Tuition Assistance Guidelines

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    Squeak, for one, they person who gets a good education is less likely to need to rely on others (wether scholarships, medical assitance, food stamps, section 8, gmachs etc).

    And technically, I could bus my kids to Staten Island to recieve a decent education (far better than schools in Lakewood IMHO) and dave about 50% of tuition costs. I just don’t want to bus my kids.

    A person with little secular education has less choices. In order to command the type of salary to put 9 kids through school, you need a strong background and a good job. The percentage of those in the yeshivish community is smaller than in MO circles. I would say they are probably relying on breaks to come out to zero.

    anon for this

    SJS, there are schools in NNJ outside of Bergen County that are cheaper. These schools offer a more comprehensive secular education than those in Lakewood, though probably not up to Bergen County standards. The secular education in these schools would allow most to succeed in college but would probably not generally qualify one for admission to the Ivy Leagues.


    What school are you refrencing?

    YNJ is slightly cheaper at $12,000 but there are personal reasons I wouldn’t send my child there.

    tomim tihye

    Lots of highly educated folks out there are making very average salaries, and lots of average-educated ones are earning double their wages.

    Just saying that motivation and productivity seem to play a greater role in earning power than education in grades 1-12.


    Being a stranger in this country, I have a few questions:

    1.Why every year parents need to pay registration fee for the same student in the same school?

    2. Why every year parents need to pay application fee for the same student in the same school?

    Registration + application fee = a couple hundred dollars per student every year.

    4. If most of us try to send our children to good school, to give them a really good education, why our well educated children need to hire a tutor to teach our grandchildren? Why well educated parents not able to teach / to help their own children?

    Because their education is not really good or because they do not have time for their children? I’m asking, because my parents were able to help me and my sister and no one of my friends ever had a tutor as well – we had parents for it.


    just a few small points, no one speaks of all the little expenses that add up really quickly such as presents for baalei simcha, repairs of house or appliances, etc.. It is almost impossible to stick to the budgets people have described because there are always expenses that are not chesboned in.

    A sheitel is not a luxury, a woman that is working needs! to have a decent sheitel and they do not last very long when they are worn on a daily basis.

    Equity taken out on a house must be paid back! You can’t borrow on it and pay it back when you sell the house. It becomes another monthly payment that you can’t afford.


    My Apologies to SJS –

    Sorry for the mean, condesending tone of my last remark (BP schools are better than NNJ schools). We (when I say we, I mean all parents) are in the same boat when it comes to getting taken for a ride by the tuition situation, and my wisecrack was uncalled for.

    Its too early in the day for me to read if you responded, so just in case you did, I deserved to be put in place. Sorry!


    This conversation is taking a very disturbing tack. Everyone here, except puppydogs and laguy, is carefully skirting around the elephant in the room – yeshiva tuition is a financial backbreaker for most families and can and will contribute to a severe financial crisis for frum Jews. YES, we all know yeshiva education is a necessity, But over the last 10-20 years, yeshiva tuition costs have skyrocketed alongside general COLA increases, even in markets outside NY/NJ. Economics works on the basic principle of scarce resources: using a resource (money) to pay for X will mean less resource to pay for Y. Tuition eats up more and more of our families’ incomes (POST-tax, mind you) so that there’s increasingly less and less available for retirement savings, savings for bigger ticket items (weddings, brisim, etc, even if modest they do cost some $$$), or savings we can put away for our children. There’s less and less available for everyday expenses as well, forcing families into tighter and tighter budgets as our COL rises, and our property taxes rise across the country to fund, in large part, an education system we don’t ever use. This creates not only financial problems, but mental and shalom bayis problems as well.

    Laguy is right. I’m as sick as he is watching schools, heck, our coummunity, expect hardworking, dual-earning parents to pony up 65%-75% of their AFTER-TAX pay to pay for tuition. I challenge anyone here to tell me how an average family living anywhere can get by in today’s world on 25%-35% of their take home pay after tuition is taken into account. Don’t tell me “I put my kids through it, you can too” – housing costs ALONE (let alone other cost of living areas) have increased exponentially, making the current generation’s experience somewhat more harrowing than previous generations’. And don’t tell me to sell my car, get rid of my cell phone, etc. That’d be like digging yourself out of a hole with a teaspoon, not to mention that what many consider “luxuries” are today quasi necessities (I’m thinking car and cell phone here, at least for suburban dwellers).

    How are our families going to save for their retirement or their children? Who’ll take care of the current generation when they can no longer work and have little to no savings because they’ve “invested” it in tuition?? Their kids? Who will happen to be struggling with their own, exponentially greater tuition problems??

    I’m sick of people just assuming “yeah, it’s hard, but hey, we have to do it.” I’m sick and tired of all the hot air being wasted with discussions and gatherings and diatribes and etc etc etc while we all watch our tuition bills creep up and up and up and up and eat away an ever increasing portion of our finances, making our lives one step closer to financial insolvency.

    I’m really tired of seeing the ignorance of basic economics that seems to be prevalent in these discussions.



    Well said, EJ. It is the yeshivos (and their staff) that need to learn to make do with less, before they ask the parents to do so. There is literally no end to the amount of additional good service the yeshivos can provide to children, but the cost is prohibitive and should be disallowed.


    Thanks, Squeak. I don’t mean to come off as anti-yeshiva education, or being anti-school. At LEAST some sort of Yeshiva education is nearly a requirement to ensuring the spiritual health of the next dor. Schools are battling rising costs themselves. Admins aren’t evil, they’re just trying to ensure the viability of the institutions that pay their salary. But schools are amorphic entities. They don’t live, breathe, interact on an emotional and physical level with their peers and family members, etc – families do.

    What’s frustrating me is that many are advocating for schools and education (“they’re already tapped”, “we need to give the chinuch for our kids”, etc) – but schools and the idea of “chinuch” are inanimate, amorphic objects and concepts. Families aren’t – they’re organic, dynamic entities that need more TLC than bricks and mortar. If all yeshivas nationwide were to spontaneously combust tomorrow, we as a community will still be around and still soldier on. Yahadus would still exist. If many, many families were to break up ch”v, Yahadus would take a serious, serious blow and could be on life support.

    In the end, what is more important – preserving the traditional family structure with shalom bayis, etc, or schools and infrastructure (brick and mortar buildings, teachers, administrators)? I’m not saying it’s the old “guns and butter” argument – it’s not necessarily a zero sum game (at this point – it may be 20 years down the road). But what’s more important should be leading the discussion on the subject.

    If we let THAT lead the discussion instead of accepting the educational infrastructure at status quo, we may collectively find some interesting things. Things like online education initiatives (K-12, for example) which bends the school structure in possibly sacrificing something for what’s more important – sane, healthy families. I’m hoping my point here is clear…


    To add to my last post, in response to Squeak – thanks for the encouraging post. My wife and I each take home respectable salaries. We live fairly simply in a nice, but modest home in the NY/NJ area. Yet I find myself struggling at times to just make the monthly bills, and all we have is a baby right now. Just COLA alone will get worse. I look into my family’s financial future and see the strong probability of strained finances until both my wife and I are in the grave amu”sh. It’s disheartening, when you make a good living and work like a dog, and I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks this way.

    And let’s not shrei “shver to be a yid!!” The tuition crisis is of our own making; we’ve ignored the economic consequences for far too long and will be paying the price soon. HKBH created the world, and everything in it – the laws of physics, biology, etc – and economics.


    Dr. Pepper

    Not sure how well this will work but the idea just popped into my head.

    When I was single, in Yeshiva full time and college part time I was approached by a Yeshiva and asked to teach for 45 minutes a day. (The principal had already checked to make sure I was legally qualified.)

    Although I was paid the same amount as other teachers my expenses were minimal (probably $10 a week) and I would have taken the job for a mere fraction of what they offered. I do feel that my experience as a teacher made me into a better parent (ok, ok at the expense of some one else’s kids…).

    Here’s the idea-

    What if the yeshivas and seminaries would encourage their students to volunteer (or work for a smaller paycheck) for a year or two after high school/ seminary/ Israel before they get married. It doesn’t even have to be teaching it could be cooking, cleaning or even making sure the lights and air-conditioning/ heating is turned off every night.


    BP Totty, I must have missed that. Don’t worry, I rarely take things too personal. I recognize that all schools have DIFFERENT strengths and weaknesses and we choose according to what is best for our children and families overall.

    EJ, we are sort of in the same boat. And its tough. BUT! If people would actively try to reduce their expenses, its amazing what can be cut. Meat and chicken most nights of the week? Cut out a lot of that and switch to beans for your protein – you’ll save a fortune. Cut out cleaning help? A few thousand a year. Turn off and unplug things when not in use – a few hundred a year. These “pennies” add up. I follow a blog called pennilessparenting about a woman in Israel with two little kids and how she lives below the poverty line debt free. Its amazing what she can do to save money. Sure its a lot harder working full time and not taking shortcuts, but we have to decide – is a Yeshiva education worth it to you? There are barebones schools out there for a lot less if you want to bus your kids. I don’t want to do that to them, so I pay the price.

    Dr. P – I’m not so sure that would work well. Perhaps though, if parents thought of scholarships as a loan instead of a smaller bill that would work. Repayment would start when your kids are out of high school. People would pay what they could afford every month once their kids are done until their bill was paid. This would also allow the schools to know that some extra money is coming in, even if it turns out to be $50/month or something. Perhaps it should even be tied into inheritence – if you have $100,000 to leave to your kids and owe $50,000 to the school, upon your death that should be paid first, followed by splitting it amongst your kids.


    BTW I think both schools AND parents need to learn to live with less.



    I don’t disagree. But what if you’re so busy, both spouses with full time, that you literally have no time for cleaning yourself? Do you let the condition of the house/apt go to pot? Or you spend every waking moment either cleaning or working? And cleaning help doesn’t have to cost thousands per year. But that’s not my point.

    So let’s say you’re saving $3.5-$4.5K per year in ‘extraneous’ expenses. That’s nickel and dimes compared to a full tuition burden for, say, 4-5 kids. So you’re still underwater, just not as much. So what have you really accomplished? And, no, tapping equity is not the funding answer because AS WE’VE SEEN real equity can disappear with terrifying speed.

    SJS, you’re making good points but we’re talking around the issue. The problem isn’t really what we spend as much as the horrid economics of the system we’ve built for ourselves. We can cut expenses to a point, but one property and/or income tax hike could wipe those savings off the map and we’re right back to square one. The issue really is that tuition costs too much for your average family living in the US. The cost structure based on the infrastructure is flawed. The continued delusion that we can expect average families to pay 60%-70% of after tax income on tuition while being able to afford to live without worrying themselves into a heart attack is ludicrous, ESPECIALLY with all the other (albeit smaller) financial burdens being frum entails.

    The issue is that it’s UNREALISTIC to expect all frum families here to sell all their cars, ditch all cell phones, bunk 3 to a room and crowd into a 500 sq ft house and never, ever spend a penny on relaxation ever again in order to afford tuition. People need relaxation and leisure – not being able to relax carries serious health risks. People have the right to spend MODESTLY on relaxing activities and pursuits. The problem is that tuition costs too much money. The problem isn’t that we ALL spend too much.


    SJS, in asking “is a Yeshiva education worth it to you?” you’re asking the wrong question. Sure it’s worth it, in theory! But if it comes at such a steep cost that it means sleepless nights and mass hypertension, is it REALLY worth it? I’m not doubting its necessity, just it’s WORTH in its current state. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “if only my tuition were lower, I could sleep at night” from friends, acquaintances and colleagues. We all put on a good show and facade in public, in shul, at the shabbos table, but in reality, many, many of us are hurting inside and carrying full time, unhealthy stress because the question of “but isn’t it worth it?” is being asked instead of the statement “it’s no longer affordable in its current state” being said.

    We need to alter the focus in the whole discussion. Please see my previous post where I ask what’s more important to yahadus – schools or families. Your posts operate with the assumption that the status quo is fine and WE need to change. That may be true – but only a in small part. We don’t need to change as much as the entire structure needs overhaul.



    EJ, public schools are funded around $18-19,000 per child. Is $15,000 too much? Sure public schools have lots of extracurricular activities but Yeshivas have a dual curriculum.

    Yes its too much of our take home pay. Schools can’t cut back THAT much.

    People have a right to spend their money however they want. If you value a yeshiva education, you will cut back on all necessary expenses unless someone else is willing to foot the bill.

    I also think a problem is that tuition has built in scholarship. Lets say cost per student is really $12,000/child but the school knows that at that price point, 20% of the student body will ask for scholarships. So they raise the price to $15,000/child and now 23% ask for scholarships. The school has still come out ahead! If you have 4 kids, that $3,000/child is a large factor.


    and by the way, I think if every family really scrimped it could come out closer to $8-10,000 a year for an average family.

    I don’t have cleaning help. Most of my friends do. That’s a few thousand right there. Yes, my house is not as clean, but I am saving up for tuition costs. My son is starting a year from September.


    EJ is again absolutely correct. The issue of tapping equity is ridiculous. It is only due to a complete lack of financial sophistication that one could suggest such a thing*.

    Going into debt for recurring expenses is a financial disaster. It is alright to take out debt for large non recurring expenses (e.g. buying a house or car, financing a wedding or a move, etc) as long as you expect future income to cover it. But debt for predictable, recurring expenses is a big no-no. It can only lead to bankruptcy.

    The only solution is for tuition to be an amount that can be afforded year after year based on actual after-tax earnings. Tuition has to be capped at a level that more than 75% of families can afford based on earnings. The schools must find a way to live on this amount, no excuses. If that means 35 kids in a class, used textbooks, A/C at 73 degrees, and no landscaping, then so be it. It will be no worse than the current state.

    *The only sound reasoning for suggesting that one taps equity is to prevent clever people from hiding assets by paying down a mortgage.


    P.S. For folks such as SJS, there can always be a ‘rich man’s school’. No problem with that. The problem is that every school today is a rich man’s school.


    Squeak, you think schools in Lakewood charging $5,000 a child is a “rich man’s school”?

    If there were a better option for me, that didn’t require busing my 3 year old 45 minutes away then I would look into it. I haven’t seen that.

    My kids won’t be attending Frisch (HS) because I can’t afford $25,000 a year.

    EJ, maybe the question should be “What is a Yeshiva education worth to you?” I understand your point, and I stress out about paying for tuition even though my family tells me not to. I am NOT rolling in dough. Of course families are more important than Yeshiva – we need good, solid stable families. Would you be willing to send your children to a Lakewood type school if it were 1/3 of the price and affordable?


    SJS, I don’t care about how public schools are funded. I care about yeshivos and our chinuch funding structure. (Actually, I do care about PS – my gargantuan property tax bill helps fund it. So I’m actually paying 1.5X – I assume not all of your 15K figure is funded by my tax – for my kid’s education).

    Again the wrong focus. Why are we ignoring the elephant in the room!!!??? We are ASKING THE WRONG QUESTIONS AND MAKING THE WRONG statements. I don’t care how PS is funded AS MUCH as I care about yeshiva since, if I had 4 kids and paid 10K in property tax, my yeshiva bill will FAR outstrip my tax bill. The whole system is more of a problem that what we’re spending COMMUNALLY. yes, I think weddings can get too fancy and pesach spending on cruises is disgustingly luxurious, but the beauty of a market economy is that spending may be largely “in-house” (ie, within the community – it’s usually frum ppl who own catering businesses for example) and that trickles around the communal economy. That spending is also discretionary, while tuition is not – I can turn the spending spigot off if I want when I deem it unaffordable, and economic equilibrium can be maintained. MANDATING unaffordable spending, on the other hand, is a recipe for disaster.

    The ECONOMIC structure is almost completely flawed. For example, determining socially what is and isn’t a valid ‘extraneous’ expense vis a vis who qualifies for what discount is a ridiculous way of making chinuch ‘affordable’ and is going down a very, very slippery slope. It’s completely unfair to make one’s committment to chinuch hinge solely on cutting living expenses to the BONE and living on bread and rice, walking all over the place while ditching the car, cell phone, and budgeting for some of the expenses that bring a little bit of comfort an joy into our otherwise stressful and busy lives (a new sheitel once in a blue moon, going out to eat on a birthday, buying a little something for our wives, buying a beautiful new sefer, etc etc etc etc etc). Not wanting to live like a complete ascetic does NOT mean you don’t value tuition – spare me the righteous quid pro quos.


    SJS, not being in the education market myself, I am unaware of what it is that Lakewood schools are compromising relative to Frisch to create such a disparity. I can only assume that the Lakewood schools are sacrificing education.

    If they are sacrificing education, then their tuition could be further lowered by consolidating and eliminating waste from their expenses. I am imagining these schools have little or no secular education, but run heat and a/c at excessive levels, have small classes and have resource rooms. So I wouldn’t call it a rich man’s “school” but it is a rich man’s “single subject school”. Frisch probably spares no expense in any regard.

    I am thinking of tuition takkanos a la chasuna takkanos.


    EJ my point about public school was that Yeshivas are not necessarily spending excessively. Is there waste? I am sure of it. But not in the $10,000 range per student.

    Yes our communities have started spending excessively. Tuition is NOT mandatory – neither is buying fancy sheitels and clothing, owning a new car etc etc etc. You can homeschool your kids. Or send them to a cheaper school. There ARE places out there if you want to find it. I’m not sure what “righteous quid pro quos” I’m spewing. If each family could come up with a few thousand more a year, wouldn’t that help the school? Tuition would be lowered because less people would be on scholarship. According to my cousin 40-50% of the kids in school are on scholarship (roughly 30% of the families). The more EACH FAMILY can contribute, the better economic health of the school. I don’t think its unfair for me to say “I’m cutting out XYZ luxuries to avoid a scholarship” and expect others to do as well.

    Squeak, Lakewood schools have very minimal general studies education (at least in boy schools). Girls schools also have a more balanced general studies curriculum but lack facilities, labs and other resources.

    When I was in school, there was no air-conditioning. Is that standard nowadays?

    So we’ve established that community wide tuition is a problem. Many families cannot afford it.

    So, how do we establish a system where families can afford it? Money has to come from somewhere.


    EJ, public schools are funded around $18-19,000 per child. Is $15,000 too much? Sure public schools have lots of extracurricular activities but Yeshivas have a dual curriculum.

    I’m not sure you can make a valid comparison here. Public schools (at least in NYC — and I’d be surprised to find it’s different anywhere else in the US) are required to teach children who are severly handicapped — both physically and mentally. Costs for those children are MUCH higher than the cost for a standard child. If we exclude them from the equation, I’m sure the cost to educate a “fully abled” public school kid is less than the figure you quoted.

    The Wolf


    Wolf, maybe. But you think its driving the cost up 100%? So tuition without that would be clsoer to $10,000? I find that a little hard to believe, but I could be wrong.



    A voice of reason in the wilderness. Thanks.

    Agreed 100% on your response to using equity to fund schools. I would add as a corollary that tapping equity to fund, say, a kitchen remodel might not be a bad idea either, though it has a recurring expense element – ie debt payments – since that kitchen THEORETICALLY will add more equity and value to the house.

    Off that tangent – SJS, if we all scrimped BIG TIME we may very well scrape up that amount – to fund a sinking ship. Who’d want to do THAT? The problem is the cost and structure itself – not the amount we spend!!! In a few years, tuition, tax and inflation increases may very well wipe out that savings – then what, hmmm???

    I fail to understand why discussion of hard dollars and cents economics must go out the window when we discuss the sacred cow of chinuch? We don’t have the luxury of just spend spend spend spend on chinuch these days. The structure and modality need altering. Why is it that few are seemingly paying attention to K-12, NNJKids, or Yeshivas Ohev Shalom in LA? They may not be perfect or have the Answer, but they are trying to shift the discussion’s focus from slapping our heads and moaning “oy, what can we do” to “let’s explore alternate ways of funding and thinking about our children’s chinuch.

    The Torah says we must be mechanech our children. The Torah also says one need not become impoverished to fulfill a mitzva. If you can’t afford, realistically afford tuition, you’re impoverished. If you spend more than you take in, you’re running down the garden path to poverty.


    EJ, I have no problem with K-12. I think NNJ Kids is just taking the same money realistically and spreading it around. The people who are willing to donate ALREADY DO. If my husband wasn’t against homeschooling, I would totally get on board. (Although, I’m not 100% sure K-12 is certified in NJ?)

    I don’t know about the school in LA – what are they doing?



    When I was in school, we had no air conditioning at home either, never mind in school! I assume it is standard today.


    EJ: But no one is willing to tell a child that they can’t attend due to cost problems.

    How about this for size: A “public” jewish school, open to all, funded by the schools in the community (tax deduction passed on to the parents?). 40 child classes, etc. but no or minimal tuition.

    Parents like SJS who care about the education of their children will work and pony up the extra funds for a “current system” yeshiva, while those who can’t (or wont) will no longer be able to send to the current Prep school system, lowering the student count in the more expensive schools as well as total cost of the system.


    The way to establish a system that works is to eliminate donation dependency. Schools should not depend on donations to survive and neither should parents.

    The problem is not in fixing the percent of income that can be afforded, but in fixing a per child amount. A family with 7 children cannot afford to pay more tuition than a family with 6 children, and that is the problem here. More kids <> more income, ergo, more kids = more scholarship. Every tuition bill requires personal tailoring, and that’s a problem.

    Tuition per child needs to be fixed at an amount that is affordable on a per child basis, considering the ability to pay of a high percentage of member families (I made up 75% as a figure). Schools must live with that amount, whatever it is. Families that do not earn enough to pay for all their children will need to do one of two things:

    a) Raise their personal shortfall by soliciting tax deductible donations

    b) Home school one or more children for all or part of the day so that the final tuition bill is in their means.

    I don’t see why 75% of families (or more) have to break their backs to provide to their children something neither they nor their neighbor can afford.

    With all the kvetching about money spent on weddings and bar mitzvahs, you would think that someone could think of relating that argument to the school. After all, schools are much larger scale than individuals and should be a more worthwhile endeavor.


    GAW, a couple of years ago, a group got together to talk about that and gauge interest. It never moved forward because people didn’t want to send their kids to an inferior school. [tuition was going to be around $7-8,000 per child, a bargain in NNJ]


    GAW –

    Tada! You said it exactly.


    Squeak, what you are advocating means only the rich can either have kids or send their kids to yeshiva.


    GAW – that’s not a bad idea.

    SJS, I understand your response. But maybe we should really sit and think whether the “prep” place really is inferior based on what we’re trying to accomplish


    Oh it wasn’t me who lacked interest. I would definitely consider a school where the education was good but not stellar.

    My only problem is that I went to a decent elementary school. I was bored stiff. I was always ahead of what the class was doing and I would do other things in class (like reading books under my desk). I don’t want my kids trapped that way. It gave me very lazy habits in life – I put so little effort in because I learnt it didn’t really matter. It helped promote my lazy side which I really struggle with to this day.


    SJSinNYC: Why give them a choice?

    Given the choices of sending to a prep or non prep school for the same costs, 99.9% will send to the prep school.

    Now if you are telling me that the parents would have sent to public school, that is a different (sad) story.

    But that’s why they call it blackmail and bluffing.


    GAW, the choice was to start a Teaneck school for $7-8000 per student. That’s half of the cost of most Teaneck schools.


    There is no solution that most people are looking for. Any way you slice and dice it, at the end of the day the rich will subsidize the poor. That fact will not change.

    No tax system in the world charges a flat tax (i.e. $8,000) per person. (Even the Steve Forbes style proposed “flat tax” is based upon a percentage of income.) Like taxes, the Yeshiva tuition system is also based on need. The Jewish community (in Europe, etc.), when it had authority to tax Jews (which is where Jewish schooling was funded from), always taxed based upon ability — not a flat figure.

    This will not change regardless of any amount of discussion. If anyone were to propose the IRS start charging per person or per family regardless of income, there idea would (rightfully) never be given the light of day or taken seriously by people.


    volvie: Of course. That is not even within the realm of possibility. The poor CAN NOT be allowed to go to public school, Chas V’Shalom.

    SJS: who said no? The current schools, the full paying parents or the subsidized parents?


    Ability to pay is a private matter. No one has the right to know that information unless it is offered.

    SJS – You missed what I said entirely. The tuition has to be set at a rate that every average family can afford. It is not a school for rich families at all.


    A rate that the average family can afford is not the same as (the effectively impossible) setting a rate that every family can afford.

    The number you threw out as the average affordability was 75%. What about the other 25% of children/families? If both parents are working, or if it is a one parent family, home schooling isn’t an option. And if one parent stops working to home school some of the children (which isn’t even a possibility for the one parent family), their income goes down and their ability to afford tuition and everything else goes down further.


    GAW – no one (across the board) was really interested. Certainly not enough people to establish an entire school.

    Squeak, according to my cousin, 30% of families are on scholarship. You would have to make it so that 90% could afford the school in order for it to really work.

    FWIW, I think homeschooling (with a possible Talmud Torah setting) might be the best answer.


    A rate that 75% can afford without losing sleep does not mean that the other 25% can’t afford it at all.

    Let me make up some numbers here. Let’s say it is reasonable to expect a family has 100K income. If you divide the number of children in school by the number of families, you have a rough idea of how many children there are per family (of course, some adjustment for children in multiple schools is needed). Let’s say the average is 6 per family. It might be reasonable to arrive at $5K per child. This would mean that a family with 6 children in school pays $30K. If they earn 100K this is doable without debt. There would be some strain entering the budget for this family if they earned say, 85K or less.

    25% of families might have more children or less income or both. They might decide to home school some children rather than find ways to pay, or they might not be able to homeschool. If they decide to send all their kids to school then they will have to apply for scholarship (from voluntarily donated money, like respectable institutions do, not like yeshivos do now), or raise money for the school through dinner campaigns, or trade services to the school, or a thousand other options. Or, they might live in debt. But the point is that 75% have no sweat.


    Squeak, I could live with that.

    But I can’t imagine running a school with that little money.

    Do you charge extra for extracurriculars then? Like your child wants to take an extra AP class – you pay extra and those who don’t want it or can’t afford it can’t take it?


    squeak, And what if the voluntarily donated money for the 25 or whatever percent who still cannot afford it does not materialize voluntarily?


    That little money? Let’s play some more with the numbers.

    Assume the school is full. Put 30 students in a class, each paying 5000. Each class is 150K in revenue. I see no difficulty in staffing the class with a full day’s curriculum using 2/3 of the money or less. That leaves 50K per class to pay administrators, buy (used) textbooks, pay their share of housing expense of the school, etc. I further expect that this structure (fixed funding model) would lead to schools building an economies of scale to maximize efficiency of spending.

    My model for comparison is any charter school. Have a look at how they run. They receive a fixed amount per student and have no compunctions with cutting extra programs or classes due to budget limitations. Not so the public school system with its rubber budget, and unfortunately – the yeshivos who operate as though they have a rubber budget.


    SJSinNYC: I actually like the idea of paying extra for extra classes. My current school does do that (to a certain extent) and it can be expanded. You pay for college, why not AP?

    Also, if the 30% was told they can not attend the normal BC prep school, they would jump at the 8K school. They just don’t do it because they know they have another option.

    Squeak: Agree with SJS that the amount is too low. Try closer to 9K per child and soon the money runs out. Your numbers (after I submitted) don’t include many fixed costs, as well as a normal salary for teachers once you take away their tuition break.

    Volvie: That’s why we need a community funded school. (In addition to your own good point) What if the child is 1 of 10, and the parents can’t take the time to help? Or a Yasom?

    It’s difficult to ask everyone to pitch in (as some can’t), and once you make exceptions, everyone expects to get one.



    Out of the 25%, probably half of them could do it if they strained themselves the way people are straining today. For the other half (including kollel, rabbinate, or other families with lower income) if there is no scholarship money available then they are forced to solicit funds directly. This too, is no different from the obligations that schools place on their parent body except that in this case most parents would be exempt.

    Personally, I think donations would be plentiful, even from tuition paying parents. Think about the upper 25% instead of the lower 25. These families are either high income or families with few children and decent income. They are probably comfortable enough and happy with the tuition levels so that they would voluntarily want to help the lower 25. Plus there are alumni, grandparents, and businesses who will all look for tax deductions from time to time. This model can work.


    squeak, Is it really realistic to expect you can set a flat per child tuition rate that 75% can comfortably afford and another 12.5% can meet with straining? Right now most people are straining and perhaps 12.5% can comfortably afford. To achieve your objective, you will have the seemingly (to me) impossible task of setting such a tuition rate.

    And if the family’s sincere attempt to directly solicit funds is unsuccessful (i.e. during hard economic times), will the children be thrown out of Yeshiva to the streets or PS? If not (and it is obvious that not), you are (at least partially) back to where you started.

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