Catholic students join others from private schools to thank legislators for scholarship funding
Friday, Feb. 02, 2024
Courtesy photo/Mickelle Marston
Students from Utah Catholic Schools are shown at the Jan. 24 rally Capitol, where they thanked legislators for passing the Utah Fits All scholarship legislation.
SALT LAKE CITY — Almost 300 Utah Catholic Schools students joined their peers from other private schools at a rally at the State Capitol Jan. 24. Sponsored by Utah Education Fits All, the rally was a way for the private school community to thank legislators who passed a bill last January to fund a scholarship program for private school students.
At the rally, the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Candice Pierucci, R-Herriman, and Sen. Kirk Cullimore, R-Draper, spoke to the students and educators who filled the Capitol’s rotunda.
“It was a thank you for passing school choice, and there was excitement generated and great enthusiasm,” Utah Catholic Schools Superintendent Mark Longe said.
The legislature has allotted $40 million annually to fund this program. This amount will provide up to $8,000 each to about 5,000 scholarship applicants to help cover their private school education. If enrollment exceeds funding, those accounts will be awarded in a tiered structure.
“There’s a possibility that the demand for the scholarship may exceed the amount of money the state has set aside so we are encouraging people, if they are interested, to apply as soon as the portal opens,” Longe said.
The scholarship program is open to all students in grades K-12 who are Utah residents and are not enrolled in or planning to attend a public school full-time for the 2024-2025 school year. If the number of applicants exceeds the funding, priority will be given to students from families with an income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
Longe said response among Catholic families has been very positive to the new program, which on Feb. 28 will open a portal at https://ufascholarship.com/ for applications.
“For Catholic families not already in our Catholic schools, who never thought that they could perhaps choose a Catholic education, this will give them an opportunity for their children to have the blessing of a Catholic school education,” Longe said. “And for those families with students already in Catholic schools who sacrifice to put their kids into Catholic education, this will also help them.”
Fifty-four percent of Utah Catholic Schools students currently receive scholarship assistance, Longe said.
“We are encouraging all of our existing parents to sign up for this scholarship,” he said, adding that Utah Catholic Schools will be hosting signup nights to help parents navigate the application process.
The scholarship application portal will close on April 15. Approval notifications will go out no later than April 18. ACE Scholarships has been selected by the Department of Education to run and manage the program.