First Niagara Bank has donated $15,000 through its First Niagara Foundation to the Bishop’s Scholarship Fund, a program of the newly launched Foundations in Education to support Catholic education in Fairfield County.
“Support from local companies like First Niagara is the reason so many families in Fairfield County are able to choose Catholic schools for their children,” said the Most Rev. Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport. “First Niagara’s commitment is essential to this year’s scholarship fund, and we are extremely grateful for their generous contribution.”
Last year the Bishop’s Scholarship Fund distributed $2.2 million to more than 1,800 students in need of financial assistance to attend a Catholic school.
Steven Cheeseman, superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Bridgeport, said that qualified students typically receive half or full tuition assistance through the program. The average cost of tuition within the Diocese is $6,400 for elementary students and $12,100 for high school students. More than 60 percent of students in diocesan schools receive financial assistance; 15 percent of students are non-Catholic.
Foundations in Education was established in 2016 by Caggiano as part of a new model of funding for Catholic education in the diocese. In addition to the Bishop’s Scholarship Fund, the group houses funds to support professional development of teachers and staff, and to promote innovation in the curriculum. It also includes an endowment to support inner-city schools.