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YWN Coffee Room » Yeshiva / School / College / Education Issues

Tuition Assistance Guidelines

(133 posts)
  • Started 4 years ago by donted
  • Latest reply from tomim tihye

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  1. donted
    Member

    Why do no Yeshivas publish guidelines for whether one will qualify for tuition assistance? I understand that each case is different and must ultimately be decided on an individual basis, but there should still be some general guidelines that one can look to. For example, the yeshiva can list expenses which it does not consider necessary. i.e. up to X dollars on a car lease. X amount of vacations. Also, an income level that qualifies based on number of children. Again, this would be an estimate, but would force the system to run on a set of rules as opposed to the arbitrary feel it has to it currently.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  2. bpt
    never caustic

    The sad fact is, it really does cost more to educate a child than the school charges. Rent, salaries, and food will eat up most of the tuition dollars they take in.

    How about this as a guide; 5% of your salary per child, with a maximum of 15% of your salary, regardless of how many kids you have in school.

    That way the folks making a ton of money would help offset the working class and everyone feels like a mentch. Not some arbitrary number from the tuition board, a fixed ammount, much like maaser.

    And no, I'm not opening a school. The idea of a 6 day work week gives me goosebumps!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  3. mt mehdi
    Blocked

    "The sad fact is, it really does cost more to educate a child than the school charges."
    ______

    You may be correct - but who would know? They don't publish financials. Comparisons to public schools is not accurate due to the large amount of wasted funds there and other activities not available in Yeshivas.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  4. chesedname
    Member

    "The sad fact is, it really does cost more to educate a child than the school charges."

    that's not true, it cost about 4-4.5k a child, they charge between 6 and 8k because a large number of ppl don't pay 4k.
    what they should do is charge 4k and ask for donations to cover the ppl that don't pay full tuition

    Posted 4 years ago #
  5. SJSinNYC
    always pleasant

    That way the folks making a ton of money would help offset the working class and everyone feels like a mentch.

    I don't this is the right way to do it.

    Lets take Family A: Husband and Wife together earn $150,000 and have 5 kids. Each tuition costs $5,000 plus some fees so they pay $27,500 in tuition. Their after tax (and heath care) take home pay is around $95,000. Subtract $9,500 maaser. Then subtract $600/month for both of them to commute [assume one public transportation and one car with insurance]. Now you are down to $78,500. Then subtract tuition and you are at $51,000. Food for a family of 7 is around $700/month, now you are down to $42,400. Assume a mortgage payment is around $2500/month. You are down to $21,000. Clothing is $300/year per person (including shoes, coats, suits etc) you are down to $18,900. Life Insurance for the parents is $2000/year. $16,900. Utilities (electric, gas, water, phone, internet, cell phone) $700/month. $8,500 left. Medical costs (copays, medicine etc) - $200/per person/year. $7,100. School supplies (books, paper, etc) - $100/ per student/ year. $6,600. And since both parents are working full time, its a lot harder to function without a cleaning lady (although that is a luxury so I won't count it). Should they be subsidizing a family with a stay at home mom? Sure, that family is earning less, but the wife being home makes the home run smoother (generally). Assuming that there aren't three little kids at home in addition to the five in school (daycare costs would probably offset earnings), shouldn't the woman go to work instead of being subsidized?

    I think our society has begun to rely too much on communal support. Its time to figure out new ways for each person to be able to afford tuition. Family A is not wealthy by any stretch of imagination. We can only lean on the rich so much.

    Keep in mind that where I live, tuition is $15,000 a year.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  6. blubluh
    Member

    As another already posted, without budget disclosure by the day schools, it's impossible to explain significant tuition differences even within the same state, let alone address them.

    Even taking into consideration differing median income levels between towns (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/), it's hard to fathom how base-line tuition in in the lower grades in my town, for example, is ~$9K/yr while in a town 10 miles away the cost is almost double for the same grade). Where does that "extra" money go?

    Posted 4 years ago #
  7. Dr. Pepper
    Ph.D.

    SJSinNYC-

    What about summer camp/ bungalow colony?

    Posted 4 years ago #
  8. cherrybim
    Member

    BP Totty - "That way the folks making a ton of money would help offset the working class and everyone feels like a mentch."

    Why stop at yeshiva tuitions? Rich people should also pay for my other family expenses and necessities, such as: clothing, food, car, camp, bungalow, simchas, etc.

    While they’re at it, my wife also needs some jewelry and a sheitle and I just must have a trip to Uman this Rosh Hashana or I’ll just platz.

    It’s funny; people have no money for yeshiva tuitions or shul support, but these same people somehow manage to find it for the other things they deem important.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  9. SJSinNYC-
    I agree - but take issue with some of your assumptions.
    1. You are not mechuyav to give ma'aser at the 10% of gross figure if it will entail financial hardship. There are also many ways one can calculate ma'aser (after tax, after tax minus essential expenses, etc).
    2. Where are property tax and insurance bills in your calculation? Included in the $2,500 mortgage figure? Hardly, at least in the NY/NJ area.
    3. That tax figure is high, I think, for the average homeowner. Remember that contributions to charity are tax deductible - so assuming the couple is in the 25% tax bracket, that $9,500 maaser amount is really $7,125. Commuting costs can be tax deductible up to $230 per month, so that reduces taxes by another $690 ($230*12*.25). Add in some mortgage interest, state income and local property tax deduction, exemptions for self, spouse, and children, and possibly some child-care deduction (if young children) and that $55K tax bill can be a bit lower.
    4. $1,000 per parent per year for life insurance?? I think that's quite high, unless the parents are smokers weighing 250lbs each. ;-)

    Posted 4 years ago #
  10. Cherrybim- you're going down a slippery slope. By your logic one should live in a one room bungalow and eat bread and water and walk everywhere if that's what one has to do to pay tuition in full. After all, decent food, 1000 square feet, automotive transportation - those aren't REALLY needed, right??

    Posted 4 years ago #
  11. bpt
    never caustic

    Woah, what an avalanche I started! OK, let me digest this overnight and reply tomorow.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  12. Cherrybim, I'm not saying I agree 100% to this way of thinking, but I think I can argue somewhat plausibly that certain services and payments that are one's communal "obligations" should be treated as progressive taxes and not commodities. American income tax structure is theoretically progressive on the whole - the more money you make the higher your tax percentage (bracket). The government understands that simply dividing the cost of running the nation equally by the number of (legal) residents or households is an extremely inequitable undertaking and, more importantly, can be unsustainable. Our society understands that government expenditures funded from tax money generally, eventually, benefit the country as a whole - thus, we have a progressive system.
    The same might be said for tuition. Communal pressures, stigmas, and logic leave frum Jews little or no choice but to give their kids a Jewish day school education. No one will argue that mass Jewish education will at the very least spiritually benefit the Jewish community as a whole. Because of the obligation, one could possibly argue for modeling the school funding structure after our progressive income tax system.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  13. SJSinNYC
    always pleasant

    EJ, I meant to write $1,000 for life insurance.
    And the mortgage is "light" - I figured that would offset doing the tax calculations. My point was that $150k sounds nice and rich, but isn't by any stretch of the imagination.

    DP, bungalow colonies are luxuries. Day came for those of us working is mandatory. That's where the leftovers would go...

    I personally think we have to realize that Yeshiva education is classified as a luxury. Teaching your children Torah is NOT a luxury but paying for an expensive education is.

    Then you need to decide what luxury to give up - eating chicken every night vs paying tuition. Or maybe even homeschooling.

    If people were required to pay 100% of tuition costs no matter what the situation, I wonder how many people would cut back on non-essentials (and go to eating rice and beans).

    Posted 4 years ago #
  14. cherrybim
    Member

    enlightenedjew - "I think I can argue somewhat plausibly that certain services and payments that are one's communal "obligations" should be treated as progressive taxes and not commodities."

    Yes, however, the obligation and responsibility to educate your children in Torah study falls on you, not society. So if you can't educate your children in Torah, you need to hire someone to do it. I've never seen anyone become poor because he paid too much tuition.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  15. bpt
    never caustic

    Boy, did I grab a tiger by the tail! So, I crunched some numbers yesterday and here’s what I came up with.

    Mt. Mehdi and Chesedname –

    Your points were well stated; we really don’t know what the real costs. But a little guesswork gave me the following:

    The chart below is based on a cost per month, with 16 grades, 25 children per class, with the support staff and administration’s salary is amortized over 400 children.

    Item Cost / Month
    Rent $ 1,200
    Rebbie $ 4,200
    Food ($3 / day) $ 1,500
    Teachers $ 1,200
    Support Staff $ 1,000
    Administration $ 800

    This works out to approximately $4500 per child. If the school drops to only 20 children per class, the number rockets to $5500 per child. Plus, I’m certain I underestimated my guesstimates, and I most likely left out other expenses that schools must have (like repairs, heaven knows what THAT could cost), so my estimate of $4500 is probably on the low side.

    In the school my boys go / went to, many of the parents could not pay even close to $4000, so asking $4.5k - $5k as a base tuition is not only a reasonable request, its probably the only way they can keep the doors open. The gap (which there must surely be) gets raised on the outside.

    SJS –

    Your numbers were pretty much in sync with what I had in mind, with a few minor adjustments:

    salary $ 150,000
    after tax $ 112,500
    max tuition $ 16,875
    maaser $ 8,500
    transp. $ 7,200
    food $ 17,000
    rent $ 30,000
    clothing $ 2,000
    utilitis $ 10,000
    med $ 1,500
    misc $ 5,000
    total expenses $ 98,075
    balance $ 14,425

    1) You’re figuring on a 35% tax bracket, but after deductions, you can probably come in at around 25%, so the family budget is not that bleak
    2) The $27k tuition is a bit high, and that’s why I would advocate for a 15% maximum. This would put Family A at $17k (or $3500 per child). The neighbor around the corner, who makes $250k would pay $5500 per child, and the tenant who only nets $80k would pay $1800 per child. In a balanced mix of incomes, the school would take in roughly $4k per child (and the rest would need to come from fundraising and alumni)
    3) While you are right, Family A is hardly wealthy, they are not clipping coupons either. A quick look shows they have a surplus of almost $15k per year. Not bad, considering its more than 10% of their annual income. And for the record, I reduced the maaser by a ¼ as that can be applied towards tuition (ask a Rov, I did)
    4) Is a cleaning lady a luxury? With 5 kids, and you’re working full time, I’d say no, it’s a necessity. So add another $5000 to the budget, and you’re still left with almost 10 grand. Still not bad.
    5) The daycare cost vs being a stay-at-home mom is a situation that I was never in, so its unfair for me to comment on it. But in the end, its probably a wash, so either way the numbers are unchanged.
    6) $15k a year for tuitiuon? Wow, that’s steep. We have two schools like that in Bklyn, but they are the Harvards of the yeshiva world. (One is Sephardic, the other is M/O.). But there are cheaper options for each of those types of kids, so no one needs to stay home because they could not afford a school that’s right for them.

    Pepper –

    With careful budgeting, the $150k family can just make it thru the summer as well. Not each kid to sleepaway, or Bungalow plus sleepaway, but they can make it (I do, and on a lot less than $150k)

    Cherry –

    The things you list are not necessities; schooling is, so we (the rich) need to help the not so rich afford the necessities. A new shaitel is not a necessity. (Though I might be on the same page with you when it comes to Uman J)

    Enlightened –

    By the time you’re done with two life policies and two disability policies, you’re not that far off from 2 grand. And I’m a non-smoker, way under 250!

    At the end of the day, when all is said an done, lets remember this: Hashem gives some of us greater resources, and He expects us to help out those who (for whatever reason) were given less. I for one, am very happy to be in the 1st group!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  16. SJS and BP-
    Thanks for the clarification - $1K seems a more sensible #.

    Cherrybim, tuition payments (full tuition) are budget busters for countless families. How can you never saw anyone become poor from paying tuition!!!??? Many, many families borrow (i.e. pay other expenses on credit and carry balances) to meet tuition requirements - if you HAVE to borrow and carry a balance, you can't afford it.
    Also, have you ever heard of NNJKids? They operate on the very philosophy you so blithely dismissed - that future Jewish education is incumbent upon the community, not the individual. Instead of nit-picking on minutiae, NNJKids is trying to think creatively outside the box to help families cope with burgeoning tuition costs. Narrow views will lead us on down the garden path to economic ruin.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  17. cherrybim
    Member

    BP Totty - There is nothing that I wrote in the post you cite that should have been taken seriously; it was written with sarcasm to make a point.
    I hope others got it.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  18. SJSinNYC
    always pleasant

    BP, you left out healthcare costs. Thats generally a few thousand dollars a year in premiums. Then add in summer camp (I'm talking day camp) because both parents are working - daycamp for 5 kids? Has to be at least $5,000 right? I don't have kids in daycamp yet. And not everyone agrees with the tuition/maaser thing. What we were told was that 100% of our maaser money can go to tuition. It will cover a fraction.

    MO schools around here (which are really the only schools in Teaneck) are between $12-18,000 per child. Most people have two working parents on professional salaries (so probably earning between $100-200,000 easily) and tuition is hard to come by. Average family here is around 4 kids - thats $60,000 after tax money. You need to earn $85,000 basically to pay for that. Add in the fact that property taxes are $10,000 a year easily, and most people pay at least $3,000 in mortgage, often more.

    I could bus my kids around for 45 minutes away to cheaper options. But am I really going to do that to my son when he is 4 years old? Especially when the schools here have amazing educations (both kodesh and chol).

    NNJKids is a nice idea but sort of just relies on the same people who are contributing to the schools anyway.

    Our public schools here are funded at $18,000 per child. Can I really complain about $15,000?

    Posted 4 years ago #
  19. bpt
    never caustic

    Cherry -

    Does that mean I won't see you there? (kidding!)

    Living in BP as I do, I've got access to the best the world of Rebbes and Chasiddus has to offer, so plane rides are not on my must have list. Besides, drop into any Bresslover shteeble, and you'll see that R' Nachman is alive and well in the here and now. I davened maariv there one night and sefira was a 10 minute avoidah. And these folks were not putting on a show, they meant it for real.

    Back to the business at hand -

    SJS -

    I thought at the $100k level, the family gets healthcare from their job. And anyone with the green light for applying all their maaser $ towards tuition, SHOULD. Its as worthy as any cause out there. As far as busing a 4 year old ( a 4 year old! oh, do I miss those days!) you are right; that's nuts. But Teaneck (or Monsey) is a lot prettier than Bklyn, and it comes at a cost. 60K.. ouch!

    Bottom line: good education doesn't cost.. it pays!

    Look at the bright side. People undertake a 20-25 year mortgage and all they have to show for it is a house that may or may not be worth what they paid. A well educated child is a 12-15 year mortgage, and it pays dividends for life and for generations!

    If it any consolation, I'm in the same boat, but I'm almost at the phasing out stage, so I can tell you from experience (gee, I sound old!) it was (and is) worth every penny.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  20. bpt
    never caustic

    SJS -

    I forgot one point. The bungalow is a much cheaper option than summer camp (day, and certainly sleepaway) if you can get the summer off. Only the very wealthy (or very frugal) can afford both at the same time.

    Many bumgalow goers I know take along a teen-age niece or sister as a mother's helper for the summer and mom commutes to the city for 2-3 days a week. That way kids are in the mountains, the teen girl in too (without paying for camp) and the weekends are free. Welcome to life in the double income world with older kids at home. Is it a necessity? We say yes, and we pay dearly for it.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  21. squeak
    Makes smalltalk with the two most sandy ectoplasmic beings on Earth (not to mention the Man on the Moon).

    As many have said, Torah education is not a luxury but a necessity. And let's face it, most frum families could not give a proper Torah education on their own - they need a well run school.

    However, what is a luxury is a Torah education at a frills-laden school such as our present day Yeshivos Ktana, Bais Yaacovs, Mesivtas, etc. When I went to school (which, if you recall my old posts, was when Arnold Fine was in diapers) a Torah school was a building with a mainstream curriculum and hardly a frill to be found. A science lab was a room with a sink and a gas hookup for bunsen burners.

    It is wonderful that the present day schools have multiple curriculum tracks, resource rooms, cutting edge technology, and myriads of other educational frills. It is wonderful that the buildings are air-conditioned to 5 degrees below what the kids' parents keep their own homes. All this is wonderful - but it is a large part of why yeshivos are unaffordable.

    I am a strong believer that if you can't afford it, it's not worth having. And the yeshivos (read: parent body) cannot afford the frills.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  22. WolfishMusings
    The Wolf

    I thought at the $100k level, the family gets healthcare from their job.

    That does not necessarily mean that the company pays 100% of the premiums... or even anywhere close to it.

    The Wolf

    Posted 4 years ago #
  23. BPTotty-
    Good point about healthcare and maaser. Unfortunately payments for tuition at private schools are not tax-deductible as charitable contributions, I think.

    SJS, I beg to differ about NNJ, I wouldn't dismiss it so readily. My reason for mentioning it was to respond to Cherrybim's comment that the obligation rests squarely on parents' shoulders and it's their shoulders that should bear the brunt.

    BP, back to you - yes, education does pay. We want to see our children succeed in yahadus and have a chance at making a respectable parnassa. However, it's coming at an increasingly higher cost these days and takes a bigger emotional, social, and financial toll than it once did. That price is becoming very steep. Furthermore, tuition payments help keep money out of retirement and targeted (eg saving for making a wedding, etc). Who's going to fund parents' living expenses when they can't work anymore and have little or no savings? Their kids? Uncle Sam (and then he'll raise taxes? Something to consider.
    The problem here is that many families just cannot theoretically afford tuition these days. I know it's nice and easy to say that tuition always pays, but that doesn't even begin to answer what is a firmly entrenched economic problem.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  24. Squeak-
    "As many have said, Torah education is not a luxury but a necessity."
    All the more reason to treat tuition economically as a tax

    Posted 4 years ago #
  25. Coupled with NNJKids, my tax point is that the "tax" should apply to the Jewish community - the ENTIRE Jewish community (non denominational - conservative, reform, etc). The tax should be progressive.
    That's the best way to get our schools the funding they need and help our parents who are shouldering this burden. Economic strength in numbers.
    There's almost no economic way the frum community can shoulder the burden for all of its many schools alone.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  26. squeak
    Makes smalltalk with the two most sandy ectoplasmic beings on Earth (not to mention the Man on the Moon).

    enlightenedjew (why would you call yourself a haskala yid?)-

    Then let the schools abandon all the frills and their associated costs before placing the burden on the general public. Don't tax me and then spend the money on smartboards and electron microscopes. I'll pay for your walls, your rebbeim and teachers in reasonable proportion to student population, books and nothing else. A couple of thousand per child would do it easily.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  27. tomim tihye
    Member

    My kids' schools have no frills- no lab, not even a computer lab!- and still charge over $6,000/child plus building fee, dinner fee, registration fee...

    Posted 4 years ago #
  28. SJSinNYC
    always pleasant

    I just spoke to my cousin who is on the scholarship commity of a well known MO school (name withheld to protect his identity).

    He said the way they look at it is:

    1) Parents have to be making an effort. If the mother is a SAHP (without little kids), they require her to get a job before asking for a scholarship. If the she is working short hours, they ask her to work longer hours. (Obviously, if she can find a job and get more hours)

    2) In cases where people have homes with lots of equity, they will ask the person to take out a home equity loan to cover tuition.

    3) They don't mind if a small amount of money goes into savings every month (not like $1,000/month, but lets say $2-300). They think its important to budget for emergencies.

    4) He said cleaning help is ok for full time working parents as long as its limited (meaning, not full time unless that includes child care with cleaning type of situation).

    I thought it was interesting to hear his take on scholarships.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  29. bpt
    never caustic

    Save $2-300 per month? And he feels this is being responsible? What emergency could be handled on $300? In the NNJ community, $300 is gas money for one car!

    And the school has him making deternimations of a financial matter? And I thought the BP tuition boards were underqualified.

    I know very little about NNJ, but I do know a thing or two about money. And rule # 1 is, a head of household needs 6 months of the annual budget in the bank, ready cash. Not stocks, not equity in the home; liquid m-o-n-e-y.

    That would mean if you make (and presumibly spend 80% of) $250k, you would need to have close to $30k in the bank at at all times. How in the world do they expect that at $300 per month?

    (Did they really suggest to someone to draw against their house!? PLease tell me that was a joke)

    Posted 4 years ago #
  30. bpt
    never caustic

    Enlightend -

    You are correct, in as much as you can't commit to a Harvard education if you cannot afford it. And while Harvard (or the yeshiva equivalent) may not be negotiable, the 2nd tier schools (which by the way, are very good, just not as "bells and whistles" top heavy) will work with you.

    Now, to be fair to the schools, if you choose to live in NNJ or the fancy parts of Monsey, and pay dearly for the glam lifestyle you should be prepared to pay for the luxury of a top $chool as well (no, that was not a type-o).

    That's why my opening remark was 5% of your salary should be your target tuition. That's reasonable and that's what I aim for and the schools (so far, at least) go along with me. (Hope I do as well with BMG!)

    Posted 4 years ago #
  31. SJSinNYC
    always pleasant

    BPTotty, most schools tell you that you can't put ANY money into savings if you want a scholarship. Does your mortgage company allow you to forgo paying your mortgage so you can sock some money away?

    And yes, they did tell some people to draw money from their home. If someone has a house that they paid little for and has a lot of equity in it, why should someone else foot their tuition bill? That's like saying "I have a bunch of stocks but I don't want to sell them. Can I get a scholarship?"

    You have to understand - whatever reduction you want in tuition has to come from somewhere. Money does NOT grow on trees. Teacher salaries have to paid, utilities have to paid, supplies/books bought etc. If it costs $5,000/child and you only pay $4,000, then $1,000 has to come from somewhere. Its nice to say "Oh 5% of your salary" but that won't pay the bills!

    NNJ is in no way a "glam" lifestyle. And since average family size is 3-5, and in lakewood is 8-10, when you factor in people in NNJ generally have 2 working parents with higher paying jobs, I think the struggle to put 3-5 kids through Yeshiva balances with the struggle to put 8-10.

    Squeak, providing a no frills schools is not really the answer. People in Northern NJ want the better education the schools have to offer, they just can't afford it. If they wanted to, there is a school in Staten Island that with busing is around $8,000. That's about half a tuition! People want the top notch education and don't want to pay the price. It doesn't work that way...you can only have top notch if you can afford it. I am willing to forgo most things (including eating rice and beans if I can get my husband on board LOL) to ensure my kids have a great education.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  32. squeak
    Makes smalltalk with the two most sandy ectoplasmic beings on Earth (not to mention the Man on the Moon).

    SJS

    My comment was directed at those who feel there is a communal obligation to keep the schools afloat. My take is that the community may or may not have the obligation to provide Torah education, but stop there. Anything else is the whim of the parent body and must be paid for by them.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  33. SJSinNYC
    always pleasant

    Squeak, we agree!

    Although I don't feel that its really the communal obligation - that's really the parents obligation, unless the parents are unable to. And unable to doesn't mean not wanting to send to a lower quality school or not wanting to cut down on the car you drive. It means an orphan, a widow without means etc.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  34. bpt
    never caustic

    Big difference, SJS, between tuition (which is not a option) and the size of your mortgage (which you chose to undertake, based on the cost of your house)

    To draw $ from your home for anything other than renovating that same home is suicide. It means that eventualy your home (in most cases the BIGGEST asset a person has) will be worth less than they paid for it. That's what they refer to on the news as the "mortgage crisis"

    By the way, did you show your cousin the data I guessed at? I'd be curious to see what he thinks. And while you're at it, ask him if he thinks his school budget would be better or worse off if he collected the 5% I suggested.

    As far as the gap in kids between Lakewood and NNJ, that is not a topic I feel comfortable discussing. (needless to say, I have an opnion, but one that is best kept to myself)

    As far as the quality of life in NNJ and Rockland Co, just compare the cars, clothing, vacations (summer, winter and Pesach), ect and judge for yourself. Sure, BP (and most likely Lakewood) have there fancy parts, but for the most part, its hardscrabble and hard knocks)

    Posted 4 years ago #
  35. SJSinNYC
    always pleasant

    BPTotty, if you bought your home for $200k and its now worth $400k, that's $200k in equity sitting there. If you have "spare" $200k shouldn't you give SOME to tuition? Your house is an INVESTMENT. It is comparable to stocks in terms of equity.

    Think of it this way:

    Family A has a house that has $200k in equity but doesn't use it. They have 3 kids and instead of paying $30,000 a year for tuition pays $15,000. Family B rents instead of buying because they can't afford tuition if they buy and pay $30,000 in tuition. School has to fundraise $15,000/year for family A. When all kids are out of school, Family A ends up with a nice nest egg because someone else donated money to the school. Family B has nothing because they paid full tuition.

    My cousin never said they asked people to bankrupt themselves. The committee has limited scholarships to give out and if someone has an investment to tap into, they should. They aren't asking people to mortgage up ot the hilt, but to contribute fairly.

    Schools are not looking to make profits, they are looking to pay their bills. If you can't pay your portion, it has to come from somewhere.

    I'm not sure what your knowledge of Northern NJ is. I live in Teaneck - in a middle class neighborhood (with some rich people). Clothing is much more simple than in Brooklyn or Lakewood (for example, many boys wear nice pants and a button down shirt for Shabbos instead of a full suit - so savings right there. Women rarely wear suits.) Cars are more of a necessity in Teaneck than in Brooklyn, but most people don't drive fancy cars. People don't walk around dripping in diamonds. Few people I know do Winter and Summer vacations and don't go away for Pesach.

    Cost of living is higher here sure. But most people I know living in Brooklyn live on a much higher reference than those in Teaneck. Especially when it comes to clothing.

    As to the number of children - I'm not commenting on how many children to have or not. I'm just saying that a family in Teaneck with 3 kids in school has a $45,000 obligation for tuition. A family in Lakewood with 9 children ALSO has a $45,000 tuition obligation.

    And tuition IS optional. You can homeschool your kids or you can hire a rebbe for a talmud torah type environment. Most things in life are optional, with the exception of basic shelter, basic clothing and food.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  36. laguy
    Member

    I'd like throw my two cents into this as someone who has kids in school in LA. I have 3 kids and if I were to pay full tuition my obligation would be $61,000 PLUS dinner fees, building fees, and every other little fee they come up with, and that would be after the $500 - $750 "registration fee" PER CHILD. To add a little insult to injury, to be considered for scholarship, we must pay an additional fee of $25 - $30 (little I know, but a fee to ask for help???) How is a family like ours supposed to pay a tuition like that when earning $130,000/yr. with both parents working full time?

    It always felt weird to me that many of the Rabbeim in the school own their own homes, pay no tuition, work 3/4 of the day and we're working hard full time and renting, I won't even go into the issue of putting money away. Cars are a necessity in LA so no savings there, food costs are ridiculous so obviously big vacations are out of the question, as well as a cleaning lady.

    This tuition situation is a huge problem for the Jewish community. We can't put our kids in public school and home schooling doesn't work for the families where both parents work. So making choices and begging for a scholarship are the only way to go. How many times do I have to walk into a tuition committee for them to say "So are things better this year?" I don't think they get it, things aren't better or worse, they are the same, I earn the same money, I live in the same place, my kids are a year older and cost me more. How does that justify me paying them more?
    The system will crumble at some point. It is built on a poor foundation, it can't continue this way.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  37. volvie
    Joseph

    "The system will crumble at some point."

    Been hearing that way too long for it to be taken credibly.

    It's a bit like all those predicting the demise of Chareidikeit or Orthodoxy for the past 60 years.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  38. WolfishMusings
    The Wolf

    Been hearing that way too long for it to be taken credibly.

    It's a bit like all those predicting the demise of Chareidikeit or Orthodoxy for the past 60 years.

    Maybe, maybe not.

    But it is, undoubtedly, much harder at this point, for parents to afford tuition. And with that increased difficulty, more and more parents will simply opt out. I personally know of parents who have opted out because it was just too much financially to bear.

    Perhaps you're right that the system won't crumble. But more and more people will drop out of the system... and that's also bad.

    The Wolf

    Posted 4 years ago #
  39. bpt
    never caustic

    I can't comment on the tuition bill in teaneck, but I highly doubt anyone is paying that in Lakewood. And guess what? For what you pay in Teaneck for a modest home, you can get a palace in Lakewood (ok, the commute will be longer), but you will save a bundle in tution (Gosh, for even $30g I would be a hero in my school)

    And messing with the equity in your house is nuts, plain and simple. Its the untouchable. Its what most folks retire on, and seeing as how life expectancy is getting longer and longer, that money will need to be there for you. Bottom line: put a reasonable cap on tuition. If everyone paid a fair share (and by everyone I mean teachers / rebbeim too) there would be almost enought $ to support the yeshiva system. Would we need to fund raise? Sure. Would schools need to reign in their spending? Sure.

    That's what we call fiscal responsibility.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  40. SJSinNYC
    always pleasant

    BP, so I should pick up and move to Lakewood? So for starters, my 1 hour commute (each way) would turn into a 2-2.5 hour commute (yes, I've done that when visiting my sister). So instead of 2 hours commuting, I am now at 4.5. I wake up at 5 am right now, so I would have to wake up at 4 am. Now I get home at 6 pm, I wouldn't get home until 7:30 pm. My husband would also be home later. So not only did I add time to my day, I added more commuting costs (its like $35/round trip from Lakewood, from teaneck its $8.50) and I added 2.5 hours and I now have to pay for later childcare. How many places do you know that are open 6 am to 7:30 pm?

    OK so my mortgage is cheaper. Assume an interest rate of 5%, thats $500/month per $100,000 savings (roughly). Houses in my sisters area are around $300,000 which is $200,000 less than Teaneck (modest house). So I save $1,000, but need to add in an extra $27/day in commuting expenses for me, 1.5 hours of childcare (assume $15 for the extra time) and extra gas and tolls for my husband to drive. If you assume 21 business days a month, that's $1,000 right there.

    So my savings would be only for tuition and some property taxes. Because I wouldn't be seeing my kids at all. For that, I might as well bus my children to Staten Island.

    What's the point? Moving is not always the solution.

    Want to take away the benefit of teachers getting free tuition? They will demand more money. After all, they aren't stupid - they know its the best reason to be a teacher in a Jewish school. So tuition costs still go up to cover the increase in teachers salaries.

    Capping tuition costs does nothing because it doesn't guarantee paying the bills. If no one in Lakewood is paying $45,000 for 9 kids (according to my sister tuition waws $5,000 a year per child so I'm using that), then either the school doesn't really cost $5,000 a child so base tuitions builds lots of scholarships in OR someone is privately footing the bill. Money doesn't grow on trees.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  41. SJSinNYC
    always pleasant

    And messing with the equity in your house is nuts, plain and simple. Its the untouchable. Its what most folks retire on, and seeing as how life expectancy is getting longer and longer, that money will need to be there for you.

    So what you are saying is that you are putting your retirement over the value of a Jewish education. Because SOMEONE has to pay for it. Is there waste? Sure. But if tuition is being charged at $5,000 a student, you can bet the waste may be closer to $500/student than $4,000/student. Why should you be able to save for retirement while others are footing your tuition bill? Please explain how the equity in your home is different from having lots of stocks for retirement.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  42. puppydogs
    Member

    I just received my tuition bill for next year from my son's yeshiva (in Brooklyn) and the base tuition increased by 15%. In addition, they did away with the discounts that they gave me in the past years. Are they serious??? in this recession??

    Posted 4 years ago #
  43. jewish girl
    knows her Naval History

    In this recession they have to pay their higher bills too.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  44. puppydogs
    Member

    But 15%? that's outrageous. I don't get a 15% raise at work.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  45. SJSinNYC
    always pleasant

    puppydog, less people can afford tuition now. They need more scholarships and need people to pay more.

    If they up your tuition by 15% and settle on a 10% increase, you'll be happier than if they said 10% increase no questions.

    Costs have gone up somewhat but there are less people to pay for it.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  46. bpt
    never caustic

    Since I don't commute, I can't say for sure, but I doubt its more than 90 minutes to NYC in the morning, probably a bit less on the way home (assuming you don't leave the city at 5:00). I know several people that do commute, and aside from the occasional mis-hap, no one is talking 2.5 hour rides (for that, I could live in the could live in the mtns all year).

    Obviously, you can't just up and move. But you (presumibly) knew the cost of living in Teaneck before settling down, and tuition is part of that COL.

    The differnence between losing your stock value as oppposed to losing your home value is this: If your stock goes to nil, its a paper loss. If your home goes the same way and gets forclosed your're out on the sidwalk or forced to move in with your kids (not sure which I would dread more, if C'V I ever came to that).

    As far as cost caps (both tuition, staff salary, school spending) if some sort of equitable formula was in place, everyone would benefit. That's what analysis is all about. It helps you plan for the future. And yes, if a rebbie (or teacher) knew their salary was going to be a) capped and b) based on performance (a lot like mine is) he / she would plan accordingly. I do this, why should'nt they?

    But one funny idea did come to mind yesterday on the way home; if the "better education" the NNJ schools promote fiscal irresponsibility (using home equity to fund tuition!) and highly educated (and most likely college educated) parents are not saving at least 10% of their income, than how are those kids (and at the costly tuition) any better off than their BP or Lakewood bare-bones tuition counterparts?

    Makes you wonder....

    Posted 4 years ago #
  47. gavra_at_work
    caution

    puppydogs: Negotiate, pay or move.

    Its not raised costs, its less money going in (due to more people on tzedaka), and the inability to reject anyone due to non-payment.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  48. bpt
    never caustic

    Puppydog - While you took the time to do the math and came up with 15%, the school board most likey just picked a random number they felt (hoped?) you would just swallow. Fight it, you can probably get them to accept 5% this year, and another 5% the years after that. And don't accept the cutbacks. But answer this question to yourself before calling; is your tuition in line with the 5% / 15% cap I've been hocking about?
    Oh and just so we are all on the same page; 5% is based on your "adjusted" net income (how many kids, ect) but that's a thread in itself, so I don't want to go off to that topic here.

    Bottom line: are you paying you fair share? If so, you can and probably will sway them. If not, well, perhaps you might reconsider upping the ante to be in line with they truly can expect for someone like yourself. Again, this is not something we need to know, but something that you should (the answer might surprise you).

    FYI - I once had this discussion with my shul buddies (how much is the right ammount to spend in shul) and by my own math, I was short a few hundred $, so within a short while, I made up the difference. Math is funny that way.. it doesn't play favorites!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  49. SJSinNYC
    always pleasant

    The differnence between losing your stock value as oppposed to losing your home value is this: If your stock goes to nil, its a paper loss. If your home goes the same way and gets forclosed your're out on the sidwalk or forced to move in with your kids (not sure which I would dread more, if C'V I ever came to that).

    That's false. I know plenty of people under water (meaning their mortgage is higher than their house value). All it means is that if you can't afford your house payment you may be foreclosed. As long as you can afford that, you won't be kicked out.

    If your stock goes to zero, you lost out on money. Its not a paper loss. You put money INTO the stocks, the same way you put money into your house.

    If I have equity, I should tap into before making someone else pay. That goes for schooling and any other bills that are MY responsibility.

    As to the commute - its 90 minutes PLUS travel within NYC. I don't work right near port authority. Sure I knew about tuition and COLA in NNJ when I moved - I'm just pointing out the struggle is similiar across the board.

    Lets say we cap spending. Certain costs are NOT fixed. And certain costs rise much faster than the rate of salary increases (that's really what's been happening in the last 10 years). Just to give an example: when my parents bought a house, a middle class house cost 1 year of my fathers's salary (they bought in Monsey, but in Teaneck houses were comparable in price). In Teaneck now, it costs 4 years worth of both me and my husband's salaries. Costs have risen greatly, but salaries have not kept up. That's one of the big problems facing schools today.

    As to the secular education: the kids coming out of the cheaper schools (like the ones in Lakewood that have very limited limudei chol) are not being properly prepared for college. They will have a much harder time getting in and making it through a program. They will have worse job prospects and worse salaries (as a general rule), making it hard for the next generation.

    So yes, I would rather pay more and have my child well educated. Its still expensive though.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  50. squeak
    Makes smalltalk with the two most sandy ectoplasmic beings on Earth (not to mention the Man on the Moon).

    SJS-

    Sounds like a cycle of doom. On the one hand you have the well-educated child who grows up and qualifies for a high-powered job with a good salary. This person will do likewise for his or her children, and be left with $0 after-tax, after-tuition.

    On the other hand you have the under-educated inner-yeshivish-city kids who most likely will never command a high enough salary to afford Teaneck, and will live in a community similar to the one they grew up in. This person will send his or her children to a similar school and be left with $0 after-tax, after-tuition, after scholarship.

    What's the advantage?

    Posted 4 years ago #

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