Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Thomas Ward

Committee Member

James Stronge

Committee Member

Steve Constantino


This explanatory sequential mixed methods study focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Catholic school survival, the efficacy of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and the views and actions of Catholic school leaders during this period. A significant body of literature has documented Catholic schools’ success in educating children, particularly minority students in inner cities. Catholic schools, however, have faced declining enrollment and substantial school closures since 1965. Few studies have explored in granular detail the factors that contribute to school closure. The quantitative phase of this mixed methods study examined variables related to school closure in prior studies within a large sample (N=1,200) of schools in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast during the COVID-19 pandemic from 2019-2021. In addition, I evaluated the efficacy of a new federal program: the PPP forgivable loans that Catholic school leaders could access to assist with payroll. PPP was a significant variable related to Catholic school survival, though not highly predictive. In addition, the enrollment of Catholic schools, school type (elementary/high school), and the Hispanic population of the school’s census tract proved to be statistically significant variables related to school closure. Finally, I examined the views of Catholic school leaders on enrollment, PPP, and pandemic-related issues as they guided their schools through the pandemic.



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