Catholic high school in Tontitown accepts $3 million gift

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 2,415 views 

Ozark Catholic Academy in Tontitown will use a $3 million gift to reduce by half the tuition for students who graduate from a Catholic elementary school as part of the school’s new Continuing Catholic Education program.

An anonymous family provided the gift, and the new program will help to reduce tuition over the next 15 years, starting with the 2020-21 school year, said John Rocha, head of school at Ozark Catholic Academy.

To qualify, students currently in the fourth to seventh grades must be enrolled in a Catholic school by the start of the upcoming school year in August and remain in Catholic school until graduating the eighth grade. Existing students of Ozark Catholic Academy who graduated eighth grade from a Catholic school will be eligible, as will existing fifth- through eighth-grade students who attend Catholic school. They must remain in Catholic school and graduate eighth grade from such a school to be eligible for the reduction.

Rocha expects the immediate impact of the gift to be felt over this year and next year as less money will be required from the school’s financial aid budget because the gift will help to cover this amount. He also explained the school’s tuition would be similar to grade school tuition for students who qualify for the program. Tuition is $9,750, and the tuition would be $4,875 for students who qualify for the program. This fall, a $1,200 education fee will be implemented to offset the cost of workbooks, technology and vehicle maintenance.

Rocha said he hopes the new program will lead families with students in public or charter schools to consider Ozark Catholic Academy.

“This kind of big announcement and this kind of financial backing over a long period of time would hopefully also turn their heads to seriously consider us for this year and next year … to help our growth,” Rocha said.

Ozark Catholic Academy opened Aug. 16, 2018, as the first Catholic high school in Northwest Arkansas. It has 46 students and 12 faculty and staff. The school plans to start offering baseball and cheerleading programs in the upcoming school year.