Education at the right price! St. John's tuition next year to be best value in Bay Area.

posted Mar 13, 2012, 4:04 PM by   [ updated Apr 6, 2012, 8:57 AM ]
We have wonderful news for all our returning families, as well as new applicants to St. John's Academy! The school has been working hard with families to create a financial and tuition plan for next year that helps meet the challenges of the current economic crisis, while ensuring that the school remains affordable. Here is great news: our tuition next year will cover the financial deficit and ensure the Academy's financial stability, while remaining the best-value private education in the Bay Area, over 33% cheaper than our next competitor!

Click on the poster below to view a full-sized, easier to read version... then scroll down and read below for more good news.

The chart on the poster shows how our expected comprehensive tuition and fees relates to the same at the other private schools in San Francisco that are in some way comparable to St. John's Academy. Our expected 12th-grade High School comprehensive tuition and fees rate of $9,985 puts us at over 33% cheaper than the next most affordable school, and well under a third the cost of some of the other options available. All this, and we remain the only school in the area (and nation) to offer our highest-caliber K-12 education in a fully Orthodox Christian environment!

How can we keep our tuition rates so low?

How are we able to meet our budget deficit and convert St. John's books to the black, keeping our rates so low when other private schools charge over $35,000 per year for a comparable education? The first ingredients are a small school size with low overhead, coupled with a firm commitment to make an Orthodox Christian private education available to all those families who desire it.

But in financial terms, from the 2012-13 school year these attributes are being coupled with a practice of front-loading PTA fundraising activities (also known as 'paying it forward') through a new Fundraising Frontloading Pledge of approximately $2,275 per family. This amount is added to the Tuition & Fees at the beginning of the year and figured into the 12 monthly payments made by each family. However, as PTA and individual fundraising activities take place during the year, the amounts raised from these fundraising events are deducted from your family's Frontloading Pledge on a trimesterly basis -- which means that each trimester your monthly payments go down -- and assuming an active program of PTA and family fundraising, the whole $2,275 Fundraising Frontloading Pledge can be reimbursed to your account.

How it works... an example

Here is an example of how the program works, assuming a family with a student in St. John's 12th Grade High School program (our most expensive tuition bracket). Our anticipated Tuition & Fees for that bracket in 2012-13 is $9,985, divided over 12 monthly payments that begin in July (this change to a 12-month, rather than 10-month cycle as in the past, is part of our effort to ease the monthly burden on families by spreading out payments over a longer period, as well as ensuring consistent income across the year for the school; payments are received on the 20th of the preceding month, as always). Added to this amount at the beginning of the year is the Fundraising Frontloading Pledge of an expected $2,275 (per family), for a total annual rate of $12,260. This is divided over 12 months, yielding a monthly payment to the school of $1,021.67. However, each month the PTA holds fundraisers in which this family takes part. At the end of each trimester, the family's portion of this fundraising income is automatically deducted from the remaining amount owed, which means that monthly payments go down -- so if the family is involved in $500 of fundraising during the first trimester, the monthly payments for that family drop to $966.11 in the following trimester, and so on.

Each family will have their Fundraising Frontloading Pledge automatically deducted from their remaining balance at the end of each Trimester, up to the full amount of $2,275. This means that if our example family is fully involved in fundraising efforts, the whole $2,275 is removed from their balance and they pay only $9,985 for a full year of High School -- 33% less than is charged by the next-most-affordable institution! 

How does this compare to what we're paying now (2011-12)?

You may be asking how this compares to what families currently pay under our 2011-12 tuition schedule. The current system works on a 10-month payment cycle, which yields a monthly payment for a typical 12th-grade student of $907.60.

Though tuition next year goes up, we are also spreading it out over 12 months rather than 10, to make things easier on parents. This means that even with the Fundraising Frontloading Pledge included, the monthly payment for 12th-grade student increases only $114, to $1,021.67 -- and once the Fundraising Pledge is deducted through fundraising efforts, the monthly rate actually drops to $832 per month!

Yes, this does mean that sending your child to St. John's will be slightly more expensive next year than this (this lower monthly rate is, of course, paid over 12 months, not 10), but this is a necessity in keeping the school operational and strong -- and we've worked hard to find a way to make this increase manageable by spreading it out over more months and providing for the gradual decrease in monthly payments that comes through fundraising activity.

Good news for everyone

We're very excited about this arrangement, which amounts to good news for everyone: Good news for the Academy, because we will meet the financial challenges that surrounded us, overcoming our deficit and operating in a sustainable manner that ensures the school's long and productive future; good news for families, because we have found creative ways to keep costs low and make the best in Orthodox education a realistic possibility for everyone.