Discover the Difference: New Expanded Tuition Assistance Opportunities

by Diocese of Des Moines | January 5, 2023

Image of a teacher helping a student

From preschool through high school, Diocese of Des Moines students thrive in caring and creative environments with smaller class sizes that teach BIG subjects. Our teachers challenge students to aim higher in every aspect – academically, spiritually and personally – so they can achieve their full potential. Ensuring our schools are accessible to all families who desire a Catholic education is central to our mission. Every year, nearly 40 percent of our students receive some form of tuition assistance to help make Catholic education affordable. 

No family is turned away for the inability to pay full tuition. During the 2021-2022 school year, more than $3 million in tuition assistance was provided. There are many forms of tuition assistance available including a newly expanded tuition assistance now available through the Tuition Assistance Endowment established with the Ignite Campaign. With these added tuition assistance resources, an additional 15% of currently enrolled families may qualify for tuition assistance. 

"It’s an exciting time for Catholic education in the state of Iowa and for the Diocese Of Des Moines," said Donna Bishop, Superintendent of Schools. "More tuition assistance opportunities mean more families can benefit from all our schools have to offer."


All families who meet the income qualification guidelines are encouraged to apply for tuition assistance. Awards are based on demonstrated financial need as determined by the tuition assistance application process. There may be other eligibility requirements for specific tuition assistance programs.


Complete one online application per household through FAIR to apply for all tuition assistance programs. The application process opens February 1. Families are encouraged to apply early given additional funds available. All applications must be received by April 17.

Parent Testimonial:

"Holy Trinity Catholic School is affordable, accessible and the best foundation for your child’s education.”  


  • Catholic Tuition Organization: CTO is a charitable organization that receives voluntary cash contributions from Iowa taxpayers. The organization then allocates those funds in the form of tuition assistance to eligible families who attend a Catholic school in the Diocese of Des Moines. More than 35% of students in the Diocese receive CTO funds.
  • Parish/School Support: Some schools in the Diocese of Des Moines offer tuition assistance to students through a parish or school-specific fund. To learn more, contact your local school.
  • Tuition Assistance Endowment: An endowment for tuition assistance established this year through the Ignite Campaign and the Bishop’s Celebration for Catholic Education to complement CTO assistance.
  • Welcome Tuition Grant: Families with children enrolled in non-Catholic schools may be eligible for a WTG if they enroll in a participating Catholic school. WTGs are available for each child (1st - 7th grades) for the first two years of enrollment. Additional restrictions may apply. Contact your local school for more information and to claim your Welcome Tuition Grant.


In addition to the tuition assistance options listed above, families in Iowa can save for Catholic education using a 529 Savings Plan. With a 529 plan, you can save on taxes while you save for your child's education. A 529 plan is a type of investment account used to save for qualified education expenses, including K-12 Catholic school tuition. It only takes a few minutes to establish a 529 account, and beneficiaries can use up to $10,000 per beneficiary each year for K-12 tuition. For more information about the Iowa 529 Plan, visit or contact Sue McEntee.

Parent Testimonial:

"You will NEVER make a better financial investment than that of a solid, Catholic education for your children. Because what they should learn in school is much more than just academics. Catholic school is also about our children learning to be servant leaders who look at the world around them with kind eyes and an open heart. The rewards will benefit them and our communities long after graduation." 

The Diocese of Des Moines Catholic Schools includes 16 schools that serve more than 6,300 students across central and southwest Iowa. Catholic schools in the Des Moines Diocese build Christ-centered, collaborative, inclusive partnerships with parents, students, and parishes to provide students with innovative academic excellence and inspirational faith formation. To learn more about Catholic schools in the Diocese of Des Moines, visit our website or email us.



Diocese of Des Moines

The Diocese of Des Moines, created in 1911, serves people over a 12,446 square mile area in the southwestern quadrant of Iowa, including 23 counties.