By DIANE STARKOVICH, Ph.D., Superintendent of Catholic schools, Archdiocese of Atlanta | Published February 5, 2016
Catholic schools across the country face many challenges—declining enrollments and increasing tuition costs. While the enrollment in the Archdiocese of Atlanta remains relatively stable, we do have opportunities for growth in a few of our schools. Working closely with our principals and the faculties and staffs found in our schools, we remain committed to the two hallmarks of a quality Catholic education: strong faith formation and academics that are second to none.
We strive to keep Christ at the center of our students’ lives while providing them with a challenging and nurturing educational setting. In our world today, working with the family is more important than ever as our students face a society and culture that run in opposition to the teachings of our faith.
During the World Congress of Catholic Education held in Rome last November, Pope Francis reminded us of our obligation to know the spiritual and corporal works of mercy and to pass them on to our students and their families. Our Catholic schools prepare students for college and career; but more importantly, through the teaching of practical ways in which to live the Gospel in our daily lives, our students are being prepared for Heaven when they will return to the Father who created them.
Across this country, the one factor that dissuades parents the most from enrolling children in Catholic schools is the cost of tuition. During the current academic year, the Archdiocese of Atlanta has awarded in excess of $8 million in tuition assistance that is need-based. Through our efforts to keep our schools affordable and accessible and a focus on the long-term viability of our schools, financial assistance is provided from three key areas: GRACE Scholars, the Archdiocesan Assessment for Catholic Education, and local matching funds including interest drawn from several named endowment funds.
We encourage all families who are concerned about the cost of tuition to speak with one of our schools about the financial aid process. Families qualify for assistance through a needs-analysis done through a third party contractor. I encourage families to give the process a try and see if there is anything we can do to assist your family in registering in one of our schools.