Chicago Archdiocese to Ease Tuition Burden for Victims of Job Loss

January 30, 2009

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The tough economy is affecting Catholic schools in the area. The Archdiocese of Chicago announced today it's creating a $1-million scholarship fund for Catholic school families who've recently lost work.

Benny Morten is the principal at St. Anne's School in the city's Pilsen neighborhood. He's had more families come to him this year with financial troubles than the previous three years combined.

MORTEN: Just yesterday I met with a family who said, you know what? Both of us aren't working. They're struggling with getting food on the table, paying their bills. It comes down to, 'Do I pay my gas or do I pay my tuition?'
The Archdiocese estimates some 300 students may already have left the system this school year due to financial hardship. The emergency scholarship funds should help 500 students in the city's poorest areas, and another 500 in other parts of Cook and Lake counties.

Within three hours of announcing the funds, officials said they'd already received 70 applications for help.