The Joy of Education

An Initial Study of Catholic Liberal Arts Schools
February 9, 2023

The Joy of Education is a first-of-its-kind research study aimed at understanding and measuring the impact of Catholic schools that are recovering the Church’s tradition in the seven liberal arts. Findings in this study reveal some extraordinary results for Catholic schools that choose to adopt a Catholic liberal arts approach.


After adopting a Catholic liberal arts education, 82% of schools report better faculty morale and engagement. Children sense the difference as well, with 85% of schools reporting that student engagement is better post-adoption. As the life of the school changes, so does the family, as nearly two-thirds of schools say that family engagement in the life of faith improved after the school adopted a Catholic liberal arts approach.


Due to these strong impacts on Catholic identity and school culture, it’s unsurprising that Catholic liberal arts schools are also experiencing increased enrollment. In stark contrast to the precipitous decline in Catholic school enrollment over the past half century, 78% of Catholic liberal arts schools have experienced increased enrollment in recent years. Many of these increases in enrollment are quite significant, and 56% of these schools also report waitlists.


Academically, 81% of Catholic liberal arts schools report that test scores have either increased or remained the same in recent years.

The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education is honored to support the renewal of Catholic education occurring through these joyful school communities which are recapturing the fullness of the Church’s tradition on human formation.