The “Helping Hand” project addresses the challenge of affordability among middle-income families. Many of these families struggle to pay full day school tuition fees and usually lack the financial safety nets from which lower-income families benefit, such as Federation and State assistance. Consequently, Jewish education for these families becomes financially and emotionally taxing and places them at a higher risk of attrition.
This program offers a tuition reduction to families whose total tuition is greater than 10% of their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). In addition to addressing the middle-income affordability challenge, Helping Hand works to increase tuition revenue by reducing the number of middle income families applying for and receiving more substantial scholarships, thereby utilizing “saved” scholarship funding to recruit and enroll new children to TA, as well as offering incentives for middle-income families to enroll younger siblings in TA.
Offering tuition reduction to professional families will result in increased enrollment by the very parents who can afford to pay a significant percentage of their tuition bill. Additionally, it is these exact families that provide among the greatest amount of volunteer time to school, including working as board members, executive board members, heads of the PTO, and volunteers for multiple fundraising endeavors of the school. It seems clear that the value of the time volunteered by these particular families far exceeds the cost of tuition reductions.
Initial responses from Helping Hand’s first operating year have been overwhelmingly positive from beneficiary families, as well as the board and school administration. TA is now seeking to expand Helping Hand to reach more families and increase enrollment during the next three school years. Thus far, TA succeeded in accruing an additional $100,000 in tuition dollars.
Helping Hand will serve as a vital tool over the next three years in helping the school maintain its current levels of enrollment and in recruiting new students to the school. The school intends to encourage Helping Hand families to direct their discretionary charitable contributions to the school now and in the future.
Torah Academy expects that tuition dollars will increase based on the results of the first year, and based on the feedback from families currently receiving this discount. In fact, the school already sees that families who have younger children are enrolling those children in earlier grades such as preschool or kindergarten rather than keep them home.
For more information please contact Debbie Romanoski at email@example.com