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.

16 comments:

tesyaa said...

I don't know if I should post this, but I still get vicarious pleasure when I recall the time I called an administrator's bluff. Of course, to do so, we needed to have options, and we did. Not options that most people would consider, but educationally and socially, it was one of the best things we could have done for our child and our family. Crying and pleading would not have had the same result.

Tuition Talk said...

tesyaa,

Would love to hear the story. If not here, then email me. tuitiontalk at gmail.

Anonymous said...

For all the complaining as you have well noted, social norms are tremendous in BC to send children to the local schools. I personally, won't give a dime to NNJKIDS or direct to subsidize these social abnormalities.

I will point out that there are somewhere between 40-50 children from teaneck and bergenfield who currently go to non-BC schools. Overwhelmingly, it is to more right wing schools and a very small group is goint to JFS, the modern orthodox staten island school.

It is amazing how simmilar in so many ways JFS is to the local BC schools, yet how few people go there.

Tuition Talk said...

Can you speak more about these social pressures? What are parents afraid will happen - or if the fear is justified, what will actually happen?

I'd like to know what pressures are so great that its worth more than several tens of thousands (potentially) to not have to endure.

Anonymous said...

Easy. Parents fear what other people will say about them not doing the best for their kids educationally. Parents fear other people will see them as weirdos.

Parents fear their kids won't have 200 friends in shul on shabboss. 100 won't do.

It's silly and hard to describe but those in the eye of the storm can't see outside of the haze.

Anonymous said...

Tuition increases are starting to be announced. can you do anything comparing the tuition increases to CPI. I understand the core CPI actually went down last month.

Anonymous said...

Has this site been shut down?

Anonymous said...

Check out

http://200kchump.blogspot.com/

for an up to date discussion of the Bergen County tuition crisis.

Susan said...

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history

abc said...

Check out:
http://200kchump.blogspot.com/2010/08/guest-post-from-concerned-board-member.html

Anonymous said...

I do not live in BC, but I did put my child in Public School for HS. I know it is not right for everyone- but it was right for us.
In orthodox communities, people are so concerned with "what other people think" or" will it affect my child's Shidduch". I frankly didn't care.
It would have been nice however should the local Rabbis had some sort of plan for those who do send to public school- there was no after school learning program geared to public school students- unless you wanted to hire a tutor yourself. We did NCSY (primarily social) and religious summer programs( yes, they did cost $$$ but we were saving in tuition and it was money well spent). We saved over $60,000.
Worked for us! Yes, my child is still frum.- mom23

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