New Scholarship to Assist Students in Altoona-Johnstown and Other Dioceses


From Franciscan University of Steubenville

Officials at Franciscan University of Steubenville announced a new scholarship to provide significant financial aid for Catholic students in the Dioceses of Greensburg, Altoona-Johnstown, Erie, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who choose Franciscan University for their undergraduate education.

“We are so pleased that generous benefactors from Western Pennsylvania have made the St. Pope John Paul II Scholarship available to our neighbors in that region,” said Franciscan University President Father Dave Pivonka, TOR. “For families with many children and limited incomes, this additional aid makes Franciscan University’s excellent academics and passionately Catholic campus experience much more affordable.”

Joel Recznik, vice president of Enrollment at Franciscan University, said, “Some students in these dioceses have already received their financial aid award letters for the fall 2022 semester, and we’re hearing that this scholarship is a game-changer for those with financial need.”

Recznik quoted Aquinas Academy of Pittsburgh senior Patrick Veazey, who wrote, “I really appreciated receiving the Pope JPII Scholarship, since it lifted a significant financial burden off my family’s shoulders. Because of this aid, I will be able to more easily attend Franciscan and will, therefore, be able to thrive physically, mentally, and (most importantly) spiritually.”

“That’s exactly what our donors wanted this scholarship to do—pass on the gift of a Catholic college education because they love their faith and have known the tremendous blessings and benefits of a strong Catholic intellectual and moral foundation throughout their lives,” said Recznik.

Named for a saint dear to the benefactors’ hearts, the St. Pope John Paul II Scholarship is awarded to students who qualify by:

• Graduating with a 3.0 or better GPA from an accredited Catholic school or homeschool within the Dioceses of Greensburg, Altoona-Johnstown, Erie, and Pittsburgh, and

• Demonstrating financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Franciscan University Financial Aid Office.

Scholarship recipients must maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain eligible for the scholarship in subsequent years and will be required to participate in at least one Catholic faith-based activity.

Students in Western Pennsylvania dioceses are given priority. Catholic students in other dioceses who meet the criteria will also be considered for a St. Pope John Paul II Scholarship should there be any remaining funds available.

Father Pivonka said the St. Pope John Paul II Scholarship comes at a time when the importance of an authentically Catholic college education has never been greater.

“With over 75 percent of Catholic young adults losing their faith in college, it’s clear that K-12 Catholic education is not enough. Students need a joyful Catholic environment and professors committed to teaching truth to help them navigate their newfound independence in college and guide them as they mature in their faith,” Father Pivonka said.

Calling the St. Pope John Paul II Scholarship “truly a blessing,” Dr. Maureen G. Marsteller, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Greensburg, said, “We praise God and give thanks to our donors for providing the opportunity for our graduates to continue their Catholic education at a university where they will be supported spiritually and challenged academically as they discern God’s plan for their lives.”

For more information about the St. Pope John Paul II Scholarship at Franciscan University of Steubenville, call 800-783-6220 or email