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Saturday, November 08, 2008

A Tuition Crisis Shiur

A fellow blogger wrote to me that someone is arranging a shiur which will deal with the halachic and hashkafic issues raised by the "tuition crisis." He is looking to gather input and questions, but does not want to start WWIII either.

I plan to update this post when time allows with my own questions and thoughts. In the meantime, just because I have nothing to write as I close up shop for the night, doesn't mean you can't get a head start. So, please post your input and questions and they will be passed on to the organizer and prominent speaker.

Make your blog time worthwhile and share you questions and input. Thanks!

17 comments:

rachel in israel said...

There are many more common ones that have been raised before, such as savings and scholarships, supporting kollel siblings at the expense of younger siblings, etc. I want to try to come up with different ones. Here are some that come to my mind:

I'm starting from the premise of someone who wants to avoid taking tzedaka at almost any cost (sending to PS would probably be a limit)
This premise means that a true G-d fearing Jew will do everything possible to save money towards tuition. Reduce simchas to a bare minimum, get a job, etc.

1. Can you use your maaser money towards tuition?
2. If a certain town with 2 frum schools, one cheaper and not a perfect fit and one expensive and a better fit, can you take tzedakah and go to the more expensive?
3. Can I pay for college for older sibling (community college or state schools of course) and get tzedakah for tuition?
4. what are the implications of having a special need child at home? who has priority with the money?
5. (I know I'm going to hate myself for asking this since I don't want to hear the answer) Who has priorities, boys or girls?

Anonymous said...

I would ask the same questions as Rachel. Also, some families are more prone to limiting family size today due to economic stress. Is this halachically allowable? Also, should seminary be either eliminated or take the place of a year of high school. Should the time spent in Israel for sem be reduced or curtailed all together. Should seminaries be local and attached to college studies? Many women have pre-schools that are operating out of homes and may cost less than the same arrangement in school buildings. Should this become the norm? Should yeshivas have some kind of vocational training, even for "learning boys" so that even our best boys can at least be handy in the house instead of throwing lots of money away at "handy men"? Of course these are all pipe dreams since the average yid is not planning on changing anything that they are doing. They just say "Hashem runs the world and if you don't like what you read on the internet, get rid of it."

qsman said...

I owe a followup post, I'm sorry I have not gotten around to that yet.

qsman

anon426 said...

I'd be interested to know how paying full tuition fits in with one's obligation to pay other debts. Should one not pay other debts in order to not have to accept tzedakah for tuition?

On a related note: if one could rid oneself of debts via bankruptcy and then pay full tuition once the other debt obligations are erased, should one do the bankruptcy? In general I'm curious as to how halachah views bankruptcy -- is it considered assur for the most part except in extreme situations? Or is it muttar if it would allow one to fulfill other obligations (maaser, tuition, meat on Yom Tov :-) ).

If one has an allocation of $4k/year tzedakah and one is receiving tuition break, should all $4k of this tzedakah go to the school up to funding the full tuition amount? If not, then how much should go to the school and how much to other local causes?

Anonymous said...

Can yeshivas require parents to pay more then the actual cost of tuition to subsidize other students tuition?

If a yeshiva receives tezedaka funds from the community should it be required to open its books?

Avi said...

"Of course these are all pipe dreams since the average yid is not planning on changing anything that they are doing. They just say "Hashem runs the world and if you don't like what you read on the internet, get rid of it."

This comment stuck out for me and I have to agree. Do we (klal yisrael) really want to find solutions to our problems?

Last night I ran a career workshop in my local neighborhood. I advertised by sending out emails that reached over 200 people and posted on a local yahoo group with over 11000 members. 10 people showed up. 10 (ten)!! Are there really only 10 people out of work or looking for jobs? There are no parents, siblings, friends who are looking for insight into ways they can help others out.

Now, maybe it was me and people weren't interested in hearing me, personally, speak. My credentials are that I currently work in HR and have trained hundreds of managers on hiring and interviewing potential candidates.
But honestly, people could have networked, gained some contacts maybe learned something new, and only 10 people had the time (1.5 hours)? I don't get it.

SephardiLady said...

Many women have pre-schools that are operating out of homes and may cost less than the same arrangement in school buildings. Should this become the norm?

A related question might be where does pre-school for ages 2, 3, and/or 4 fit into the tuition picture at all (assuming care is available for children at home by a parent)?

qsman-Looking forward to guest post #2.

On a related note: if one could rid oneself of debts via bankruptcy and then pay full tuition once the other debt obligations are erased, should one do the bankruptcy?

I believe the new bankruptcy laws do NOT allow more than a token amount of money to be used for tuition going into and following the bankruptcy. I'd like to know how bankruptcy has played out in the frum community up to this point.

Anon426 is asking some interesting questions. Personally I find bucking one's obligations distastful no matter what the purpose.

This comment stuck out for me and I have to agree. Do we (klal yisrael) really want to find solutions to our problems?

Great question Avi. I often ask the same question. Unless people really don't recognize what is going on vis a vis tuition, why aren't we breaking down doors to solve the problem? Are we completely resigned?

SephardiLady said...

Keep the questions coming.

Anonymous said...

Many women have pre-schools that are operating out of homes and may cost less than the same arrangement in school buildings.
===============
Add the question of should the community support programs that run afoul of zoning and insurance requirements?
KT
Joel Rich

SephardiLady said...

What is the speaker's opinion on minimum tuitions? What about filling a class with tuition payers first and rounding out with those on scholarship? When, if ever, is it appropriate to expell a parent whose parents fall (extremely) behind on tuition?

ProfK said...

What halachic problem is there, if any, with a school's setting aside a trailer or out building so that the school can take advantage of city provided services rather than paying for those services separately? In NYC, for example, specialists, speech therapists for instance, cannot come into the buildings where the religious instruction takes place but there is no problem if a separate space is provided.

anon426 said...

Personally I find bucking one's obligations distastful no matter what the purpose.

Agreed. But what do you do when there are simply too many obligations? How to prioritize tuition, one's own tzedakah obligation, credit cards, medical, etc?

SephardiLady said...

At least as far as young people are concerned who haven't get built up obligations, we should encourage debt free living. . . . . but this thread is not about my opinion but about the opinion readers would like the prominent speaker to focus on.

Anonymous said...

Is it proper and/or desirable for only very rich people (usually ones who are big baalei tzedaka to the school as well) to sit on the board of directors of a school?

It is a very important question because very rich people often have different priorities that almost always cause tuition to increase to very high levels.

ProfK said...

Could the speaker address the way that school days are structured, with lumudei kodesh in the morning and secular studies in the afternoon? If there is no halacha involved then alternating so that some classes have English in the morning and some in the afternoon represents a real way to cut expenses. I taught in a school that ran this way. I taught 4th grade in the morning and junior high in the afternoon. My salary was more but was not double, a savings. There were almost 50% fewer teachers needed, so a savings in teacher benefits that a school needs to pay out. And with less staff there were also far fewer administrators, a really big savings.

Lion of Zion said...

"Many women have pre-schools that are operating out of homes and may cost less than the same arrangement in school buildings. Should this become the norm?"

keep in mind that many of these establishments are illegal (and not necessarily safe either). so this question falls into the larger question of may one cut legal corners to alleviate the tuition burden (or alternatively to further Torah).

"should seminary be either eliminated or take the place of a year of high school"

from what i understand, back in the day people who went to yeshivah did so for the second half of their high school senior year?

Lion of Zion said...

"Many women have pre-schools that are operating out of homes and may cost less than the same arrangement in school buildings. Should this become the norm?"

keep in mind that many of these establishments are illegal (and not necessarily safe either). so this question falls into the larger question of may one cut legal corners to alleviate the tuition burden (or alternatively to further Torah).

"should seminary be either eliminated or take the place of a year of high school"

from what i understand, back in the day people who went to yeshivah did so for the second half of their high school senior year?