2023-2024 Tuition Rates
Hello St. Mary Catholic Schools Families!
As our world continues to evolve and adjust to the ever-changing demands of a global economy, new technological innovation, and the frenzied pace of a busy society, we at SMCS are extremely grateful for the community created by all of you: our families, educators, staff, and those giving their support through donations and volunteering.
We are in the strongest position we have ever been in our system’s history with a growing enrollment, and a positive balance sheet, including zero debt.
Thank you for your part in keeping SMCS special and creating a brighter future for our students, educators, and system. Thank you for choosing St. Mary Catholic Schools and for being ambassadors of the system and our Zephyrs Community. We have a small and uncomplicated business, spending almost all the dollars generated on employing talented staff to educate our students.
As we enter 2023, it is of the utmost importance we build upon the intellectual, spiritual, physical, and emotional formation of our students. This will continue to be delivered through support and connection among the home, schools, and parishes. These relationships make SMCS the best positioned local educational system to prepare well rounded and foundationally strong students.
It is once again that time of year where we provide next year’s tuition rates, so you can plan your household expenses. Please know it is our desire and expectation that all families can choose to send their children to SMCS, regardless of financial ability. No child or family should have to choose another school option because of financial reasons. The Board of Trustees has approved these tuition and fee rates for the 2023-2024 school year.
It is prudent we continue to control our expenses across the system, yet still be able to increase wages to retain and be fair to our highly dedicated teachers and staff. Similar to most aspects of our lives, education is not immune to inflation. We must also continue to review and adjust our five main sources of revenue to support this: Tuition - 33.1%, Wisconsin Parental Choice - 19.6%, Fundraising - 19.5%, Parish Investment - 14.8%, and the balance is in financial aid. This breakdown is illustrated in the pie chart below.
This chart underscores the generosity of our parishes and our community. Our shared commitment to support the work of SMCS has had a positive impact on tuition rates. Tuition, whether from individual families or through WPCP, accounts for only about half of the total costs to educate a student. Please note all capital donations offered directly to facility and campus improvement are not accounted for in educating our students, yet the system benefits without incurring debt.
This year we are working hard to transparently communicate the true costs to educate a Zephyr. You may be surprised there isn’t a significant difference between the cost to educate a grade school, middle school, or high school student. Keeping it simple, it costs roughly $10,000 per student with 1000 students enrolled for a total annual expense of $10,000,000. We believe the money spent educating your children is the best use of discretionary funds.
For the first time, we are extending a "Cost to Educate" invitation for families. There is no expectation, and this is not tuition. Instead, we are inviting those who can to pay closer to the true cost to educate a child. This allows more donated dollars to positively impact and strengthen the educational position and underpinnings of our system.
The graphic below helps illustrate our “Cost to Educate” invitation. If a family selects this option for their high school child, they will pay the full $10,000 we spend per student at SMCS. If a family selects this option for a middle school child, a family will pay 75% of the cost or $7,500. Finally, if a family has an elementary aged child, the “Cost to Educate” option will be 50% of full cost or $5,000. Money paid through the "Cost to Educate" invitation is considered a charitable gift for tax purposes.
One of the greatest gifts we can give a child is a strong education based on faith, hope and love. One of SMCS’s strengths is financial diversity among our families. Families who accept the “Cost to Educate” invitation will never be publicly disclosed. We maintain confidentiality for all our families’ financial situations. For those able to choose this option, we greatly appreciate the added support you are providing the system. Click here to accept our "Cost to Educate" invitation.
Thank you in advance for your consideration and thank you all for choosing to educate your child at SMCS, and be an important part of our SMCS community.
President, St. Mary Catholic Schools
Current SMCS families do not need to do anything register for the 2023-2024 school year. Registration fees for the upcoming school year will be added to existing tuition accounts on March 1. If your family does not intend to return to St. Mary Catholic Schools for the 2023-2024 school year, please contact Chris Decker.
Click here for the approved 2023-2024 school calendar.
SMCS participates in the state of Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP). The state application period runs from February 1 to April 20. Please review eligibility requirements at: dpi.wi.gov/choice or contact Shelley Wautlet in the Business Office for more information. Being awarded the WPCP grant can mean free tuition for your child grades 4K-12 at SMCS!
Financial Aid and Tuition Assistance
51% of our current, non-WPCP students receive some level of tuition assistance, which totaled $679,683 for the 2022-2023 school year. These numbers highlight how SMCS and its supporting parishes and donors are committed to providing a quality, faith-filled education to all students regardless of their financial situation. The SMCS Tuition Assistance Applications are available for families who do not meet WPCP eligibility. To apply, a family must complete the application and return it to Shelley Wautlet with a copy of their most recent W-2s and/or 1040 tax forms. Applications received by March 15 will be given priority consideration.
Save the Date: Zephyrfest 2023
You are invited to join us as we celebrate and support the St. Mary Catholic Schools community and what makes it great. Zephyrfest is our premier fundraiser for SMCS and will take place this year on Saturday, April 29 at the Fox Cities Exhibition Center in Appleton. Ticket information is coming next month.