Changing Christian School Paradigms: A New Philosophy for a New Day
It is essential that schools look for significant ways to avoid failures of the past, which namely boil down to finances. For years, we have given away money we have not had, forgiven tuition debts, undercharged, under-filled classrooms, over-filled classrooms, offered discounts for anything, and basically under-priced ourselves in hopes of attracting and maintaining enrollment.
Here is a new adoptable philosophy. Feel free … make it yours!
As a ministry philosophy, we will seek to attract and integrate students from various socio-economic strata. We will no longer target prospective parents by economics, whether by design or thoughtless implementation.
As a ministry philosophy and stewardship policy, our full tuition charge will not only cover the entire out-of-pocket cost to educate a child. It will include a margin enabling us to better accomplish our educational mission into the future.
We set a goal that, to the greatest extent possible, no deserving child from a motivated family will be denied admission solely because their family lacks the necessary financial resources to pay our tuition. To accomplish this goal, we will grant both funded and unfunded scholarships, within pre-established limits necessary to maintain strong fiscal health.
To help insure the school’s educational quality, we will cap the maximum number of students in a classroom. We will think through these caps so well that we can openly share these rules with all our constituencies, using them as a marketing advantage.
Automatic discounts for sponsoring church members, multi-child families, and church workers will be dropped or phased out as quickly as possible. Further, we will forever delete the word “discount” from our vocabulary.
All financial aid will be needs-based, utilizing an objective, confidential, and verified third-party financial aid needs assessment process.
We will quit raising money for an operational deficit (aka “the gap”) and shift our annual fundraising largely to scholarships and occasional large-scale programmatic or capital improvements. We will focus less on fundraisers and more on the genuine philanthropy.
In short, we will carry out our mission to love our God, and our neighbor as ourselves, using our tuition, enrollment, and financial aid procedures as a profound Christian witness to our community.
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