COVID-19 Pandemic Causes Spike in Tuition Assistance Need

March 05, 2021

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A single mother of two struggling to afford tuition.

Parents who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 restrictions, but still wish to send their children to Catholic school.

A family of immigrants seeking to give their son the best possible start in life.

These are the unseen victims of the pandemic. Ordinary families who have been hit harder than most by the shutdowns, layoffs, and economic downturn, but who hold fast to the belief that their children will find a better future through the excellent, faith-filled education provided by Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Seattle.

Each year, Fulcrum receives thousands of applications from families like the ones above for the Tuition Assistance Grant Program (TAP), seeking need-based financial aid to send their children to Catholic school. Last year, Fulcrum provided over $2.45 million in grants across all tuition assistance programs thanks to the generosity of our donors.

But this year, archdiocesan schools have seen more need than ever.

“Like many schools, Bishop Blanchet has seen the adverse effect that COVID-19 has had on the economy in general, and definitely the financial stability of many of our families,” said Colleen Reinhardt, the tuition assistance associate at Bishop Blanchet High School. “There is an increase in the need for more financial aid for more families across almost all employment groups. Layoffs, reduced hours, furloughed workers, and decreased commercial business have definitely caused financial hardships for many families trying to support themselves. Unfortunately, even when the economy stabilizes, many of these jobs will not return.”

“In these situations, tuition at their parish schools, as well as Bishop Blanchet, remains an additional economic stress,” Colleen continued. “We expect the need for more tuition assistance to continue for the foreseeable future. Blanchet is committed to offering as much tuition assistance as our budget allows.”

Fulcrum has seen firsthand the increased need among Catholic school students and families. Even with additional tuition assistance funding made available to schools through the Fulcrum COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, Fulcrum’s TAP program will experience significant unmet need.

Despite these difficult times, Fulcrum donors have made an incredible difference for archdiocesan schools and families across Western Washington and can continue to make an impact by supporting Fulcrum’s mission.

“The generosity of the Fulcrum Foundation is a huge support to the Bishop Blanchet community as we strive to continue to meet the tuition assistance needs of our families,” Colleen said. “Thank you and bless you for your support.”