Affordable Tuition: Paths Forward

Screenshot: Private School Review

By Gabe Aaronson

In Part 1 of Kol HaBirah’s investigative series on Jewish day school tuition, we explored how the high cost of a day school education affects the Jewish community, and what supports local schools and institutions currently have in place. In Part 2, we identified some of the different challenges faced by Orthodox versus non-Orthodox schools as well as schools in the DC metro area versus schools in Baltimore.

For the third and final part of the series, we’ve sought out practical options for easing the financial burden on families while sustaining the diverse day school options our community has to offer.

Setting a Target

How much money would it take to have a noticeable impact on school and family finances? The experience of the Florida Jewish community can serve as a benchmark.

Florida’s school choice program provides about $1,980 per student to Florida’s Jewish day schools. The Florida program has made a tremendous impact for Jewish families and day schools, according Dr. Allan Jacob, president of TEACH Florida, a project of the Orthodox Union (OU). The additional money has enabled schools to hold tuition steady, improve school quality, and pay teachers on time, he said.

Based on Jewish day school enrollment figures from the National Center for Education Statistics and IRS and survey data used earlier in this series, raising an additional $2,000 per student would cost $5.5 million annually in the DC area (a 7.4 percent increase in per-student spending) and $8.4 million in the Baltimore area (a 17.5 percent increase in per-student spending).

What are the practical options for securing an additional $2,000 per student per year for Jewish day schools in Greater Baltimore and Greater Washington?

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