The N.C. High School Athletic Association has asked its three non-boarding parochial schools -- Charlotte Catholic, Cardinal Gibbons and Bishop McGuinness -- for more information on how those schools provide tuition assistance to students.
NCHSAA bylaws say no student should receive scholarships or financial aid of any kind.
The issue arose after six Rowan County schools started a motion to have the three private schools removed from the 390-member NCHSAA, saying the private schools had an inherent advantage because they did not have geographic boundaries.
Here is the official response, written by George Repass, principal at Bishop McGuinness. At the end is an addendum from Charlotte Catholic:
· I can only speak specifically about how things are done at BMHS as a school within the diocese of Charlotte; therefore, there may or may not be parallels between the ways Bishop McGuinness or Charlotte Catholic do things as opposed to the way Cardinal Gibbons (diocese of Raleigh) might; each diocese has different forms of organization and governance for its schools.
· Bishop McGuinness does not give scholarships of any kind – academic, athletic, performing arts, or other. Tuition assistance is not the same thing as scholarship.
· Tuition assistance takes many forms, for instance
a) all Catholic students do, in a sense, receive tuition assistance, because theirs is a discounted tuition rate; parishes pay subsidies to the high schools to cover the difference between the Catholic tuition rate and the rates set for all others;
b) all families with more than one student enrolled receive reduced rates for the second, third, fourth child, etc.;
c) all faculty children receive a discounted rate; etc.
· Parishes do not set tuition or fees rates. The high school sets its tuition rates subject to the approval of the diocesan administration. Likewise, the parish subsidies to the schools are determined by the diocese, not by the parishes themselves.
· All families in the Triad Catholic Schools system (k-12) are eligible for tuition assistance (reduced rates), based on demonstrated and proven need. The amounts of such assistance for families are determined by an outside organization which conducts the family need assessment. (That headquarters of that organization is not even located within this region of the US.) That need assessment does not take into account any factors other than family income and expense obligations, and no information about other factors (e.g., academic performance or athletic involvement) is included in the records associated with that assessment or with the need assessment itself. Any application for tuition assistance goes to that company. This is just as true for Bishop McGuinness families as for families at an individual elementary school such as Our Lady of Grace. That’s a diocese-specified approach for all schools in the diocese of Charlotte.
· No tuition assistance applications are entertained until after a student has gone through the standard admissions process.
· No tuition assistance comes from school funds. But, as described above, a family’s actual assistance is a reduction in the total they pay the school for tuition and fees. Any reduced income for the school caused by the tuition assistance discount is offset from monies raised for all schools in the Triad Catholic Schools system by a separate foundation, the Triad Catholic Schools Foundation and is allocated as described above (that is, on the basis of need determined by the outside company I referenced). When any assistance is granted, no one involved in the decision-making knows what any student’s particular background, talents, or ambitions are. The process keeps records only of applications for assistance, and those applications have no factors other than family income and expenses on them. That’s one reason I’ve had to go back to the roster of aid recipients and look into whether each student has had any athletic affiliation/participation. I would not know that as a result of consulting records of any kind other than to compare the names on the aid roster with names on team rosters.
· Whatever aid is awarded a family is only for a portion of the family’s total obligation; no one at BMHS ever receives 100% tuition assistance.
· Our practices have been at all times consistent with the understanding established in dialogue between NCHSAA (Charlie Adams and Dick Knox) and BMHS authorizes at time the school entered NCHSAA - which specified clearly that no athletic scholarships are permitted and that no assistance come directly from the schools.
All of the above being said, following are my answers to your specific questions.
1. See my bullet points above about how rates are set and tuition assistance awarded, i.e., reduction in a family’s obligation based on the need assessment.
2. See my final summary statement in the bullet points above.
3-4. At any given time, the percentage of students in general or student athletes receiving tuition assistance (reduction in tuition/fees obligation owed by the family) can fall between 15 and 20 per cent of the student body; percentage of students who are athletes receiving aid (which would be a part of that general figure) would be anywhere from 5 to 8% of the student body. In 2011-2012
a) 88 of 542 students received tuition assistance (16% of student body);
b) of these 88, 31 played one or more sport – that is, 6% of the student body.
5. These students have participated in a wide range of sports – everything from cross-country to football. I don’t have information filed by this criterion.
NOTE ON CHARLOTTE CATHOLIC:
The Triad Foundation does not provide funds to Charlotte Catholic High School; our tuition assistance funds come from our Catholic parishes in Mecklenburg County.
At CCHS 9 non-Catholic students get tuition assistance, 155 Catholic students get assistance. This is approximately11% of the student population.
Without some investigation we would not know how many, if any, of these students are athletes.