Are Yeshivas Charging Too Much? πŸ•πŸ•πŸ”ŒπŸ”Œβš‘βš‘πŸ“²

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  • This topic contains 37 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  kitov 2 years ago.
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  • #1271739

    BenK
    Participant

    This is a letter from a parent of several children in yeshivas. We have trouble financially and even qualify for government assistance. Yet the yeshivas are charging us such that we don’t know how we can manage. Besides the agreed tuition amounts we also are pressed to pay about $500 for school lunches per child because the school “needs” to order catered food, about $500 per child for shabbatons and trips and of course about $500 for registration. In contrast public schools are free with free lunches.
    I understand Baruch Hashem many members go to hotels in Florida or Las Vegas for several Yomim Tovim and have new cars for each family member. But what should struggling families do? Are the yeshivas truly taking adantage of the free aid given to private schools to alleviate the burden on struggling but loyal Jewish families? Is there a need for coach bus trips to ther states a few times a year or catered lunches when it can be free? Is this a community Yeshiva or a country club? When I was studying in yeshiva I did not realize it may be a “privilidged school”.

    #1271800

    The little I know
    Participant

    Perhaps the title of this thread is not reflective of the OP’s real question. I gather the OP means to ask, “How can we manage to tuition if we are not on a substantial income?” A corollary to that question is how to cope with the heavy and pressing demands of the yeshivas. But the question is not the same. The title implies that yeshivos charge too much. I am not the field of school administration, and I also doubt that any two schools will have very different profiles that would result in very different tuition scales.

    When I am short on money, everyone else appears to be rich. And when they ask me for anything, I judge it to be greed. No, that is not okay. But that is human nature, one of those midos we need to overcome.

    The real issue is that yeshivos have tended to use parents and their tuition obligations as an area of leverage. These yeshivos exist on a spine of donations, and many have a welcoming hand for government funding. They create budgets that include tuition, and this is the only piece where they can exert force. Yes, if the balance is outstanding, your child will be denied entry or admission. Nice, no. Menchlich? Of course not. Is this compatible with their stated mission of providing as much chinuch of the highest quality to as many talmidim as possible? No. But yeshivos are business as much as a professional, a grocery store, and any other private enterprise. And they can use this leverage because, well, because they can.

    Ideally, there would be a huge measure of tolerance to give a break to those parents who experience financial struggles. Again, midos we wish existed. Maybe some yeshivos do behave this way. Some food stores and take outs do function this way, and these are praiseworthy. But the average store does not allow poor people to shoplift, and the average yeshiva does not tolerate those who do not pay tuition. Again, what is fair? My opinion won’t matter much.

    My advice, focus on what you do have, and do your best at living up to your responsibility to provide chinuch to your children. It is not your business or mine that other parents take vacations or have nice cars.

    #1271854

    BenK
    Participant

    I do not complain that others may go to hotels in different states or other countries several times a year. Many do not and if you can afford it Great. Excellent. Its your full right.
    But if Torah Schools are the RESPONSABILITY OF KEHILAS YAAKOV should Innocent Jewish children and their stressed parents suffer if PERHAPS yeshivas cater to families that have no trouble paying for CATERED LUNCH for each child and School Trips of about $500 per child or similar things that May have been considered. MANY families struggle paying many thousands of dollars for tuition – and Quite a FEw struggle a lot. Can you direct me to ther POORER Jews Yeshivas then!?

    #1271869

    BenK
    Participant

    Also, regarding your reference to shoplifting – we are respectable working families who ourselves have been in yeshivas and regularly attend shiuriim and davening. When I post about tuition which is hard for most middle class families it is because we dont know how we can afford to enroll all our innocent Jewish children and very much want to but are concerned. May some view some yeshiva administrations as respectable while families that show they can not afford what they are asking for are ignored. If you cant pay too bad. Thats what I meant by is this a country club or as Rabbi Wolbe called yeshivas – Binyanei HaUma Molders of the Nation!

    #1271866

    Joseph
    Participant

    It sounds like you’re talking about certain out of town schools, perhaps leaning more modern, rather than in town schools.

    #1271865

    Joseph
    Participant

    TLIK, I don’t know which circles you are part of, but the average yeshivos and beis yaakovs do not refuse children from returning to school due to parental outstanding tuition obligations. Many, at most, won’t send the parents the graduation certificate, but otherwise the children themselves won’t know about the outstanding balance or any consequence thereof.

    #1271884

    BenK
    Participant

    Not to get too specific I live in Flatbush. The boys wear hats. And children may see their stressed parents and budgeting to afford what they need. Perhaps wondering how much can be alleivated by using the aid from government and perhaps not catering lunch when it can be Free or needing $250 and $250 or so trips per child per year on top of the tuition.

    #1272042

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I wont comment if they are charging too much, but people are paying too much. Meaning the Schools have expenses to be paid, but that doesnt mean all parents can pay the money.

    If you dont have money for food, you buy cheaper food or buy less food, no such option really exists if you cannot afford yeshiva tutition

    #1272136

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    This historically has been a challenge for yiddeshe parents sending their children to yeshivos and beis Yaakov and it seems to be getting more difficult for parents today. Ultimately, yeshivos must function as a business enterprise and assure their financial viability to serve their respective “markets”. Yes, a yeshiva serves a defined segment of the frum tzibur based on their parents’ hashkafah etc. In some locations outside NYC, Lakewood and Monsey, there may be only a single Yeshiva serving that market, but even in those cases, that yeshiva must accommodate the needs of a diverse range of yidden, in some cases including conservative, MO, yeshivish, etc. and straddle the usual chassidish/Litvish boundaries. In each case, they must calibrate the “demand curve” for their product (aka chinuch in torah and whatever secular studies are required by local law) in terms of what parents can afford to pay for the “product” they will offer. They must also develop a business plan of sorts (formal or informal) to assure they can cover their expenses. This is not a “Field of Dreams” where you open the school and blindly assume the Ebeshter will cover your operating losses with a monthly check from Shamayim. There will always be some parents who may not be able to afford the School’s tuition and part of the School’s cost and expense analyssis must consider how much to allow for “scholarships” and how much “uncollectible” tuition to plan for. At some point, however, they must draw a hard line in the sand and say that without payment of tuition (or agreement to budget plan to pay overdue balances), a student can no longer be accommodated. To do otherwise, would risk the ability of the school to serve ALL students going forward. Its great to be able to bring down a vert from chazal regarding the “obligation” for yeshivos to educate the students without regard to payment of tuition, for the rabbonim to work without pay etc. but ultimately, you cannot pay your bills and keep the doors open by quoting chazal…you need for the check to clear the bank.

    #1272141

    Joseph
    Participant

    Are you suggesting that the only school in town draw a hard line and “not accommodate” local Jewish children whose parent is, say, unemployed or under-employed and simply cannot pay the minimum tuition no matter how hard you squeeze them since the money simply doesn’t exist, thus forcing the frum yiddishe kinder of those mishpachas to the local non-Jewish public school to grow up with daily nivel peh, retzicha, giluy aroyos, drugs, crime and avoda zora so that they eventually become frei themselves?

    #1272145

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    BenK…………
    I’m older, live OOT, my children are all older, my grandchildren attend day school OOT>>>BUT
    I’ve been on the Board of Day Shools and Yeshivos for decades.

    There are certain foods that they can receive as surplus from the US Dept of Agriculture to use for to feed students. NOT all students meet the Government requirements for ‘free lunch’ and the school would have to charge others.
    The local day school all my kids went to switched to a catering company when it became cheaper than cooking in the school. The days of one bubbe manning the school kitchen are gone. Now with local health department inspections, schools required to have their staff graduates of a ServSafe program, salary and benefits for the employees, costs of kitchen equipment, washing equipment and plates, cutlery, etc. Government nutritional requirements on the ,eal served (whole grains, lo or no fat milk, veg and fruit servings. Problems that the Govt. surplus food may have a hechsherf that the school admin won’t use. We found it much cheaper to have a catering company bring in meals in disposable trays that simply need to be heated and everything gets tossed in the trash each day, no washing anything,

    #1272159

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    To CT Lawyer:
    Last week, in one of his first formal actions after being confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue announced he was cancelling a bunch of Obama rules governing school lunch programs and would allow foods with higher sodium, less whole grain and no longer require a Badatz hashgacha for school cafeterias. Perhaps if you wait a few weeks, the school can “bring back Bubbe” to run the lunch program.

    #1272169

    BenK
    Participant

    I wanted to clarify I understand many Yeshivas and girls schools have tight budgets and its ashame we pay taxes for public schools while our schools dont get nearly as much funds for the nonReligous subjects and services of the schools. And of course our community has so many fine wonderful philanthropic parents , some who go to hotels and some who dont, πŸ˜‰ I was just anxious due to the pressing tuition issue personally for my family here in Brooklyn. I was concerned how we can financially manage it – not sure what more proof (if it matters even) one can bring beyond 1040’s or the like. As I also pointed out earlier in this thread – it seems at least perhaps by my boy and girls schools perhaps there can be more trimming of expenses. and sensitivity with trip plannings and the like. TO help bring down the burden on the struggling parents side.

    #1272194

    Joseph
    Participant

    You mean that until Obama became president higher sodium and less whole grain was okay? And Nanny Obama saved our children’s health?

    #1272318

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    Just because the Federal Government changes their requirements doesn’t mean that northeastern Blue states will,
    There is no Federal Equal Rights Amendment, but it’s part of the CT, MA and NY state Constitutions as an example.

    #1272336

    Joseph
    Participant

    Where does the NYS Condition have an ERA?

    #1272337

    Joseph
    Participant

    Err, Constitution. (Autocorrect.)

    #1272568

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    Article 1 Section 11 (Equal Protection of laws) was amended in 2001 to add the words ‘or her’ to his in apply rights and protection from discrimination.

    #1272602

    golfer
    Participant

    Thelittleik, you rendered your post entirely irrelevant by comparing parents who won’t pay full tuition to shoplifters.
    ?!?!

    #1272649

    Joseph
    Participant

    Okay, I remember that. But that isn’t an ERA and that was merely a cosmetic change that changed nothing legally from a practical point since women were already considered covered even without “her”.

    #1272726

    Kotlorism
    Participant

    To answer the question directly: Yes. they are charging too much. They should open their books for everyone to see.

    #1273009

    bk613
    Participant

    @kotlorism the only way you could possibly know that is if you are an administrator of a yeshiva/Bais yakov in Lakewood. But based on your short posting history on ywn I am willing to bet you are not.

    #1277671

    BenK
    Participant

    Ideally our community needs a “Town Hall”. There are families of different means in our lovely community. B”H we have people of means who help others tremendously beyond the call of duty in charity whether HAtsala or the poor or yeshivas. Then on the other end there are decent hard working financially struggling families. Besides Tuition for each child from nursery through 12th grade in the thousands there are Additional Undisucssed Fees Tagging Along As well! Each child ALSO needs to pay about $500 for CATERED LUNCH, about $500 for TRIPS susch as to other states or the country for a weekend or water rafting. (I understand there are many families that may travel several times a year to hotels across the country and trips to Europe and Israel a few times a year. IS the YESHIVA Catering to THEIR needs when they expect on top of tuition many hundreds more for the NEEDS of goging water rafting or snow tubing or camping during school season. In Europe or Israel or even 15 years ago in the USA did we have these added Expenses??? Who are the Yeshivas catering to? Is there not also CAMP EXPENSES families pay for in the summer as well???? Are the Yeshivas Really having in mind Affordability for EVERY JEWISH FAMILY???????? I WISH WE CAN HAVE A MEETING OR TOWN HALL. I am even willing to have “Working class family” Yeshivas for those that are Middle to Lower class families. THen the more well to do schools can even have trips to Israel and Switzerland.

    #1277710

    I am even willing to have β€œWorking class family” Yeshivas for those that are Middle to Lower class families. THen the more well to do schools can even have trips to Israel and Switzerland.

    But their tuition won’t be helping keep the cost of the working families’ tuition down.

    #1277724

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Join a chassidus. Send your kids to the yeshiva of that chassidus. I dont know about your kids getting the chinuch you want, but, the tuition will meet your needs as a parent.

    #1277846

    Joseph
    Participant

    They’ll get an excellent chinuch at those yeshivos. But perhaps they won’t become bokis in non-Jewish subjects like history, science and geography.

    #1277866

    apushatayid
    Participant

    I didnt comment one way or another on the quality of the chinuch.

    #1278776

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    Wrong you are……………
    NOT a cosmetic change, but an AMENDMENT extending equal rights to women. No need to write an additional amendment when amended existing language confers equal rights on women,

    An amendment is a change to the document. Some states require a new section,others such as Ny allow changes to language.

    #1280513

    Mammele
    Participant

    Benk: have you ever complained to the schools about the cost of trips etc. being too high?

    I also know someone who literally “bribes” her kids to not go on school trips. So say your kid desperately wants a new bike for example, offer to buy it instead of him going on the school trip. Or perhaps something cheaper like going out for ice-cream one on one with a parent. Whatever works. These trips are generally not mandatory.

    And if you’re not in the minority as a struggling parent, try to get the school to have the parents vote (now for next year) on how much they are willing to pay for school trips.

    If you’re willing to prepare lunches, you might be able to opt out of the catered lunch cost.

    Good luck!

    #1280527

    BenK
    Participant

    Thank you for your response. I meantr if schools can have FREE Lunch paid by the government maybe we dont the added expense of Catered Lunch. And regarding school trips they NEVER CONSIDER ASKING THE PARENTS FOR A VOTE. And Kids feel peer envy when the SCHOOL says there will be a School Trip. I also meant maybe the better financially doing parents can take their child with them when they go to other countries or states several times a year or can buy them catered food at home. πŸ™‚

    #1280621

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Can only speak for myself. Every Yeshiva administrator I have ever dealt with has always been mentchlich and reasonable. This included shabbaton fees and the like.

    #1281281

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    BenK…Let me put responses to your questions/statements/plight together in a cohesive answer<

    There is no such thing as a FREE lunch. Schools not charging students for lunch receive some USDA surplus food at no charge to use in making the meals, BUT the school (if private) or school system and taxpayers pay the rest of cost of cooking and serving those lunches. Ingredients, labor, equipment, utilities.

    Yeshivos and Day Schools cannot allow students to bring lunch from home (imagine the politics and insults in allowing food from one house and not another). It may be cheaper to use an outside vendor (caterer) than to make lunch in the school (economy of scale). Would it make you feel better if the annual school fee was $500 higher instead of seeing a bill for lunches $500?
    Don’t equate ‘caterer’ school lunches with the $150 per plate meal at a chasunah.

    Field trips and high costs. NO, the schools don’t ask parents. Get involved in the parents association and offer to help plan these things. It may be that the current group of parents helping to plan are those who can easily afford ‘high’ priced trips and a different point of view is needed. The school authorities will not buck their biggest donors, the other parents must join in the planning and be represented.
    Our grandson’s school sponsored a trip to Great Adventure last Friday. They were charging $100. Because CT state law does not allow school trips in ‘yellow’ school buses to out of state locations, they had the high cost of chartered coaches. My daughter and son-in-law, said no, they got other parents together to also say no. The trip was cancelled for lack of response. Instead, there is an instate trip to a go-kart track and sports venue this Sunday. Cost $20. Mrs. CTL and I are providing coolers full of cold drinks and bagged snacks for less than the cost for 2 students to have gone to Great Adventure.

    #1281325

    huju
    Participant

    The only way to know how yeshivas should set their tuition is to see their financial statements, prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principals, and additional information about “executive compensation,” i.e., what is paid to principals, board members and other persons who control the yeshivas. Until we have that information, discussions of tuition are little more than uniformed kibitzing.

    #1281357

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    The reality is that many frum parents show up at yeshivot with a mindset that the posted tuition is a “starting point for negotiation” and that its up to the yeshiva to figure out how to accommodate their kids within the budgets they have allocated. They view a yeshiva education as more of an entitlement (just like a public school education) than a obligation on their own parts to secure and pay for. While most frum parents of lesser economic means are greatly appreciative of the scholarships and grants they receive and allow their kids to be admitted, most schools administrators will tell you that a small handful of frum parentsroutinely take up the percentage of their time and are the loudest and most-confrontational on tuition-related issues.

    #1282649

    apushatayid
    Participant

    did anyone tune into the oorathon where they supposedly discussed this very topic with a number of yeshiva administrators (i didnt).

    #1283013

    kitov
    Participant

    I think yeshivas should look for ways to save money and thereby lower tution .
    One of the the ways to save money would be to fire secular studies teachers and tape secular studies lessons and have students learn from these tapes well enough to pass the test

    #1283496

    apushatayid
    Participant

    while your at it, skip the tapes and forget secular studies altogether and save a few more dollars.

    #1285303

    kitov
    Participant

    apushatayid name one yeshiva that has been able to drop the secular studies program in North America.
    Many rosh yeshivas don’t like to teach secular studies .
    If they could forget secular studies all together they surely would.

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