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Published: Tuesday, 6/26/2007

Private high school costs increase by 4 to 6 percent

Many students who attend Toledo Catholic high schools receive tuition assistance

The cost of tuition at private high schools has increased again for parents in the Toledo area.

Catholic high schools and the handful of private and other parochial schools in the area followed their yearly practice of raising tuition between 4 and 6 percent.

Maumee Valley Country Day School remains one of the priciest in the area with tuition at $13,350 for grades six through nine and $14,350 for grades 10 through 12, which is a 5.5 percent increase over last year.

St. John's Jesuit High School is slightly higher in cost than St. Francis de Sales High School, its competitor as the other all-male Catholic school.

St. John's tuition, with fees, is $8,470, up 4.6 percent from last year, and St. Francis charges $7,800, up 5.7 percent from last year.

Notre Dame Academy and St. Ursula Academy, the two all-female Catholic high schools, are now both over the $8,000 mark. Notre Dame's tuition is $8,150, up just 2.4 percent from 2006-07, and St. Ursula will charge $8,000, up 5 percent.

Even though the full tuition may be out of reach for many families, Jack Altenburger, superintendent of schools for the Toledo Catholic Diocese, said many students are given a break.

"Our six high schools are between $6,000 and $8,000, and some people pay that, but a lot of people get financial assistance," Mr. Altenburger said.

Gail Christie, St. John's spokesman, said the school offered $2.1 million in tuition assistance, scholarships, and other awards for next school year through its endowment fund.

"Over 60 percent of our families receive some kind of tuition assistance," Ms. Christie said. "That's where a lot of the middle-class families get their help to come to private schools. You can be making a fairly good salary and still have trouble affording it, so that's where the tuition assistance comes in."

Maumee Valley Country Day School distributes "more than $1 million annually in need-based financial aid and merit-based scholarships," spokesman Darcy Gifford said. "Approximately 36 percent of families receive financial aid or scholarship awards averaging $5,950 per year."

Students at 19 Toledo Public Schools - including Scott, Woodward, and Libbey high schools - were eligible to apply for a taxpayer-funded voucher that will cover up to $5,000 for religious or private school tuition.

Mark Tooman, director of communications at Toledo's Central Catholic High School, said the school could have about 120 voucher students next year, up from 31 during 2006-07.

"We made people aware that we would be happy to talk to families that were able to take advantage of the program," Mr. Tooman said. "They all had to come in and go through the rigorous process of applying and have their academic and discipline records reviewed."

Mike Gocsik, vice president of institutional advancement at Cardinal Stritch High School in Oregon, said it is the most affordable Catholic High School in the area.

"We freeze tuition, so when you come in as a freshman, it stays the same for your four years and we've been doing it now for about three years," Mr. Gocsik said. "The cost of Catholic education has become too expensive and placing the burden solely on the shoulders of parents is a broken system."

Cardinal Stritch had only four students with state vouchers for 2006-07.

- Ignazio Messina



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