Share in the Spirit -
Tuition Assistance Collection
On the weekend of September 27-28 at all Masses celebrated in our diocese, the annual tuition assistance collection, Share in the Spirit, will take place. This collection provides parishioners the opportunity to show their support for one of the diocese’s most important initiatives: providing a Catholic education for children who desire one.
Contributions to the collections, combined with funds from the diocesan Vision for the Future Education Trust, help open the doors of Catholic elementary and secondary schools to children whose parents struggle to afford the full cost of tuition.
“A Catholic education should not be available to only those that have the financial means. Rather, it should be within the reach of all parents who desire their children to learn in an environment that places Jesus Christ at its center.” says Deborah Fols, director of the diocese’s Development Office.
Tuition assistance isn’t a handout; it’s a helping hand. Families who receive assistance are responsible for at least 50 percent of the cost of their children’s education.
The number of families seeking tuition assistance is overwhelming. Parents are feeling severe financial pressure in the current economy, adding to the challenge the diocese faces in keeping a Catholic education accessible. Contributions to the Share in the Spirit collection not only benefit families in need but also help sustain the enrollment levels necessary to make Catholic schools a dynamic institution in our communities.
Last year, parishioners throughout the diocese contributed nearly $240,000 to the Share in the Spirit collection. Those gifts coupled with proceeds from the diocesan Education Trust have enabled the diocese to provide $605,500 in tuition assistance to 317 students at 22 schools for the current school year.
But the need is much greater. In total, the diocese received more than 800 applications representing 1,259 students. FACTS, an independent agent that analyzes the financial need of each applicant, determined more than $4.3 million would be required to fulfill the maximum need of every family who qualified for assistance.
“When a parent learns their child will receive a Catholic education because tuition assistance has been granted, they are overcome with gratitude; their prayers have been answered. However, not every parent is the recipient of good news. Many families worthy of help cannot be offered assistance due to our limited resources,” says Fols. “Our hope is that parishioners will see the value in Catholic education and support the Share in the Spirit collection so that more children can be educated in an environment where prayer, sacraments and service to others are infused into their daily living and learning experience.”