Elizabeth—Under a new program, families enrolled in any of the three Jewish Educational Center’s schools, who earn between $150,000 and $275,000 annually, will have their tuition capped at a fixed percentage of their adjusted gross income, regardless of family size or student grade. Families earning below $150,000 annually will receive scholarships through the school’s traditional financial aid process. The new tuition affordability initiative seeks to benefit scores of families and enable parents with more than one child in the greater JEC system to benefit dramatically.
The program, which will apply to the Lower School, RTMA and Bruriah, aims to help reduce costs while also taking the guesswork out of the scholarship process. “We provide an outstanding education,” said Board of Trustees President Dr. Steve Singfer. “This program enables more families to benefit from our 75 years of educational excellence and innovation.”
“This revolutionary program caps tuition at a fixed percentage of a family’s income,” explained JEC’s Executive Vice President Rabbi Pinchas Shapiro. “No matter how high tuition rates rise, or how many children a family sends to the JEC Lower School, RTMA and Bruriah, that family’s tuition remains capped at a fixed percentage.”
He continued,“This is by far the most generous, well-defined and clear program out there. Middle income families no longer have to fear rising tuition rates. And one child or five, the percentage stays the same.”
Approved by the JEC Board of Trustees in January, this tuition affordability program is already being cited as the impetus for the overwhelming increase in applications to the school.The plan has already inspired many families to take advantage of the benefits, as parents of Bruriah students are now applying to place their sons in RTMA and vice versa. Parents with children in the Lower School are now enrolling others earlier and looking to remain JEC parents through high school.
“We already have far more applications than we will be providing spots,” said RTMA Principal, Rabbi Ami Neuman. “And once word of this spreads further, that number will go up even more.”
At Bruriah, new student applications and mid-high school transfer requests are at recent record highs, with the numbers rising daily. The JEC Lower School, already experiencing a resurgence, has seen interest from prospective families increase to the point where adding classes and expanding programming is now necessary.
To help simplify and explain the process, the JEC has released a comprehensive compendium for the entire program. The guide, available on the JEC website at www.thejec.org, outlines questions using real-life scenarios.
“Parents often have so many questions,” explained JEC Executive Director Mr. Steve Karp. “This answers them in a simple, easy-to-use document. Parents, who sometimes might be embarrassed to ask, no longer have to call and speak to someone just to get basic information.”
The guide is a living document that will be updated to include new information as different questions or scenarios arise. “This adds a new level of consistency and transparency that is so important to everyone,” said Mr. Karp. “Our goal is to ensure equal access for everyone in a fair, impartial and respectful manner. While some scholarship committees are onerous and can cause embarrassment, our process treats all parents with the care and dignity they deserve.”
“We are committed to delivering the best in Jewish and general education,” said Rabbi Shapiro. “And to upholding the vision of our illustrious founder, Rav Pinchas Mordechai Teitz, who said that it is the inalienable right of every Jewish child to receive a proper Jewish education. Cost should never be a deterrent. Now, 75 years later, we will keep leading the way.”