Thursday, January 7, 2010

How My Parents Paid (And Are Still Paying) For Tuition

As mentioned before, sending me and my 2 siblings to yeshiva was an incredibly difficult decision for my parents. In the end, my parents' decision to send us to yeshiva was primarily based on a family they admired at shul before we were born. My parents were incredibly impressed by how well-behaved and respectful the family's children were. Over the course of a conversation my parents asked the family what the secret was. The answer? Yeshiva education (Side note: how many parents would say this today?). Based on that, the die was cast. My parents moved to an Orthodox community, even though at the time they were more conservative/conservadox, and vowed to send their future children to yeshiva.

One of the reasons the decision was so hard is that my parents had next to no money. My grandparents were immigrants and worked menial jobs to support their families. My father had a low-paying job and my mother became a stay at home mom in order to care for the children (though she returned to work when my youngest sibling entered Pre-K).

Since my parents couldn't afford tuition, my parents requested a scholarship. I don't know the exact process, and my parents don't remember either after so many years, but they remember that it was incredibly invasive and embarrassing. Apparently everything was scrutinized and everything was questioned. In the end, my parents received about $500 off tuition. They didn't bother reapplying in subsequent years.

In the end, my parents paid for yeshiva by borrowing against their house. Every year my parents would further extend their home equity loan by the balance of what was due for yeshiva tuition. This was done for nearly two decades. Thankfully, my parents had the good sense to not put yeshiva tuition on their credit cards or the situation would be far worse. Nonetheless, a 30 year mortgage for about $60K taken out about 30 years still has over $100K left and won't be paid off for another 10 or so years (and this with my parents accelerating the payment schedule). For reference, my youngest sibling was last in yeshiva about 6 years ago.


Honestly Frum said...

The problem for many people in our community is that they have tapped out the equity in their homes, and when they did not (or did) the values have dropped significantly.

Tuition Talk said...

Very true.

Even if home equity loans are to be viewed as a solution or as part of a solution, there has to be equity to tap for the loan. Many people have seen the equity in their houses completely vanish as real estate prices have plummeted.

Furthermore, the bank has to be willing to lend the money, which banks are generally not willing to do nowadays in the current credit crunch.