Day School Tuition Break Gives Struggling Canadian Families Precious ‘Wiggle Room’

April 30, 2017

Source: Times of Israel


Between packing school lunches, orthodontist appointments, tennis practices and juggling two different school pickups for her 15- and 8-year-olds, Lauren Train appreciates knowing that the cost of private Jewish high school won’t weigh quite as heavy come September. In March, Train learned that her son’s tuition at The Anne & Max Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (TanenbaumCHAT) will cost them about $10,000 less next year (all currency is in Canadian dollars), thanks to philanthropic giving through the United Jewish Appeal Federation of the Greater Toronto Area. “(The tuition decrease) allows my family to have a little more wiggle room to live and not to feel so strapped financially,” said Train.

Many Toronto families share that sentiment, as costs have risen dramatically in the last decade or more. For the 2016-2017 academic calendar, one year of tuition for each high school student at TanenbaumCHAT costs $28,000. For most, that is a radical jump from what families paid for a child’s elementary school fees, set around $16,000.

The $12,000 per year hike is enough to make families think twice about whether an extended Jewish education is possible, and the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s Julia & Henry Koschitzky Center for Jewish Education noticed a decline in recent enrollment.

“We used to hold onto 80 percent of the kids between 8th and 9th grade, and in recent years we were down to 50% retention. Which meant that 50% of the kids were leaving the day school system after 8th grade, which was something we’re not accustomed to in Toronto,” said Daniel Held, the center’s executive director.

Toronto’s Center for Jewish Education launched a study about a year and half ago, finding that 75% of Jewish families deem cost as a major barrier for sending their kids to Jewish day schools in the area. Held says finding ways to make day schools affordable became even more of a priority.

This March, $15 million in funding came together between a $10 million Jesin-Neuberger Foundation gift, and $5 million from an anonymous donor. With one million set aside for Jewish education in Greater Toronto’s York Region, the rest will keep TanenbaumCHAT tuition between $18,000 and $19,000 per student over the next five years.

Read the entire article at The Times of Israel

Updated: May. 03, 2017