Stuckman: Tuition freeze at Springfield school didn’t affect tuition at QND — but it stayed the same, too

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QUINCY — The news out of Springfield certainly made Kurt Stuckman take notice.

Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, a Catholic preparatory school on Springfield’s near west side, announced last month its plan to freeze tuition through at least 2025. Tuition for SHG students for the coming school year is $9,650 per year. It was raised from $9,300 earlier this spring. Freshmen who enroll this year won’t see their tuition increased again before they graduate.

Tuition at Quincy Notre Dame High School for the 2021-22 school year is $5,875 — the same as it was for the 2020-21 school year. The only other times since the 1999-2000 school year that tuition has not increased were in 2010-11 and 2011-12 when it was $4,700.

Stuckman, executive director of the QND Foundation office, said tuition increases are considered every year. Tuition has risen more than 3 percent just once since the 2008-09 school year.

“We had a good year operationally,” he said. “So if we’ve had a good year, and we don’t need it, well, guess what? We’re not going to just automatically pass on a tuition expense to our families. You have to take a look at your cost of doing business. You take a look at our historical perspective of what we’ve charged people. What’s our anticipated enrollment next year? How did our annual fund drive do?

“The school board’s focus each and every year is to only raise tuition if we have to, and if we have to, it’s as minimal as possible. We want to keep tuition as affordable as we can for our families.”

Stuckman says 35 percent of QND’s students receive financial aid, and 80 new scholarships have been created in the past 12 years. The cost to endow a scholarship has ranged from as little as $10,000 to $1 million.

“We’ve seen just an absolute explosion in the amount of new scholarships,” he said. “Those monies are invested every year, and then we spin off a dividend of that. That’s what we use to subsidize the school. We essentially get a check, and we turn it over to utilize for financial aid.”

Figures provided by Quincy Notre Dame show the cost of tuition rose 45.2 percent — from $2,575 to $4,700 — during an 11-year period from the 1999-2000 school year to the 2009-10 school year. Tuition rose only 20 percent — from $4,700 to $5,875 — during a 12-year period from the 2010-11 school year to the 2021-22 school year.

SHG president Sister Katherine O’Connor told the Springfield State Journal-Register the school hired an independent school consultant group from Connecticut to survey the parents of SHG students. The survey showed that costs could be a hindrance in sending their children to SHG.

O’Connor told the State Journal-Register that SHG is near 500 students for the fall. The school had a large graduating class in May — 163 students — and only about 110 to 125 students were expected to enroll as freshmen.

Even though Springfield is less than two hours away, Stuckman believes the news from SHG didn’t affect tuition at QND.

“Kudos to Sacred Heart for doing what they did as far as the survey, gathering their data and making the best educated decision that they have to make on their end,” he said. “Even though (both QND and SHG are) under the umbrella of the (Springfield) diocese, we do function autonomously as far as what we think is affordable in our market. (The Catholic schools in the diocese) are spread out far enough geographically that we’re not really in competition with one another.”

Enrollment at Quincy Notre Dame was projected to be 362 when school began last week. The incoming freshman class was projected to be 119 students, one of the largest classes in years. 

“This year looks very promising,” Stuckman said. “I’ve also learned over the course of the last 12 years of being here to not get too excited. There’s an ebb and flow about it.”

Stuckman says if he were to ever commission a survey of QND parents, he would ask about much more than tuition.

“The great part about surveys are while you may ask one question, (respondents) may address some other things you haven’t thought about as well,” he said. “We should be doing that. We probably will consider doing that with the success that it sounds like Sacred Heart has had in some of the feedback it got. 

“I don’t think it’s just about tuition. It’s about curriculum. It’s about the experience. Let’s evaluate many things and see how we can continue to keep growing and being better. I’m confident where we’re at. I think we are in good shape. I think people believe in us, and they believe in the quality of our product. We all can be better in so many different ways, but Quincy Notre Dame puts out a pretty darn good product at the very end.”

Quincy Notre Dame tuition increases since 1999

School YearTuition$ increase from previous year% increase from previous year
1999-2000$2,575$1506.18%
2000-2001$2,725$1505.83%
2001-2002$2,875$1505.50%
2002-2003$3,175$30010.43%
2003-2004$3,500$32510.24%
2004-2005$3,750$2507.14%
2005-2006$3,900$1504.0%
2006-2007$4,095$1955.0%
2007-2008$4,395$3007.33%
2008-2009$4,595$2004.55%
2009-2010$4,700$1052.29%
2010-2011$4,70000%
2011-2012$4,70000%
2012-2013$4,800$1002.13%
2013-2014$4,900$1002.08%
2014-2015$5,000$1002.04%
2015-2016$5,200$2004.0%
2016-2017$5,375$1753.37%
2017-2018$5,475$1001.86%
2018-2019$5,575$1001.83%
2019-2020$5,725$1502.69%
2020-2021$5,875$1502.62%
2021-2022$5,87500%

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