How Much Tuition Aid Is Enough?
Most Christian schools lose families when they raise tuition. They may not drop in enrollment, but they lose lower & middle-income families and gain higher income families. Why? Inadequate tuition aid. If your school is like most schools, you give away a lot of money – mostly to families with multiple children enrolled, or families who are employed at the school, or to pastor’s families. Tuition aid should be granted only for families who have demonstrated an actual need. How can this best be understood?
When tuition exceeds 7-10% of a family’s net monthly income it becomes difficult for them to pay.
The primary factors that influence whether it’s 7% or 10% are the school’s actual tuition and the area’s cost of housing.
For example, if your school’s tuition is around $5,000, then single-child families making less than $4,500 monthly are going to need help paying tuition
Determining the budget for tuition aid can be difficult, let’s take a look at some valuable information to help in making that decision One Rule of Thumb If you increase your tuition without increasing tuition aid, many lower and middle-income families may still re-enroll because
They are strongly committed to a Christian education for their children,
They probably don’t know how much they can really afford. Most don’t.
The board may then say, “See, we didn’t need more tuition assistance.” Unfortunately, these families will be able to pay a higher tuition until someone gets sick, their car breaks down, they need their teeth cleaned, or their house needs a new furnace. The point is, they can only postpone these other expenses for so long, without adequate aid—they will eventually leave. How Much Should Aid Increase? Raising your tuition aid budget correctly can be tricky to figure out. We recommend that if your tuition is less than $7,500, you should increase your tuition assistance budget 1.5X over your tuition increase. If your tuition is $7,500 or more, you should increase your tuition assistance 2X over what you increase your tuition. Keep in mind that every time you increase tuition, the percentage of your school’s families who will need help paying tuition will increase, also. Let us Illustrate this. We recommend that your tuition assistance budget be between 12-15% of your overall budget and that you consider fundraising this amount each year from outside donors. This is one of the easier donation dollars to raise. *Budgets above are not recommendations, just examples. What Should You Do Now?
Determine how much of your budget is actually going to qualified needy families
Determine what percentage of your families need help through surveying school family demographics.
Commit to providing adequate assistance for need-qualified families and increasing your tuition assistance budget by a factor larger than you increase your tuition every year.
Make use of a third-party service in evaluating your families’ actual ability to pay tuition.
Our tuition aid verification program will help you understand what a family has available to pay for tuition. Set-up and annual dues are very inexpensive, and families pay a nominal fee to go through the process. Contact us for more information. © by SchoolRIGHT, LLC., unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved.