Innovative Efforts for Financing Catholic Schools

The question of how to make ends meet has always been important for Catholic elementary and secondary schools in the United States. Entire school communities can spend a great deal of time wrestling with this question, and for good reason. Many Catholic schools are in the difficult position of trying to keep tuition costs down for families while at the same time bringing in enough revenue to keep the lights on.

image of jackWhile he does not claim to prescribe a cure-all to this problem, Jack Welsh, an undergraduate Honors research intern for the University of Dayton Center for Catholic Education (CCE), has spent a lot of time thinking about it. Over the past summer and fall, one of Jack’s research goals was to write and publish an article about financial vitality in Catholic schools. Recently, Jack received exciting news that an article he has written will be featured in the February/March 2015 issue of the National Catholic Educational Association’s official journal, Momentum. Once published, it will be read by educators across the United States.

Jack, currently a senior doing his student teaching and preparing for graduation in May, began work during his sophomore year on what would eventually become his article.  He chose to write a paper on traits of successful Catholic schools for a class he had with Mrs. Susan Ferguson, Director of the CCE, and Dr. Katie Kinnucan-Welsch, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Learning and Community Partnerships in UD’s School of Education and Health Sciences. Both professors were impressed with his work and saw its potential for future publication. Jack’s internship provided the perfect avenue for revisiting this idea.  He decided to narrow the focus to financial vitality and began searching for innovations in the field.  

After several months of research, a number of interviews, one of which was with Dr. Jim Rigg, Superintendent of Schools in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and consultations with Dr. Kinnucan-Welsch, who advised Jack in his writing, the article was finally submitted to Momentum for review. Much to his excitement and the excitement of the entire CCE staff, Jack was informed that same day that it would published.

The article profiles several different financial models being employed in Catholic schools within the Diocese of Columbus and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Through his research, Jack discovered that there is no “one size fits all” approach to financing the mission of Catholic schools. Each school or school system has its own unique circumstances. Factors such as location, cultural dynamics, and leadership all play a role in the particular plan that best fits an individual school. Just as schools have done an excellent job designing unique curricula or finding diverse ways to engage families, Catholic schools also must find unique financial solutions for their circumstances.

The CCE is thankful to Jack for his work on this and other projects as a research intern, and Jack is likewise thankful to the Center team for all of their support in helping him achieve this exciting goal.

Read the excerpt >>