A solid investment in their future
We believe every family in central Minnesota should have access to the Christ-centered, high-quality academics within our Catholic Community Schools. Variable tuition is designed to make an education in the Catholic Community Schools system accessible and affordable for all, assigning the appropriate tuition rate for each family.
While you may choose to cover the regular tuition rate, know that many of our families take advantage of a variable tuition rate that is tailored specifically to their needs. When you choose Catholic Community Schools, you’re investing in your child’s future, and while every penny invested is worth it, we will do our part to prevent any family from experiencing undue financial burden.
We encourage all families, regardless of income level or parish affiliation, to go through the variable tuition process, which uses an online, third-party, confidential, and secure portal to collect family information and determine variable tuition grant awards.
Variable tuition; making Catholic Community Schools:
Variable Tuition Grant FAQs
Why is CCS adopting a new tuition model?
At the highest level, we are attempting to remove the financial barrier of attending our schools. We want our schools to be affordable and accessible. Our guiding principle is aligned to a common church practice:
As a Catholic school, we believe each family ought to make a “just and reasonable” contribution toward the actual cost to educate their child(ren). No family should be unduly burdened by paying an extreme proportion of their income toward education. In accordance with our faith, we believe that those families who have been blessed with the means to pay full tuition ought to be expected to do so.
What is a variable tuition grant?
A variable tuition grant is a financial commitment by Catholic Community Schools (CCS) to share in the total cost of educating your child. Families who apply are eligible for a tuition that is right for their
family’s financial situation. This makes an education within CCS affordable to more families, removing financial barriers that may have otherwise prevented them from attending CCS. As a result, our students represent a broad range of socio-economic backgrounds, enhancing the learning experience for every student.
How does a variable tuition grant work?
Any family (current or new) of a kindergarten through 12th grade student may apply for a grant, regardless of income level. Many factors are considered when determining the tuition level a family is able to pay, including income, assets, unusual expenses, and the size of the family.
Through the variable tuition application process, a family’s financial information is securely collected online by FACTS, a widely used grant aid processor similar to the FAFSA process for college grants. From this, we receive an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) that we use to award a grant. For example, a family with three students may have a total of $22,000 in tuition. However, FACTS may calculate their EFC to be $9,000. It is this $9000 EFC target that we will ask a family to contribute toward their children’s education if we have sufficient resources available to us. Notice how the published tuition level of $22,000 becomes inconsequential? Our focus is on a family’s affordability.
When do I apply for a variable tuition grant?
A student must first apply and be admitted to a Catholic Community School before being eligible for a variable tuition grant, although variable tuition grant applications may be submitted at the same time as the enrollment application.
Who sees my application?
We use an online, third-party, confidential, and secure portal to collect information and determine grant awards. Once you have entered your information and it has been received and processed, a grant award is recommended to the tuition team at the Catholic Community Schools office where it is handled with the utmost professionalism and confidentiality.
Is my confidential information kept confidential?
Our VP of Finance, David Eickhoff, and a senior accountant will conduct the award process in a closed-door room. No one at the school will have access to any financial information (as they had previously). Our aim is to have all school staff blind to a family’s financial situation–like a doctor treating a patient.
We all hesitate before sharing confidential information. Confidentiality was a critical criterion when we selected FACTS. They have the attention to data protection, privacy policies, and if needed, the wherewithal to cover any breach. On a local level, we recognize the severe consequences and loss of trust that will inevitably result if we suffer a breach of confidentiality. We have certain preset values and FACTS has integrity checks in its process. Most applications will be processed automatically. However, in cases of irregularities with an application or a family needing a large grant, we can fetch the underlying financial information from FACTS to support our grant award decisions.
Where did the questions on the application come from? Do I have to answer them all?
There may be some questions that seem unnecessary. We have worked with FACTS to remove as much of the ‘nice to have’ questions leaving only the ‘have to have’ questions. The questions that remain are mostly ‘hard-coded’ into the application and cannot be removed or edited. These questions are essential to maintaining the integrity of the process.
After I submit a variable tuition grant application, when will I receive a final decision?
We do not award grants until after our confidential third-party processor has confirmed that they have received all required documentation from you and completed their evaluation process. Families who have completed the grant application and submitted all required documentation by February 15, 2022 should receive notification on the grant award decision by March 1, 2022. Families who have completed the grant application and submitted all required documentation by March 1, 2022 should receive notification on the grant award decision by March 15, 2022. After this, grant decisions will be made on a rolling basis, typically within 15 business days from the date all information has been submitted.
Should every new or returning family apply for a grant?
No. Families who have comfortable means to cover the regular tuition rate should do so. Any family, new or returning, who feels the regular tuition rate creates undue financial burden are encouraged to apply for a variable tuition grant. We leave the decision to apply for a grant up to each family.
Do I need to apply for a variable tuition grant every year?
Next year during the re-enrollment process when a family is asked to update contact information, upload any new medical history, etc., they will also be asked if there has been any significant change to their financial situation, such as taking or losing a job or an unforeseen hardship. If no significant change happened, the family can simply click ‘no’ and expect the standard nominal annual increase to their tuition level. If ‘yes’ is clicked, the family will be asked further questions about this change and will be given the opportunity to submit updated financial information that will in turn adjust their EFC.
Why is there a standard nominal increase in tuition annually?
There are two primary categories considered in determining tuition: expenses and investments.
Predictable changes to expenses are inflationary adjustments to operational costs (electrical power, supplies, technology use) and staff compensation. Typical investments are more occasional and school-specific. These include new curriculum, classroom materials, teacher professional development, and student assessments.
Next year’s expenses and investments will be equally shared as a tuition increase across all of our families as they’ve always been. To be concise, they will not be disproportionately shared based on a family’s EFC.
If I do not qualify for a variable tuition grant this year, can I apply again next year?
Yes. We recognize that a family’s circumstances or our ability to award more grants may change.
Do returning students receive priority over new students for a variable tuition grant?
Yes. We want an education within Catholic Community Schools to remain accessible to as many families as possible. Thus, we welcome applications from new families. However, current families who apply will receive priority consideration.
Do I need to apply for admission separately from applying for a variable tuition grant?
Yes. An application for enrollment should be submitted prior to or simultaneously with applying for a grant. However, an admissions decision will always be made first and separately from a grant.
Will applying for a grant impact my student’s chance of being admitted?
No. Admission applications and grant applications are evaluated separately. We do not base our admissions decision on whether a family is applying for a variable tuition grant.
What kind of economic situation is typical of a family who qualifies for a grant?
It’s difficult to describe “typical”. A wide range of families with a variety of circumstances qualify for tuition grants, from those who can pay close to the regular tuition rate to those who are able to pay a smaller percentage of the regular tuition rate. Our third-party processor evaluates income, assets, unusual expenses (caring for an extended family member, medical expenses), the size of the family, and a variety of other factors in the application process. The reason we utilize a third-party processor in the evaluation process is because we want them to conduct an objective evaluation.
Are some families granted free tuition?
No. We believe every family must make a financial investment in their child’s education. Our commitment to providing a grant means that we are further sharing that investment with you.
Are all admitted students offered a grant if the family qualifies?
Not necessarily. It is recommended that families who need a grant apply as early as possible as it is possible we may not have the ability to offer a grant to every student who qualifies for a variable tuition grant. If a student is academically and otherwise qualified for admission, we can place the student on a waiting list in case a grant becomes available.
When is the deadline to apply for a variable tuition grant?
Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Priority will be given to those who apply early, although grants are awarded year-round. There is no deadline.
Is there a cost to apply for a variable tuition grant?
I’m currently receiving financial aid. How does this work with a grant?
Variable tuition grants will be taking the place of all financial aid, scholarships, grants and discounts.
Are there still different parish and community rates?
No. All families are eligible for a variable tuition grant, regardless of their school community or parish membership, and there will not be parish or community rates in addition to variable tuition grants. Parish subsidies are now included in variable tuition grants.
Where do variable tuition grants come from?
Tuition grants are funded by generous donors who are grateful for Catholic education and wish to make it affordable and accessible to all. The majority of grant funding for CCS elementary school students comes from named scholarship funds through The Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of St. Cloud. The majority of grant funding for Cathedral Middle and High School comes from named scholarship funds through The Cathedral Education Foundation. Additionally, church members in the St. Cloud area Catholic parishes contribute up to 40% of their weekly gifts to our schools to help families attend our school.
If the grant award is not enough, can I appeal the variable tuition grant award?
Yes. If you feel we don’t completely understand your situation, or you believe your family needs greater assistance than the grant award provides, we encourage you to reach out to us.
Who should I contact with questions about variable tuition grants?
The Catholic Community Schools tuition office team is available to answer questions regarding the variable tuition grant application and award process. Email email@example.com for more information.