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Financial Considerations and Tuition Discounts

Financial considerations
While we are in remote instruction during the current academic year, we have provided a 10% reduction of the day rate for all students in grades 3-12 and a 25% reduction for students in grades PK-2. [This larger discount for our youngest students reflects the fact that their experience of remote instruction, owing to their developmental distinctions as learners, requires a different measure of attention from the adults supporting them at home.] More information about these discounts, consistent with what has been shared in earlier documents, can be found below.
 
These categorical reductions have reduced this year’s tuition revenue by 11%. The greatest impact is concentrated in the discount provided to boarding students, which works out to about 43% (around $30,000 per student). At approximately 265 boarding students, this reduction alone totals close to $8 million. 
 
Obviously, these tuition discounts have resulted in revenue reductions that represent a considerable amount of money to make up in one fiscal year. In the interest of transparency, it is important for students’ families to appreciate how the School has done so.
 
Approximately 50% of our total revenue shortfall has been offset by reductions to institutional expenses—primarily in the areas of discretionary spending, food service, capital expenditures, and deferred maintenance. The other 50% has been offset by adjustments to payroll and benefits. As a result, when new employment agreements were distributed to faculty and staff in August:

  • The majority of faculty and exempt staff saw a salary reduction of 7%. 
  • Faculty in the lowest 15% of salaries overall saw a salary reduction of 3.5%. [There were no salary reductions for hourly employees.]
  • Senior administrators saw a salary reduction of 10-15%.
  • The School temporarily suspended its contributions to employees’ retirement plans.

These actions permitted us to preserve as many jobs as possible, and thus ensured that our students’ experience has been largely unaffected. But they also resulted in significant financial strain and emotional stress for our employees. It was especially distressing for the School to implement these salary reductions in spite of our employees’ excellence, commitment, and hard work since the advent of the pandemic, and continuing into this year. 

On December 11, we announced that these salary reductions will be restored effective January 1, 2021, for the remainder of the fiscal year. Additionally, while it is too early to submit a preliminary budget for the next academic year, we have now performed sufficient modeling to make the following budget-related decisions:

  • We intend to provide a 3% salary increase (effective July 1, 2021) for all full time employees.
  • We have announced that next year's tuition rates will be frozen at current FY '21 levels;
  • Though it is premature to make a firm commitment, we expect that we will soon be able to strongly consider restoring the School’s contribution to the employee retirement plan pending:
    • more definitive information later this spring on 2021-2022 enrollment;
    • BOT review of benchmarking data comparing our retirement plan contribution levels to those of other schools, to ensure that they are competitive within our means.

We expect to be able to provide an update on this last point in June.

Normally, it would be more customary to make these moves only once the tuition discounts that necessitated these reductions—and other equally significant budgetary moves—were eliminated and our revenues returned to their pre-COVID-19 levels. However, our trustees were unanimous in their support for taking these actions now in recognition of our employees' efforts, and with a keen desire to relieve the financial strain that they and their families have incurred as a result of the pandemic’s effects. We continue to provide assistance to furloughed staff through the Hold Fast Fund and are raising funds to support salaries, benefits, and other critical operating expenses.

Grades 3–12

As we explained in our letter of July 13, remote instruction tuition rates for all students in grades 3-12 (day and boarding) are approximately 10% less than our regular day student rates. 

During remote instruction, students are following a daily schedule that is comparable to their normal schedule, enjoying a similar amount of contact time with their teachers, generally have access to both synchronous and asynchronous instruction, and are continuing to receive all standard support services.

Grades PK–2

Remote instruction tuition rates for students in grades PK-2 are approximately 25% less than our regular day student rates during remote instruction. This larger discount reflects the fact that their experience of remote instruction, owing to their developmental distinctions as learners, requires a different measure of attention from the adults supporting them at home. Our teachers are partnering with these students’ families in highly structured ways, by grade level, in order to ensure that the School’s support for their collaborative efforts is comprehensive, individuated, and superb.

Tuition Comparision

Calculating discounts
In practice, tuition for the year is a prorated combination of the discounted tuition rate charged during remote instruction, and our regular tuition rate that will apply once a student returns for campus instruction. 

So, if it were the case that your child could return for campus instruction at the start of the spring semester, your tuition rate for the full year would be a blend of half the normal on campus tuition rate and half of the discounted annual remote learning rate. Financial aid awards will be adjusted by the same discount rate applied to tuition. 

Here are a few examples to demonstrate how this might work:

The same discount rates for remote instruction will continue to apply while the School is required to remain in remote instruction, or if the School opens for campus instruction but a family elects to continue remote instruction.