Friday, May 10, 2013

What Exactly is an "Abatement"

Moriah has a tuition abatement program that is separate from its scholarship program.  See link to last year's application here, or summarized after the jump.

Basically it allows middle income earners to get a little off from tuition by showing their tax returns but without having to go through the scholarship process that some find shameful.

To qualify you must have children in yeshiva (not necessarily in Moriah) from Pre-K thru high school and be making under certain amounts as follows:
1 Child & making less than $135K
2 Children & making less than $175K
3 Children & making less than $210K
4 Children & making less than $240K

[UPDATE: Those were last years minimums that are higher this year.  Now you can make up to $270K & get the abatement if you have 4 or more children]

I think the premise of the program is that if they simply lower tuition some of the "wealthy" parents will just pay the lower amount, without making up for it with any significant donations, and they will lose revenue.  If they just raised the threshold for scholarships some of the "middle class" parents would leave rather than have to apply for a scholarship and feel like they are taking tzeddakka.  This way its more of a sliding scale.  Sort of like the progressive income tax system we have where "middle class" families pay less than the wealthy & no one considers that charity.

The question is if you are getting 3K off per child & aren't donating you probably aren't paying your share.  So is that charity or just part of a progressive payment system?

Also, does this system allow those earning money "off-the-books" to get a reduction without any scrutiny beyond looking at their bogus W-2's?  Then again often full scholarship recipients don't get much scrutiny beyond their W-2's which are usually bogus when someone works off-the-books, but that's a separate topic.

One thing I like about the program is that they look at the total number of kids you have in yeshiva, not just the ones at Moriah.  So you don't get "punished" for sending different children to different schools.  All schools should adopt that policy for their scholarship programs.

The Moriah School is committed to providing a quality Jewish education to those who seek it regardless of financial means. As such we offer financial aid to all families who complete the scholarship application process and qualify. However, for those families who require a more modest level of assistance and who would prefer not to complete the scholarship application process, we encourage you to consider our Tuition Abatement Program, which is based completely on gross income level and number of dependent children in yeshivot.

We certify that our family’s 2011 gross income from all sources did not exceed the amount indicated below. We are therefore applying to reduce our tuition obligation to the school in the amount per child indicated below. You must provide copies of you entire 2011 individual and business returns with all schedules and W-2 statement in order to be considered for the abatement. Please check the appropriate box below. If unearned income (e.g. interest & dividends) is more than 30% of total income, applicant is not eligible for abatement.