Catholic high schools, such as Dominican in Whitefish Bay, will assist parents in funding their child’s education. (Submitted photo)
While there is a cost to a Catholic education, the investment more than pays for itself.
According to Catholic Memorial High School President Donna Bembenek, the benefits are even more tangible than the type of people developed by Catholic high schools; there are financial incentives as well. Catholic Memorial’s Class of 2022 was awarded more than $22.1 million in college scholarships.
If tuition sticker shock is an issue, there are ways around that.
Each of the 16 high schools in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee will help families navigate ways to pay for their student’s education. Sitting down with the admissions and financial aid representatives of your intended school can help you find ways to make tuition affordable.
More than 40 percent of students at Dominican High School receive support through academic merit awards and financial assistance.
We are committed to working with all families who want a Catholic, college preparatory education,” Dominican President Leanne Giese said. “We never want the cost of tuition to be the reason students are unable to attend. Our close-knit community provides parents with the opportunity to sit down face-to-face with our admissions team to discuss their individual financial circumstances. We strive to make every effort possible for students to receive a Dominican education.”
Cristo Rey Jesuit President Andrew Stith’s school provides a way of attending a Catholic high school for low-income families on Milwaukee’s south side.
“We only serve families of limited financial means,” Stith said. “If a family is able to pay the tuition at another Catholic high school, we recommend that other Catholic high school, because we are here to meet a need in the community that was not met by other Catholic high schools prior to us being in Milwaukee.”
In addition to the financial assistance Cristo Rey offers, the school has partnered with local businesses through a corporate work study program.
Cristo Rey students work in job-sharing teams of four and are paired with local companies based on interests and skill sets. Students work five full days per month within normal business hours, and academic schedules are structured so students are able to work without missing any classes. At Catholic Memorial, students can work in summer work study programs where a portion of compensation is applied to tuition.
Catholic high school students are also more likely to graduate and attend four-year colleges than their public school peers. The USCCB reports 99.4 percent of students who attend Catholic schools graduate high school, and 84.7 percent of Catholic school graduates (compared with 44 percent of public school graduates) attend four-year colleges.
All 15 of the non-residential archdiocesan high schools (St. Lawrence Seminary High School in Mt. Calvary is a residential school) participate in at least one of the three parental choice programs offered by the state of Wisconsin. These are the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, for students who reside in the city of Milwaukee; the Racine Parental Choice Program, for students who reside in the Racine Unified School District; and the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program, for students who reside in Wisconsin but outside the city of Milwaukee and the RUSD.
All three programs allow enrollment for incoming ninth graders. The WPCP open application period runs from the Feb. 1 through April 20.
Starting in 2018, Wisconsin parents were given the opportunity to use 529 plans to pay for K-12 tuition at private schools. Many families now take advantage of the tax-exempt accounts to save for their children’s high school educations. One benefit to these accounts is that anyone can open an account for a student — including grandparents or other family members — allowing them to contribute to their loved ones’ educations over time. For more information, visit 529.wi.gov.
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue – Schedule PS (Private School) allows parents to deduct up to $10,000 per student in grades 9-12 at a Catholic high school, regardless of income. If your student moves from eighth grade to high school in the same tax year, you may claim both tuition expenses up to $10,000.
For more information about School Choice Programs, visit https://dpi.wi.gov/parental-education-options/choice-programs/student-applications or www.schoolchoicewi.org.