Milwaukee Jewish Day School reworks approach to tuition

 

WHITEFISH BAY ­– Milwaukee Jewish Day School has changed the way it handles tuition, with an eye towards creating more conversations with prospective families about affordability.

The school’s new “Affordable Customized Tuition Program” replaces an old detailed income chart with broader ranges of income. The program, with new financial support from the community, is also expected to lower tuition for at least some families, both new and current.

The program replaces the chart of family income that once resided on the MJDS website – it provided specific tuition numbers based on income. There was a concern that families would look at the chart, find their income and then conclude the indicated tuition is what they’d pay, without talking to staff about options for reduction.

“We’re really trying to personalize it,” Head of School Aaron Lippman said. Without that personalization, he imagines how it can go for families who look at a detailed chart and find their tuition number: “That’s not going to work for me … you immediately cross it off your list.”

School staff and lay committees worked to replace the old tuition scheme with broad ranges of income and tuition numbers, with this kind of thinking in mind.

“We don’t want finances to be the reason why someone doesn’t send their kids here,” said MJDS Business Administrator Christy Horn. “We want to make it easier, not harder.”

School officials researched from July through March of this year, with Lippman talking to other school leaders around the Midwest. Horn provided research and studies from independent school organizations to MJDS  lay committees. Other schools’ tuition approaches were examined and MJDS did computer modeling to see how a proposed plan would affect current families.

MJDS seriously considered using a third party vendor to review family financial information, which is something many other schools do. But in the end, the requirements to participate just seemed too invasive, Lippman said.

Recently added community support will allow MJDS to increase the modified household income levels that qualify for assistance, according to the school.

“We believe in what we’re doing at MJDS, and we’re seeing real results,” Lipmann said. “We want to make the MJDS experience available to all students and families who are interested in being a part of our learning community.”

Milwaukee Jewish Day School is pluralistic, serving students from junior kindergarten through eighth grade. Jewish values are intertwined in a multidisciplinary curriculum that extends beyond the common core standards and the classroom, into real life experiences that transform students into mensches, problem solvers, critical thinkers and leaders, according to MJDS promotional materials.

Enrollment is now open for the 2018-2019 school year. Families interested in learning more or enrolling should contact Horn at 414-967-8309 or visit Mjds.org.

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New affordability program at Milwaukee Jewish Day School

The new “Affordable Customized Tuition Program” creates three ranges of modified household income – the “modified” part is the deduction of items like child care, camp and college tuition. The income ranges:

  • Up to $100,000 pays monthly tuition of $83 to $415.
  • $100,000 to $240,000 pays monthly tuition of $415 to $995.
  • Above $240,000 pays monthly tuition of $995 to $1,320.

A second child would result in tuition at 60 percent of the first, with numbers falling further from there with more children.