Sustainability: Rethinking Tuition
3. Rethinking Tuition
How we think about tuition, whether it is viewed as a payment, a mandatory contribution or a gift, has a significant effect on the financial relationships in the school and especially on development work and fundraising. The whole avenue of concerted, intentional, and value-driven development work is longing for further evolution. In many schools currently using a tuition-based model for financing their operation, we can find creative ways to think about and manage tuition. The article on Siegfried Finser's talk about tuition as gift money is a good start. Other excellent work on how to transform the tuition process has come out of the work of Bob Munson and Gary Lamb under the name ATA: Accessible Tuition for All.
While not everyone will be able to implement this process model, understanding the ideas behind it is important for everyone. Bob Munson and Mary Roscoe offer a clear and compelling background about ATA in their Primer. There are a few others experiments with creative tuition models including a three-tier tuition level model in use at the Brooklyn Waldorf School and a shared tuition experiment in UK, shared by Chris Schaefer. All of these are creative attempts to bring social ideals to tuition.
Lastly, if there is a natural antipathy to money and wealth in the school culture, overcoming or transforming that antipathy will be a major step toward sustainability. While this raises all sorts of issues it is the choice that independence brings.
This is a continuation from the article Seven Keys to Sustainability in the April 2014 LeadTogether Newsletter.