Thank you to Dvorah Vaynman for your important commentary in last week’s Link, “The Humiliation of Applying for Yeshiva Tuition Assistance.” I hope a member of the scholarship committee will respond, as the process does seem to be shrouded in mystery. However, the reality of the problem is that we do not have enough scholarship dollars available to cover the need in the community. As a community, we raise millions of dollars per year for scholarships, and that is still not enough to cover the expense of educating all of our children.
I would like to call on the schools and the scholarship committees to commit to transparency about the financing of Jewish education, so that parents can make realistic and timely choices for their families. Many of our schools are still promising to educate all students without regard for parents’ ability to pay, but that is no longer the reality at most of our schools. And worse, parents are out of time and options when they find this out.
1. Schools—please announce tuition for the coming year at the time of registration. Parents should not commit to a school without knowing what the cost will be. Note that this cost should be the all-in cost, including mandatory expenses like school shabbatonim and school supplies.
2. Schools and committees—please publish formulas for determining need, provide information about scholarship funds available for the school and share projections about the expected need. This will allow parents to make an informed decision about whether to put themselves through the process of applying in the first place and whether they will be able to fund their children’s education even with a scholarship. This transparency will help reduce the considerable effort of the scholarship committee, as only parents who are eligible will apply for scholarships.
3. Schools and committees—please notify parents about scholarship awards with enough time for students to transfer to other schools, if funding is insufficient.Leah Greengart