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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Financial Aid: What School Goes First?

Despite the fact we sometimes refer to the Day School or Yeshiva schools as a "system", we are well aware the schools in the "system" are actually individual schools, despite staff cross over and the notion of feeder schools. There is no central application processing, central business office, or central financial aid office. Every year there are complaints of children who have not been placed, and despite my sympathy, you can't exactly have full placement without an actual system.

I have some a few friends with students in a handful of schools and they have to work with each school individually on tuition discounts. In some cases, one school is very flexible and another school quite rigid. Without going into a comment thread knocking tuition discount recipients, I'd like to hear from readers about how schools in your locality have dealt with distribution of discounts in a way that is reasonable.

My conversation left me a bit concerned that there are schools (perhaps mine, perhaps yours) that are taking on the burden of discounts at their own expense and the expense of their parents, while other schools cash in so to speak (a horrible choice of words I realize). Now granted, just like admissions, I realize that each school is completely independent, but there is definitely reason to be concerned.

If you have any experience (administration, scholarship committee), I'd like to know if you have ever negotiated with other schools on distribution of income? Should a certain school go first in giving a discount, like the school that has had most the children for most the years?

And while we are discussing admissions and tuition, what was the increase (or decrease) at your school this year? I believe we were 3% this year, which is relatively low compared to past years, except that our incomes aren't increasing at the same rate.


Shoshana Z. said...

I'm eagerly waiting to read comments on this interesting post. Where is everyone?

JS said...

Someone posted on the Chump blog that Kushner (JKHA/RKYHS) increased 3.5% across the board. Lower than usual considering before the recession the annual increases were double that, roughly.

I would imagine in the more RW yeshivas that boys' yeshivas are given tuition priority over girls' yeshivas. If I'm wrong, I wish someone would correct me, but I've seen plenty of articles talking about how boys' yeshiva education is more important. So, I imagine the girls' yeshivas are pressed to take the income hit.

I've posed a similar question on the Chump blog. The people on that blog seem to have 2-3 kids in elementary school and another 1-2 kids not yet in school. What will happen in, say, 3-5 years when the oldest hit high school. If they have 4 kids, all will presumably be in yeshiva by that point. In the prior year, their tuition was $60k ($15k/kid). Now, the oldest is going to be in 9th grade and tuition for that kid is $22k. The couple could barely swing $60k, they can't swing $67k (note this is all current prices, in 3-5 years the actual amounts will likely be $17-18k for elementary and $252-$26k for high school).

So, who takes the hit? The elementary school? The high school? Should the high school take the hit since it's more expensive? Then again, they have no relationship with the family to warrant special treatment. Should the elementary school take the hit since they're overall getting more money? Then again, why should they suddenly allow long-time full payers to go on scholarship?

It's all going to come to a head. The "big earners" on the Chump blog, for all their money, don't earn enough to keep paying full tuition for much longer. It's kind of surprising that issue hasn't been addressed more fully over there.

Anonymous said...

From what I heard here in the midwest, Elementary schools and high schools always take priority over beis medrash.

Avi said...

I don't believe that most of the schools here in Bergen County have published their tuition schedules yet.

Anonymous said...

My kids are split among 3 schools.

Tuition committees have my tax returns.

I have x dollars for tuition for 4 kids in school. I suggested that each school gets a prorated amount (50%, 25% and 25%) and that asking for a greater percent is fine... if the other tuition committees agree that that's fair. I state that asking for more $ from me means my turning off a utility. Haven't had a vacation in years. I drive ancient cars.

Committee is welcome to visit my house where things are in need of repair.

I kick my kids' rears to be the kind of kids that needs-based scholarship committees adore. My wife and I volunteer... a LOT.