Is Catholic High School Really Worth The Price?

Attending a private Catholic high school can be quite expensive, with costs averaging about $9,790 per year as of 2012. The question many parents ask is "Is it worth it?" Public schools can provide a good education and don't cost anything beyond what people are already paying as part of their taxes. This could be why only about 10 percent of parents send their children to private schools. Of these students, about 71 percent of private high school students attend Catholic high schools. Despite the costs, there are benefits to attending Catholic high school instead of a public school.

Standardized Test Scores

One of the ways that people often measure schools is by the standardized test scores of the students. While not all Catholic high schools use the same standardized tests as public schools, students in both public and private schools who wish to go to college typically take the SAT or ACT. Catholic high school students tend to score higher than the national average on the SAT in writing, critical reading and math. For example, those in the Archdiocese of Hartford scored an average of 43 points higher in writing, 29 points higher in critical reading and 21 points higher in math than the national average in 2014.

College Graduation Rates

High school is meant to prepare students for their future, and for many students, this means preparing them for college. It seems that paying for Catholic high school may make it more likely that a student will go to and graduate with a four-year degree within eight years of graduating from high school. One study found that those who went to a Catholic high school were about twice as likely to do so. Of all the high school sophomores in 2002, 61.9 percent had earned a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to just 31.1 percent of public school students and 57.1 percent of non-Catholic private school students within this time frame.

Future Salary Expectations

While there's no way to guarantee that people graduating from a Catholic high school are going to make more money than those who go to public school, some evidence shows that this might be the case in many instances. A study from Michigan State University published in 2011 found that Catholic high school graduates make about 10 percent more than those who graduated from public schools even after taking into account that they tend to have higher IQs and parents that are richer and more educated. If this is the case, it truly does seem that it may make sense to spend the money to send a child to Catholic school, since the increased pay will more than compensate for the cost of the education over the many years that child will spend working during her lifetime.

Take a look at Queen of Peace High School for more information on Catholic school education and its benefits.