Monday, February 8, 2010

Registration Fees and Parental Response

HonestlyFrum and Orthonomics have recently posted about or had comments posted about yeshiva registration fees.  Specifically, it seems that RYNJ (and I doubt they're the only yeshiva to engage in this practice), has sent out a bill to parents to re-register their children for the 2010-2011 school year without also providing how much tuition for the 2010-2011 school year will cost.

I am unsure if RYNJ or other yeshivas have engaged in this practice in the past, but the registration fees seem to be identical to what they were last year (Last year's rates were $950 by 3/13/09, $1100 by 7/1/09, and $1350 thereafter).  Additionally, if the historical analysis of JKHA tuition is any indication, registration fees remain remarkably stable from year to year.  As HonestlyFrum has pointed out, they are likely set at their relatively high rates to discourage parents from shopping around and play off of the fear that some parents may have that if they do not pay the fee immediately they will a) have to pay a higher non-early bird fee later or b) be locked out of the school as the yeshiva may choose to give away their slot.

In all honesty, I'm not as bothered by this as I thought I would be.  It's no secret what tuition is going to be this coming year.  It will be at least as much as tuition was last year and, most likely, will be higher.  My bet is the increase will be slightly less than average.  In other words, I expect most yeshivas to increase 3% or so as opposed to 7% or so.  In all likelihood this lesser increase is a one-time only affair and standard increases will follow in coming years.

I guess my acceptance of this practice has more to do with parental attitudes than feeling this is the upright and correct way for yeshivas to operate.  In fact, I think the practice stinks and is just another form of collusion the schools engage in to lower their risk exposure and keep prices high.  My attitude stems from a sense of cynicism towards the parents that seem to be complaining the loudest.  Orthonomics put it more kindly, but I think parents should "put up or shut up."  Complaining on these blogs is nice and cathartic, but it doesn't solve anything.  The very least you can do is call up the school your children attend and speak to the administrators.  Reading the blogs and the numerous comments I don't think I have seen more than a handful of people indicate any concrete action they have taken - not even a phone call let alone more "drastic" measures such as JFS (which is really about as turn-key a solution as you can get to the yeshiva crisis).

I don't understand why those complaining expect the yeshivas to turn around and say "What?  Parents are upset?  They think tuition is too high?  We had no idea anyone felt this way!  Assemble the board immediately, we have to make real changes right away!"  Or why people think lay leaders and rabbis will somehow save the day.  I have the utmost respect for Rabbi Glickman and the sentiments he conveyed, but sympathy is not a solution.

So, I urge parents to make your own change.  Vote with your wallet.  I am just here to post information and facilitate discussion on the issues.  I don't have children yet.  This blog, among other things, is a way for me to think through the yeshiva issue and plan adequately before it's too late, so to speak.  Those of you "in the parsha" don't have that luxury.

I know this post has been a bit rambling, but I'd like to hear why so much anger has resulted in such little action.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tuition 2009-2010 (Part 2)

Edits in red.
Just a brief update given some comments in the previous 2009-2010 yeshiva tuition post.  Tuition is calculated in the same manner as the previous post.

Pre-K $10,050
K $12,255
1st $12,255
2nd $12,255
3rd $12,255
4th $12,255
5th $12,255
6th $13,425
7th $13,425
8th $13,425
Family (Yearly) $1,625
Family (Once) $8,000

Tuition for Jewish Foundation School: $6,500 (no busing), $7,500 (local busing) and $8,500 (Bergen County busing).
Tuition for Yeshiva University High School for Boys: $21,790 (9-12).

1) Tuition for RYNJ is confirmed and accurate.
2) Tuition for Noam is unconfirmed.
3) Tuition for JFS is semi-confirmed (no official confirmation, but numbers seem correct).

Also, it was asked in the previous thread whether the HAFTR building fund of $1,500 is yearly or one time only.  I admit I was too hasty to say it was one time only.  It is unclear at best, and is likely a yearly obligation.  I invite someone in the know to clarify the issue.  HAFTR tuition can be found online here.