SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Diocese of Springfield announced Thursday a new scholarship program for families entering Catholic schools for the first time.

Bishop Byrne joined second graders from the Dolorosa School for the announcement. The “Discover the Difference” scholarship looks to combat decreasing catholic school attendance, funded by an anonymous donor to the Diocese.

The program is split into two parts, a $1,000 scholarship for elementary students and a $2,000 scholarship for secondary school students.

“Most of the money that comes in through the ED assessment or the annual Catholic appeal, most of the money does not go to operations, most of the money goes right out to financial aid and what we really want to do is leverage as much money as we’re getting in for the Catholic schools and turn that right back out to help families,” said Dan Baillargeon, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Springfield Diocese.

To qualify for the scholarship the student must be new to catholic schools, and their family must be enrolled in a Catholic church.