Crisis of Affordability: The Value Proposition and Cost of an Excellent Day School

January 20, 2015

Source: eJewish Philanthropy


Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit is leading the way to implement affordability models for Jewish day school education. In partnership with a major local foundation, the Hillel Tuition Grant program not only insures that tuition will never be higher than the first year a child enters Hillel, but will actually decrease in each subsequent year. This grant is directed to parents who pay full tuition because they are not eligible for tuition assistance. The grant program is for students in grades 1 – 8. Each year, through eighth grade, the value of the grant goes up by $1,000.


Hillel families who opted into the grant this year saw savings: the tuition of $17,975 only cost them $16,975. In 2015-16, while tuition will be $18,515, families already in the grant program will pay only $16,515 – a savings of $540 over last year’s tuition and $2,000 below the actual cost.


The two central goals of the grant program are to make tuition predictable for families and to actually decrease tuition the longer a family stays at Hillel as recognition of the value they see in a Jewish day school education. Ours is a replicable model – and we hope leaders in other cities where foundations share the value of a day school education as this foundation does will follow our example.


Thankfully, for those requiring more assistance than the grant provides, there is significant funding available. In Detroit, day school education is seen as a communal responsibility. As such, our Detroit Jewish Federation allocates over 1.1 million dollars annually to the school, and an anonymous donor provides the school with an additional $500,000 annually. That, along with fundraising enables the school to provide over 2.5 million dollars in tuition assistance to eligible families.


At Hillel, our goal is for families to always pay for tuition in a way that is most affordable for them. For example, if a family has received tuition assistance and the grant program becomes the greater value for the family, it will be automatically transferred into the grant program.


Nevertheless, for most Jewish families, sending their children to a Jewish day school will require some sacrifices – it always has. At Hillel we are doing everything possible to make it financially feasible for any family desiring the education we provide.


Read more and see illustrative infographic at eJewish Philanthropy.

Updated: Feb. 04, 2015