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Catholic education and the “new economy”

by By Nickie Stillman Contributor
January 26, 2012

 
 

Nickie Stillman Incarnate Word Academy

Seventh grade student Claire Walsh studies after school at the Incarnate Word Academy Library as the second semester continues at area Catholic schools.

Across the nation, the cost of education remains as one of the top financial concerns for families who are still facing a sluggish economy and a rising cost of living.  While the effects of the current economic slowdown may not be felt as acutely in the Coastal Bend as in other parts of the nation local families are having to make tough decisions when prioritizing their budgets. 

In response to the current economic realities, Catholic schools are also seeking ways to carry forward in the new economy. Recently the Incarnate Word Academy (IWA) board of directors approved a $1,900 reduction of tuition for pre-school elementary programs and nominal increases for their other programs campus wide for the 2012-2013 school year. 

“We understand and appreciate the sacrifices parents make in order to provide their children with an IWA education,” Incarnate Word Academy President Charles D. Imbergamo said.  “We share their commitment to providing the very best education possible, while remaining fiscally vigilant and responsible. Our tuition schedule for next year reflects important progress that we’ve made in the past year in moving toward a more value-based tuition model.”

Lisa Matl and her husband Peter have six of their seven children enrolled at IWA—number seven is still in diapers. 

“We have always been committed to Catholic education for our children,” Lisa Matl said. “Though we both went through public school, we knew we wanted something different for our kids. There is no question that the financial sacrifices of sending a child to Catholic school are tremendous.

“Why do we choose private Catholic education?  An obvious benefit is the rigorous academic environment.  It all boils down to what we want for our children; what our goals are for them. It is actually very simple,” she said.  “Our number one goal at the end of the day is not to get our children into Harvard.  It is to get them in to heaven.”

IWA’s primary goal, along with other area Catholic schools, remains to provide students with an environment that fosters faith formation as well as academic excellence in a safe and caring atmosphere.  “By preparing students for higher education as well as to be life-long learners and contributing members of the global community our families will continue to see the value in their investment,” Imbergamo said.

Catholic schools have lived through the ebb and flow of economic and cultural conditions by, not only sensible stewardship, but also through the generosity of the Catholic community. For IWA—as for most Catholic schools—tuition and fees do not cover the total per pupil operational expenses. The remaining tuition gap must be acquired through non-tuition revenue from philanthropic sources.