faith. However, parents are the first teachers. But, how does a poorly cathechized parents teach what they do not know?

The Catholic elementary school can help fill the void.

Some Catholic Schools have returned to using the Baltimore Catechism.

My son went to a Catholic School. Many classmates went to CCD and public elementary. In a class of 30 or so students during his junior year, only two were pro-life.


We send our 5 school-aged children to our parish school.3 in elementary (pre-K -8) and 2 in high school.Both are Blue Ribbon schools.Our diocese has said they will turn away no student for catholic education because of financial difficulties.
We get parish discount (huge!) because we are at Mass every Sunday,plus Large-Family discount,and also financial aid but it still runs us over $7000 a year for 5 kids (not bad,we figure).It’s a sacrifice we feel is worth it.

Hubby and I neither one feel that material goods are more important than our childrens’ welfare anyway.I don’t want a house bigger than what I need,we’ve never had a new car,and don’t take fancy vacations (we enjoy our weekend at Lake Michigan just fine).I have no idea what we’d spend the extra money on if we didn’t send the kids to private school anyway-all our material needs are met adequately already and I still get to enjoy being a SAHM.


I should state that I am assuming that one can only afford one (Catholic grade school) or the other (Catholic high school). As for the pro-lifers in your son’s class, a Catholic grade school education doesn’t guarantee that one will be prp-life (just as a public grade school does not guarantee that one will be pro-choice). I would love to send my dd to the Catholic grade and high school (and hope to do so when she’s old enough), but I have seen the results of the Catholic schools as well as the public schools and it all still comes back to the parents and the education and example they provide.


The Catholic School kids knew the argument and the propaganda by the pro-death people.


So did the ones I went to Catholic School with, but still, a good percentage are still pro-choice. What is taught at home is what influences a child greater than what is taught at school. I was fortunate to have been able to be where I am despite my family, but most I know are (whether educated in a public or Cathoilc setting) hold the same beliefs as their parents. The few who don’t are few and far between.


No hijacking! Point unhesitatingly granted: Catholic schools (good ones) make a superb SUPPLEMENT for good parental example and teaching. They make a lousy substitute for the same.

Now, back to creative ideas for affording it!


What about Omaha’s diocese setup? Isn’t it true that there is no tuition for their schools? If so, then I would think that is the example to promote in other diocese.


That’s great. The only K-8 school I would have considered sending our kids to is $7,000/ year. —KCT


In some case no matter what you do Catholic School not affordable.

My case: Catholic School (K-8) with many of the breaks mention in the OP would cost us $1500 per child. We have 2 children so that would be $3000 plus the cost of school supplies (i.e. crayons, markers, folders, pencils, etc), and lunches.

Up until 3 weeks ago I’ve been a completely stay-at-home Mom. 3 weeks ago I started to work. I’m working 15 hours a week. I’m working 3rd shift (10 pm to 3 am). This is so we do NOT have to pay for child-care. This is so I’m still home during the day for the kids, this is so I can help in the classroom and go on field-trips etc.

Even with this little bit of extra income we still DO NOT make enough to pay for Catholic Schools. For us the option is $1500 per year per child for Catholic School or $50 per child for Public School and sending them to CCD. (CCD for us is free. This is because the parish waives the CCD fees for us because I’m a volunteer teacher and have been for the last 15 years {my kids are 6 and 5})

So for us the option is either $3000 per year or $100 per year.

We have opted for the $100 per year. I agree that Catholic Ed is “worth” every penny, and if you can afford it then do it. However just because my kids go to public school doesn’t mean they are NOT getting a Catholic Education.

Hubby and I know that we are the “domestic church”. We have taught our kids the faith and will continue to teach them the faith. I agree that it’s hard for a poorly catechized parent to teach their children. However whose fault is it that the parent is poorly catechized?

The excuse that I was NEVER taught as a child can only go so far… There comes a point in a person live that they just have to learn, they are reasonable for their knowledge or lack of knowledge. Parents regardless of where they send their children need to be catechized!

Parents maybe sending their children to Catholic School, but how do they know their child is getting a Catholic Education? How do they know if what the school teaches is true to the Catholic Faith? I’ve seen plenty of threads here that have parents complaining that their children are going to Catholic Schools but are NOT getting a Catholic Education. What would a poorly catechized parent do then?

Parents need to be catechized no matter where they send their children


I have to agree that parents who do not make the effort to learn and teach the faith are the main problem. Where you send them to school really can be a non-issue in the faith department.

We looked, and we cannot afford tuition for four children at the Catholic schools. And we are about to have our fifth…no way in H E double hockey sticks do we have that kind of money. Not even with every discount and scholarship there is, and there is no guarantee we could get any of that scholarship money. We are in that wonderful middle class place where we make too little to afford it, but too much to get aid.

Personally, while I think a quality Catholic-based education can be a wonderful thing to have, I went to many years of Catholic school and do not remember it being much different from public schools. The religious parts were separate from the other subjects, and we had just as bad of a drug and gang problem as the public high school. In some ways worse, because we had the idle rich kids using Mom and Dad’s money and inattention to throw truly egregious drunken parties and introducing other kids to drugs and group-pressured sexual acting out. Thank goodness I was so unpopular…I never got invited, but I heard about that stuff and was horrified.

I don’t necessarily think education has to take place in a Catholic environment. My children are getting an excellent education at a charter school that I trust, and they are also getting good instructin in their faith from us and from their parish. My husband and I were both BADLY cathechized (and DH did 12 years of Catholic school!)…me personally all the way up until my Confirmation at age 22. So what? Because we value our faith and want to teach it to our kids correctly, we went out on our own and found the information we needed. The things I know really well in my life have nothing to do with school. I learned them on my own because I needed them and I sought out the resources.

Catholic schools came about as part of the “prickly apartness” of Catholic society during the 1800s and early 1900s, into the “golden age” of the 40s and 50s. (Read American Catholic by Charles R. Morris for a good discussion of this.) Perhaps they are outdated now? Not saying they are…just proposing something to ponder.

Whatever your answer to that is, the fact is, some people REALLY cannot afford them! And it’s not for lack of trying to find options. Another problem for us would be that there are none less than a 20 minute drive away for us. I drive my kids well out of my neighborhood to go to their current school, so I am not opposed to that, but that’s too far. We’d be risking lateness everyday, thanks to traffic, and gas costs a whole heck of a lot these days…adding to the cost.

Honestly, I think the family and its efforts matter way more than where the child goes to school.


Well my prayers have been answered, as my sister is sending my about to enter 3rd grade Godson to catholic school next year. He had been in a non-religious private school which was triple the price of the catholic school. She is not very religious, her older two went to the private school and are now in and about to attend private, though catholic, high schools. I have been on her about my Godson’s religious ed, as that was my promise. Her highschool kids are actually the ones who told her they feel the education by their friends who came from catholic grade school was as good as theirs, so it seems a bargain compared to the old private school.
My feeling is grade school is not forever, and you are giving your children such a wonderful foundation. Talk to the pastor of the church with the catholic school to see what options might be available. At my grade school, they had paid lunch moms and school nurses who received tuition vouchers for their time. A lot of high schools offer financial aid.


Here in the Albany, New York area we plan to send our little dude to Catholic school where the tuition is $3,700 per year (which is less than I’d expected). It’s the same school my wife attended, so I hope some day he doesn’t come home and ask why Mommy’s maiden name is carved into a desktop. :shrug:

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