November 11, 2011

Tuition assistance helping family in southwest Detroit

Changing Lives Together
Like so many others in southeast Michigan in recent years, Aron, a married father of two young sons, was laid off, the bad news for his southwest Detroit family coming in November 2009. At the time, Aron Jr. was enrolled in Holy Redeemer Elementary School, and affording the tuition became an immediate family concern. A combination of tuition assistance from Holy Redeemer parish, the school, and the Archdiocese of Detroit made the difference.

Aron Jr. stayed enrolled at Holy Redeemer School where he is now a fifth grade student. His brother, Nino, started kindergarten this fall at Holy Redeemer and is also receiving tuition assistance. Aron Sr. started working again in August, beginning a new job in sales. Their mom, Vanessa, works when she can to supplement the family income.

Donors to the archdiocesan-wide Changing Lives Together campaign are providing an additional $15 million to strengthen the archdiocesan tuition assistance program that provides up to $800 each for Catholic students attending K-8 Catholic schools in the six counties of the Archdiocese. Parishes and schools often provide additional scholarships and other assistance to keep tuition within reach for families weathering the recession or experiencing other financial challenges.

“We are parishioners at Holy Redeemer,” said Aron Sr. “Both boys were baptized there, both go to school there, and tuition assistance has made a great difference for us,” he continued. “A Catholic education is a priority for our family. The academics, the class environment, and the religious education really matter to us.”

Tuition assistance is keeping a Catholic education affordable for the majority of families with children enrolled at Holy Redeemer, which has 139 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. John Kiley, in his first year as principal at Holy Redeemer, said about 70 percent of students at the school receive some combination of tuition assistance. “Parents want to send their children to Holy Redeemer,” said Kiley. “The economy and the cost of tuition are by far the biggest obstacles.”

Several neighboring parishes are augmenting the archdiocesan tuition assistance program to help parishioners send their children to Holy Redeemer. “We have donations for tuition assistance coming in from alumni groups, parishes, and relatives of teachers and students,” Kiley explained. “It’s encouraging that the Archdiocese is prioritizing tuition assistance through Changing Lives Together and that we’re working on every level to make Catholic schools more affordable.”

Aron Sr. agreed. “Raising money throughout the Archdiocese will give lots of other kids a chance at a better education and improve their relationship with their parish, too. You get the best of both worlds doing this.”

Changing Lives Together is a series of parish campaigns to generate resources to fulfill parish-developed plans and priorities. Learn more about the initiative in your parish.