Thursday, March 15, 2012

Letter from He'atid on Scholarships

Dear Parents,

Yeshivat He’Atid is committed to opening its doors to all Jewish children regardless of the ability of their parent’s to pay full tuition. This has been made possible by a couple of very generous donors who have stepped forward to fully fund scholarship aid. As a reminder, Yeshivat He’Atid is NOT using tuition dollars to pay for financial aid.

Yeshivat He’Atid’s scholarship policy is in line with those of the community - we expect families to pay the maximum possible, viewing their financial obligations to the Yeshiva as a basic living expense, taking priority over any type of non-essential spending.

Please see the communal letter (BELOW) that was sent out last year for further information.

While we remain committed to helping those truly in need, we ask that families consider very carefully before applying whether or not they meet the appropriate criteria. By asking for financial aid, you are asking for charity and you should view it as such. If there are items in your family budget that you would not feel comfortable asking your neighbors to help subsidize, you should be cutting these first before applying for scholarship aid.

As has become the community standard, scholarship applications will be done entirely on-line at This will allow us to better compare families with similar circumstances (while acknowledging that no two situations are identical), keep better historical records, save on manual input time from our business office, and provide a common application that will be shared among schools with overlapping families.

Financial aid applications are due no later than April 10Th. All information will be kept in the strictest of confidence. The scholarship committee will be meeting right after Pesach to review applications and an in-person interview will in all likelihood be required before aid is awarded.

None of the above is meant to discourage families who are truly in need from applying. If after careful consideration of your family finances, you have honestly concluded that you can’t afford to pay tuition in full, please don’t hesitate to apply by the April 10Th deadline.

If after careful consideration of your family finances, you have honestly concluded that you can’t afford to pay tuition in full and you need help applying or have any questions, please send us an email to .

Thank you,
Yeshivat He'Atid Tuition Committee

[Update: I posted the "Communal Letter" referred to above after the jump]

While we are fortunate to have an outstanding network of Jewish Day Schools and High Schools in northern New Jersey, we are very conscious of the affordability challenge of Jewish education. On this front, there has been a coordinated effort in our community under the auspices of Jewish Education For Generations (JEFG) to develop and execute innovative approaches to ease the tuition crisis. JEFG initiatives include generating broad communal funding for Day School scholarships (through NNJKIDS) improving school economics (in partnership with Yeshiva University/Avi Chai Foundation and UJANNJ) and recent work to create a Middle Income Affordability program. A separate group is actively exploring legislative channels to access public funding for our schools. All of these approaches will be necessary to positively impact affordability.

One of the hallmarks of our schools is their historical commitment to the principle that no child be denied a Jewish education based on financial circumstance. In light of the increasing pressure facing all the schools and their families, it is important to reiterate this commitment while at the same time clearly articulating our perspective regarding scholarships. Over the past several years, scholarship needs across our community have grown over 30% and now exceed $12 Million. All schools have worked extremely hard to raise funds and manage expenses so that a needs-blind policy can be sustained and scholarships awarded to all who qualify.

As fiduciaries of the entire parent body--both those families who can pay full tuition and those who cannot-- Scholarship Committees work to allocate an appropriate amount to those in need. We expect families to pay the maximum amount they can afford based on the principle that Yeshiva tuition is of the highest priority along with other basic living expenses. It is expected to take precedence over all discretionary expenses.

All the local day schools and high schools have worked together under the auspices of JEFG to adopt a single set of scholarship guidelines to ensure equity across our community. These have been widely in place and include discretionary spending choices such as home renovations, vacations, vehicles and spending on smachot; summer programs; financial decisions such as retirement savings and other investments; payment decisions such as applicants’ payment history with the Yeshiva and applicants’ willingness to sign promissory notes and liens in favor of the Yeshiva.

As in the past, scholarship allocation will be impacted by economic choices that prioritize these areas over tuition payment. This is the case regardless of who is paying the expense as we would expect that financial assistance provided by other family members should first contribute to a family’s basic living expenses such as tuition.

Each school will continue to review applications on a case-by-case basis with the sensitivity and understanding that no two family situations are the same. We will, however, be increasing our focus on, and review of, lifestyle, financial and payment decisions using the communal framework we have established to ensure consistency, equity and transparency across our community in this critical area.

Affordability of Jewish education is our community’s most urgent challenge. By working cooperatively on all fronts, we will meet the financial needs of both our families and schools as we continue to offer a quality Jewish education to all those who seek it.