$1M financial aid program to honor outgoing headmaster

A generous alum helps expand need-based financial aid at Saint John's.

Saint John’s High School is thrilled to announce a new initiative that will expand its existing financial aid opportunities with the hopes of better serving families in Central Massachusetts. The Welch Scholars Program was recently instituted by Mr. Paul Salem, a 1981 graduate, through a gift of $1 million in honor of exiting Headmaster Michael Welch’s fifteen years of service to the school.

Previously, Mr. Salem established the Salem Scholars Program at Saint John’s, a financial aid program focused on providing tuition assistance to minority students and families of substantial need.

Investing in the future 

In an effort to keep tuition within reach of the middle class, Saint John’s High School remains focused on offering an exceptional education at an affordable price below the actual cost of education. Tuition and fees for the 2016-2017 school year is $13,135, which for many working and middle class families in the communities surrounding Saint John’s may be unattainable. Saint John’s recognizes the financial strain on today’s families earning less than $125,000 annually and remains dedicated to providing need-based tuition assistance through a robust and growing financial aid program. In an effort to address these economic challenges facing these families of Central Massachusetts, Saint John’s has given over $800,000 annually in financial aid to students since 2012 with $900,000 awarded in aid in 2015 and over $1 million budgeted in 2016. Need-based aid is provided through individual donations, annual fund scholarships and the school’s endowment, currently $17 million. Approximately 37% of the student body requires financial aid, and an average package is $3,000.

“When I met Michael Welch 15 years ago, I knew his passion and leadership would change St. John's for the better," said Mr. Salem. "When I invest in companies, I bet on leaders and Michael was an easy person to invest in, he is a true leader.”

Welch Scholars Program

The Welch Scholars Program was established by Paul Salem ’81 in 2016 to provide need-based financial assistance to one or more incoming Saint John’s students from the middle class or families of lesser means. Tuition assistance will be allocated annually to the recipient(s) for four years, pending financial need and academic eligibility throughout his enrollment. The purpose of the Welch Scholars Program is to increase the opportunity for students from middle class backgrounds to receive a Saint John’s education through financial support. Throughout its history, Saint John’s has sought to provide a high quality, Catholic, college-preparatory education at a reasonable cost for all members of our local communities who might not otherwise have access to college preparation at Saint John’s High School.

Michael Welch began serving as Headmaster of Saint John’s High School in 2001, and will wrap up his term at the end of this month. During Mr. Welch’s tenure, he upheld the mission of Saint John’s while leading the transformation of the school’s curriculum, campus, and finances. He enabled Saint John’s to maintain a tuition rate within reach of the middle class, expanded the need-based financial aid program, and diversified and enhanced programming like Campus Ministry and the Arts. Under his leadership the school has also updated the physical plant to include the Salem Student Commons, a fully renovated Conal Hall, a new baseball field and tennis courts, and Founders Hall, a state-of-the-art academics and fine arts facility.

Support Financial Aid

Want to find out more about how YOU can support financial aid, making the Saint John's experience a reality for more students? Check out the ways you can invest in today's students and tomorrow's leaders.

Learn more about this exciting expansion of financial aid in the recently published Telegram & Gazette article.

$1M financial aid program to honor outgoing St. John's headmaster