Msgr. Lafferty: Catholic school students
By RENEE WEBB, Globe editor
According to Marilyn Wellman, staff accountant, the number of students receiving awards is fairly comparable to previous years.
She pointed out that the average size of the award is about $850 and the minimum award is $250.
“Anyone who is income eligible will get at least $250,” said Wellman, who added that 75 percent of tuition is the maximum award amount. “We would like parents to have some responsibility for tuition.”
The tuition grants are calculated on a variety of factors such as family income, family size, the number of children in Catholic schools and the cost of tuition.
For the last two years, the Diocese of Sioux City has used Private School Aid Service (PSAS) as the third party administrator of the Msgr. Lafferty funds.
She explained that the bulk of the funds from the 2011 campaign were awarded. The state requires that 90 percent of the funds be distributed but the Msgr. Lafferty Foundation Board tries to distribute closer to the 93 percent mark.
Dan Ryan, diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools, said the one of the great advantages of having this tuition assistance program is that it provides “an opportunity for all individuals, regardless of socio-economic status to attend a Catholic school.” Since making Catholic education accessible to all students is a mission of Catholic schools, he said they find this program very pleasing.
A second distribution of Msgr. Lafferty funds is planned in the fall for students who are new to diocesan Catholic schools. Funds for the second distribution will consist of money that had been awarded to students but who, in the end, did not attend a Catholic school this year.
“We always verify enrollment every fall because history has shown us that some of our Msgr. Lafferty recipients end up not enrolling,” Wellman noted. “When that happens, the funds come back to the Msgr. Lafferty Tuition Foundation and we use that money to fund the new family distribution round.” Typically about $100,000 is returned and available for the second distribution. New families have until Sept. 14 to apply for Msgr. Lafferty tuition grants.
While families have been notified of the awards, the money will be sent directly to the Catholic schools in the fall after enrollment verifications have been made. From there, the Catholic school will apply those funds to the families’ tuition accounts.
The Msgr. Lafferty Tuition Foundation was established in 2006 as a result of the Iowa Educational Opportunities Act. The act allows non-public schools to sell tax credits to individual donors who make a donation to the foundation to assist families with tuition needs.
Fund-raising efforts for the 2012 campaign are now underway. This year’s goal is over $2.2 million.
For more information about the huge tax benefits to contributing to this fund, contact Dan Ryan at (712) 233-7589, Kristie Arlt at (712) 233-7513 or the administrator of your local Catholic school.
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