Thursday, February 2, 2012

Is Tuition "Tzedakah Deductible"?

כִּי תְכַלֶּה לַעְשֵׂר אֶת-כָּל-מַעְשַׂר תְּבוּאָתְךָ בַּשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁלִישִׁת שְׁנַת הַמַּעֲשֵׂר  וְנָתַתָּה לַלֵּוִי לַגֵּר לַיָּתוֹם וְלָאַלְמָנָה וְאָכְלוּ בִשְׁעָרֶיךָ וְשָׂבֵעוּ.

Has anyone discussed with a Rabbi what portion of Yeshiva tuition, if any, could count towards our required Tzedakah contributions?

It's generally accepted that the 10% requirement is based on our "after tax" income.  but perhaps it should also be after-tuition since according to most Orthodox rabbis yeshiva tuition is an obligation.

But perhaps some of it should not only be deductible, but a credit towards tzedaka.  After all, some of the tuition dollars (the amount is debatable & varies by school) is used to help those in need get a scholarship.  

And what about the portion that goes towards Torah study.  Isn't Torah study considered tzedakah?  Even the money that goes towards secular study should perhaps be considered tzedakah if, according to your Rabbi, its a mitzvah to send your child to a day school all day, rather than just a talmud torah, (because it keeps your child from being influenced by the non-frum world, or for whatever other reason).

If anyone has discussed this with a Rabbi before, or would like to now, I'd like to hear what he has to say.  I would ask myself but I think most Rabbis would be reluctant to respond to an anonymous blogger.