Monaghan’s Ave Maria Repays U.S. College Aid

Officials at an ultraconservative Roman Catholic school have returned tens of thousands in federal education aid money, following a government finding of misuse.

According to the Department of Education, Ave Maria College in Ypsilanti, Mich., filed inadequate documentation for students seeking financial aid and improperly distributed financial aid to students at the college’s sister university in Naples, Fla. Both institutions are supported by the Ave Maria Foundation, which also funds numerous Religious Right groups, such as the Thomas More Law Center.

Domino’s Pizza founder, Tom Monaghan, created Ave Maria College in Michigan. According to The Wanderer, a Catholic weekly, the college in Michigan had encountered trouble expanding because of zoning laws, so Monaghan opened Ave Maria University in Naples.

A financial official with Ave Maria College told the Naples Daily News that it had repaid $259,620 to the federal government. According to the official, about $151,000 of the total cost dealt with improper documentation and an estimated $108,000 was financial aid distributed improperly to students attending the Naples campus.