After 30 plus years of working with Catholic schools throughout the United States I have an understanding and appreciation of the long history of support by the Catholic faithful for the Catholic education for young people.
On average, American Catholics have had about eight years of education in Catholic schools. Half have attended a Catholic elementary school, about three in 10 have attended a Catholic high school, and just over one in 10 have attended a Catholic college or university. The evidence suggests that the total number of years of education in Catholic schools is positively correlated with achieving a higher level of education and thus also achieving a higher household income.
In general, the strongest effects of Catholic education among those who attended Catholic schools, particularly as they affect measures of attachment to the church. According to the research available, those who attended a Catholic school are more likely than those who did not to attend mass and engage in parish life.
Catholic schooling pays off in a number of ways for the Church and our country in that attending a Catholic school leads to a higher level educational attainment and subsequently a higher household income. In addition, Catholics who attended a Catholic high school appear to have a stronger attachment to the church on some measures. They are somewhat more satisfied with the church as it exists today and more accepting of some of the measures many dioceses are adopting to address the shortage of priests.