Chicago Catholic School Locks Out 300 Kids

Neither of her daughters, McCarry, 11, or Marissa, 17, receives financial aid, so the combined tuition is $10,000, not including uniforms.

"I try to contribute to fundraising," she said. "It benefits all the kids."

"The Catholic education is important," she said. "I am blessed that my family has good health and knowing that they are in a religious environment and getting spiritual support."

"Who Will Save America's Urban Catholic Schools," a 2008 study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, found that 1,300 Catholic schools had closed since 1990. But while parochial schools are under financial stress in the nation's largest cities, they are thriving in the suburbs.

"By and large, people really have a high view of Catholic schools," said Scott Hamilton, a distinguished visiting fellow at the Washington, D.C., think tank.

Catholic education still retains a "very good brand name," he told ABCNews.com.

Many say they believe these schools are "disciplined, keep the kids serious, no matter what their background, and they like the spirituality," Hamilton said. "Especially at a time when we are all having to be reminded that man does not live by bread alone."

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