Create Account
ב"ה
Sunday, 24 Av, 5779
  |  August 25, 2019
    < >

    The Real Problem with High Tuition

    Op-Ed: A NY tax lawyer writes that the real source of the tuition problems which religious schools face is the attitude of school administrations. Full Story

    Wedding: Rosenstein – Goldstein

    Next Story »

    Chief Rabbi Journeys Across Russia

    50
    Opinions and Comments

    To keep track of your comments, follow a conversation or flag a comment Login
    avatar
      Subscribe  
    newest oldest most voted
    Notify of
    Baruch
    Guest
    Baruch

    Yeah, sure this is the real problem.

    To date, I have never heard someone complain about this particular issue yet the author claims that this is the whole problem..

    Let's go for it!!!
    Guest
    Let's go for it!!!

    Are there enough people ready to fight for our rights?!?! What is the next step??

    Didn't understand all the nuances
    Guest
    Didn't understand all the nuances

    But I grasped the basic idea. Obviously, you are an expert, and like you implied, the schools basically won’t do anything to help us. On the contrary, they seem to take a perverse pleasure in making life difficult.Their attitude is pay up and don’t expect anything.- not even a decent education.

    Show us the books – every set of them!

    more sollutions
    Guest
    more sollutions

    If 2 people team up and exchange tuition payments, like I pay your oholie torah tuition,and you pay my bais rivkah tuition, for sure, that should be donation. Another way, if you have a business, and you use the journal or newletter to advertise your business in the school, That is a business deduction, but it really goes for your tuition. I bet you can each make a deal with the school on your terms, just like you do with amounts of tuition.

    Tuition is  way too expensive!!!
    Guest
    Tuition is way too expensive!!!

    Thank you to the anonymous author who wrote the above article. This is information which we parents need to be aware of. However, what do we as parents need to do in order for the above to take place. What is the next step?
    Many of us have large families, and I feel like I need a second job to pay almost $4,500 monthly just in tuition fees…. It’s crazy! And no, I’m not a rich person, but my kids need to be in school…..

    great article.
    Guest
    great article.

    Who will step up and take care of this in Crown Heights?

    Let's do something!!
    Guest
    Let's do something!!

    This is a true story which happened this past year…. A friend of mine went to register his daughter in school. They wanted a very high sum for tuition, when the parent said I can’t afford it- he was told there’s a public school next door which takes kids for free! The father was fuming, he went to meet the second person who sees people for tuition. He was told sell your summer house so you can pay tuition, father answered : why don’t you sell one of yours so you can pay your teachers!! Parents– we need to do… Read more »

    Boruch N. Hoffinger   'HaKohaine '           BS"D
    Guest
    Boruch N. Hoffinger 'HaKohaine ' BS"D

    AMAZING! ‘Todah raabah’ Mr./Mrs. Accountant. May there be more like you. As a ‘Kohaine’ I give you a BIG ‘BROCHO’ for your efforts. I don’t have school-age children at home, but I worked hard and paid dearly, with my wife Brouria, to pay the tuition costs. Perhaps the parents should organize and make a powerful demand. Now is a great time of year! Also, ‘Todah raabah’ Rabbi Israel Heller for previously praising ‘The Internet’ with the spirit of ‘The Rebbe,’ contrary to the unwise who didn’t think enough of ‘The Rebbe MH”M’s’ usual extremely profound insight to deem ‘the Internet’… Read more »

    why anonymous?
    Guest
    why anonymous?

    the anonymity of the author is an obstacle to the furtherance of this noble pursuit.
    how do we get in touch with this guy? we want to work with him on this.

    to #7
    Guest
    to #7

    If someone owns a summer home they have no business claiming poverty to the tuition committee.

    great idea.
    Guest
    great idea.

    Beis Rivka, OT and ULY all have shuls. I’m sure the other schools do too.
    So I could donate $5,000 to any school my grandchildren attend in lieu of sechar limud, IF the schools would give me a tax receipt AND not harass my children for that amount of their tuition bills.
    It’s a win win situation. Schools get funding, my tax liability drops and my children don’t have to struggle to pay tuition.
    I’d like to hear what the schools have to say about this.

    Interesting
    Guest
    Interesting

    If this plan is feasible under tax law, then the “synagogues” will not be able to turn away those who don’t make the “donation” for the religious instruction. No more withholding of report cards or references either if the religious education part is a charity not a school. Also, there will have to be a very careful (and audit proof) allocation between the school’s actual expenses (including properly allocated overhead) for the non-deductible secular education; and the costs for the religious education to be funded by deductible donations. And, will parents really take the tuition savings, plus an increased amount… Read more »

    kevin
    Guest
    kevin

    This just may be the most important article published this year on collive. The author should have taken it to the next level and published his real name.

    The school admins are for sure part of the problem but its the community as a whole whom have failed on this serious issue. We consistently vote in politicians whom are against helping our schools. If we would just make this our biggest demand we may actually win this battle.

    Lastly the KJ school story isn’t as simple as made out to be in this article.

    Great article
    Guest
    Great article

    I am a CPA and congratulate you for this well written article.

    I am a parent who pays full tuition but agree that its time for our executive directors to work for their salaries and fight for the community.

    Good luck

    Nobody
    Guest
    Nobody

    Sorry, but that will not do it. It is nice and all, but the donation for charitable deductions is limited by two things: Low income and high income. For low income people, they don’t itemize on their tax return anyway, so this won’t help. Even if it gets them to the point of making it worth it to itemize, the difference won’t be so much. For the high income people, the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) claws back a lot of the benefit. Anyway, this article doesn’t explore the consequences on the government funding that existing schools get if they were… Read more »

    # 7
    Guest
    # 7

    I may not agree with the whole attitude problem (dont have to pay tuition yet and cant imagine doing that)
    But with that said , you need to prioritize, whats more important a summer house or ur childs chinuch?
    Why should they give a scholarship to those living in luxury?
    Lotsa schools out of town do a serious research before giving discounts so they are given fairly
    (IE dont go on expensive vacations and dress ur kids in designer and then cry poor)

    a few thoughts from a retired tax accountant
    Guest
    a few thoughts from a retired tax accountant

    1. Some of the alternative suggestions posted in the comments are unfortunately illegal, you can’t call a payment x when it’s really y. But the author’s suggestion I think could be viable, and should be followed up. 2. Grandparents cannot currently get an income tax deduction for tuition payments for grandchildren, but they can pay grandchildren’s tuition without eating into their estate/gift tax exemption — see your accountant about this. 3. The problem with using internet-based education for secular subjects as one comment suggested is that ALL our children’s education needs to be by yirei shomayim and with a proper… Read more »

    Interesting Article BUT
    Guest
    Interesting Article BUT

    Some points: From an halachic perspective there are many opinions on how much but almost all hold that a portion of tuition is included in maser. Secondly many Jewish schools already do this for banquet and construction funds. We get paperwork from our kids school for those payments as a charitable deduction. Finally, the point of this being the solution to our problems is an overstatement to the max. As it depends on the tax situation for each family as far as how much of a benefit you will receive. In addition this is not a dollar for dollar savings… Read more »

    Concern
    Guest
    Concern

    Sounds good, however if school classifies limudei kodesh as contribution, how can school pursue the parents who owe to the school? Can they claim in court that they’re owed contributions?

    Make chinuch number one financial priority over all else.
    Guest
    Make chinuch number one financial priority over all else.

    Chinuch is supposed to be a priority for both parents and the kehillah. So is Chanochas Kallah. Unfortunatly in today’s frum world these concepts have been skewed to such an extent that all educational mosdos suffer and the children are the victims. Vacation homes are relics of a past imitation of the wealthy and unneccessary in our times of airconditioning. Likewise, Jewish sleep-away camps stem from the days of “no dogs, no Jews allowed.” These are totally unecessary expenses today. Even with scholarships it is costly send even one chilld to camp.Brissim, upsherins, bar and ba mitzvah celebrations, and l’chaims… Read more »

    Free tuition
    Guest
    Free tuition

    Yeshiva should be free. Subsidized by chabad
    Parents should donate to chabad their memberships

    Money
    Guest
    Money

    It’s nothing wrong if you like to make money
    Only thing is that if you want money go to business
    If you prefer to work in a non profit, Mossad you want to help people and elokus , then money is not your priority
    Be happy with no more than 70 k of you are an executive director 30 k a secretary
    Yeshivas should not be a place for business , to accomodTw relatives with good salaries
    If these salRies and book are disclosed This is the best tool for fundraising

    Won't work
    Guest
    Won't work

    Because the schools will no doubt loose a lot of funding they already receive and don’t tell us about!

    Excellent idea
    Guest
    Excellent idea

    but you’ll have to beat the teacher union to get vouchers. Unless you get it on a much more local level – that could be possible…

    i agree with ,,17 and 18.
    Guest
    i agree with ,,17 and 18.

    Also. If someone donates to a general scholarship fund, it is deductible. If the donation is earmarked for a specific family or child, them not deductible.
    Once you move away from being a school, and more to being a religious organization, you lose significant government funds that are only applicable to schools

    to #20
    Guest
    to #20

    People have been saying that for years, however, kids who live in apartment buildings can’t just walk outside and play in their backyards. Weddings should be pared down? You go first with your kids. There is truth to the fact that most of us could cut back somewhere in order to give more to yeshivas or pay more in tuition but most people today are not on the level that people were a few generations ago when they lived to give. I agree that it would be better if things were that way. That still doesn’t answer why school directors… Read more »

    Math and Science
    Guest
    Math and Science

    Having a Ph.D in physics, and a degree in math, I know something on the subject. There is no problem at all learning it over the Internet at elementary and high-school level. The only problematic area is evolution in biology, and this can be easily skipped. The best place today to learn math and science is khanacademy.org/welcome . It is completely free, and the teaching level far exceeds anything that any Frum school could afford. It caters to all ages, from kindergarten to post high-school. My son, who is now on Shlichus, learned in two summer-vacation months all the chemistry… Read more »

    Right or wrong???
    Guest
    Right or wrong???

    I know families that have kids at home right now, because the Schools are demanding very large sums, all the tuition from the year before and for the coming year.

    Very impressive
    Guest
    Very impressive

    I will say, though, that tuition vouchers don’t need to be fought for, they are a given (to a certain extent) in yeshivos- if the school is willing to fulfill a certain financial reporting protocol. I know this due to my work. However, even the schools that do receive vouchers, struggle- albeit not as much as those schools that do not apply. Re the tax deductions, yes that would help homeowners and also others who earn enough income to justify the tuition they are trying to deduct on their tax return but not everyone is in that position. Perhaps some… Read more »

    What we need to do now is
    Guest
    What we need to do now is

    1. Bug the directors to fight for school tuition vouchers. If all the parents in all the schools unite, something good will happen.

    2. Learn math and science on the Internet (with proper filters).

    3. If income is too low to benefit from a tax deduction, ask a wealthy friend or family member to make the donation and pay him the amount less his tax savings.

    Agree with the solution, but not the problem...
    Guest
    Agree with the solution, but not the problem...

    The author presents an interesting solution to alleviate the tuition burden on some parents. But he/she puts the blame of the problem on a peculiar conspiracy theory that the administration puts a heavy burden on the parents because the fundraisers want to remain a vital part of the institution. If that were the case, why bother parents at all? Just make the school 100% dependent on fundraising? That will make them even more indispensable. No? As you can see, that argument is ridiculous. To actually identify (and therefore solve) the problem we need to answer 2 basic questions: 1- What… Read more »

    Of marginal benefit
    Guest
    Of marginal benefit

    Fascinating idea. I pay over $50,000 a year in tuition for 4 kids. The ability to get a tax deduction on part of my tuition would be very helpful. I will certainly pursue this with my kids’ schools. Having said that, since I already pay full tuition, it won’t put any more $ into the school coffers. Most Frum families are not looking for more write-offs – either they’re not earning enough or they maxed out their deductions with mortgage, charities, child credits etc. The few families that are still looking for write-offs (myself included) are already paying full tuition… Read more »

    Giving deductions for religious instruction only helps rich people
    Guest
    Giving deductions for religious instruction only helps rich people

    Most religious people earning normal salaries and supporting large families don’t benefit by tax deducations and are better off claiming standard deductions instead of itemized.

    #33
    Guest
    #33

    and what’s wrong with implementing a legal way to provide a tax deduction to rich people? You think they don’t pay or contribute enough to schools to be worthy of a tax deduction for the full tuitions that they pay?

    Tuition paid for 40 years
    Guest
    Tuition paid for 40 years

    Grandparents give a tax-deductible donation to the school scholarship fund and school then gives scholrship to theor grandkids. You cannot expect my taxes to pay for your tuition. I worked my whole life to educate my kids. Btw i itemized and did ok. Gave tzedekah which is deductible and got paid on the books. If both parents work day cae and after school and day camp is deductible. Find a good accountant eho knows his business. #31 obviously doesnt know how much it costs to run a school. Just utilities in NY are a small fortune. Taxes and workmans comp.… Read more »

    Money laundering
    Guest
    Money laundering

    Be VERY careful. It is very easy to get sucked into (accidentally but technically) money laundering if the receipt you get doesn’t fit the purpose of the donation. An example is a Yeshiva somewhere put down $500,000 from one parent as “tuition.” Now we all know Yeshiva is expensive, but do you really think the government will buy that?? And who catches money laundering? The BANK. They have all the software to do so, as required by the government. Genuine donations, not inflated sums, are fine for tax receipts. Always consult a CPA for these huge amounts & demand a… Read more »

    You can solve tuition problem
    Guest
    You can solve tuition problem

    With the big election coming up this November 4th, every voter can solve this problem with a few phone calls to your Congressman and U.S. Senators (201-224-3121). Ask them to sponsor the proposed DC Civil Rights Act for Equal Educational Opportunity, which will mandate parental choice in our nation’s capital at half current costs. This would serve as a model and trail blazer for all 50 states. If they will not sponsor the bill, vote for the candidates who will sponsor it. They are out there. But they need our support and votes to save our children and our future.

    Agreed with above
    Guest
    Agreed with above

    Who will take this step at Cheder Chabad Monsey.

    Straight Grandparents
    Guest
    Straight Grandparents

    You must be a New Yorker. Didn’t say money laundering. Talking about $2-5 k to a scholarship fund. Why I left corrupt Brooklyn!

    vouchers even died in Texas
    Guest
    vouchers even died in Texas

    The voucher fight, while the right one, is a long, hard battle. Agudas Yisroel has been lobbying for a decade across the country with minimal results. there are numerous legal hurdles in the States as well. Vouchers are a multi-year struggle. We need shorter-term solutions. I’d also like to hear clear halachos about using tzedaka to pay tuition (since it supports the mosdos, not just paying your schar limud). Using these tax deductions as suggested would be a help to me, but only marginally to the school: I’d be able to deduct 25% of the cost, so I could give… Read more »

    Velvel
    Guest
    Velvel

    As long as schools are controlled like family businesses without any true transparency or accountability, then well meaning donors will not give. I work for a highly respected non-profit and every donation over $10,000 is subject to rigorous accounting. Quarterly progress charts demonstrating where each penny is spent are submitted to the donors. And any funds earmarked for specific projects must sit in separate escrow accounts until they are spent on the projects they are meant for. This is the ONLY way to get a real donor to look at you.

    Free Tuition
    Guest
    Free Tuition

    You need to consider living in Cincinnati, OH. you can get free tuition.

    Moish K
    Guest
    Moish K

    To futher the author’s proposal, I would suggest the school officially have separate limudei kodesh and limudei chol school names. The school can then provide a separate tutiion invoice for each component. The invoice paid to the limudei kodesh school should certainly be deductible.

    hmm,,
    Guest
    hmm,,

    this will never happen. the schools will never allow outsiders a peek into the true fiscal innards…mostly because it would expose the total chaos there, inflated admin salaries, paying teachers under the table, and all that jazz. Great piece, though.

    to the CPA
    Guest
    to the CPA

    What would be if each school has a scholarship fund, parents pay into that as a tax-deductible donation, everyone as a group has their tuition paid. Is that legal?

    The most important point in the article...
    Guest
    The most important point in the article...

    America has laws against gender discrimination. Yet, every public-school building in America has rooms into which boys or girls cannot enter strictly because of their gender. Bathrooms are the most expensive areas of a building to construct, yet, separate bathrooms are provided for boys and girls, despite the additional cost, so they don’t have to compromise their feelings and values. Why should Jewish religious students have to compromise their feelings and values if they want to avail themselves to public funding for education? The boy-scouts and the girl-scouts in America receive government funding despite the gender-based separation. Many charter schools… Read more »

    GOBBYDIGALK
    Guest
    GOBBYDIGALK

    THE PROBLEM IS QUITE SIMPLE………..

    SCHOOLS AND YESHIVOIS ARE SIMPLY TOO LAZY, TOO PROUD,TO RAISE FUNDS FOR THEIR INSTITUTIONS AND INSTEAD BURDEN THE PARENTS WITH OUTRAGEOUS, EXCESSIVE, EXHORBITANT AND FOR MOST PART EXTORTIONATE IVY LEAGUE FEES FOR THIRD RATE FACILITIES AND STAFF.

    Avi
    Guest
    Avi

    I dont know what the problem or solution is but its not what the author says, say a family is paying 25k in tuition and say they can write it off. then what suddenly they would be able to afford it? if you make 100k a year the write off would be insignificant as a family of say 5 would pay that much income tax. if a family is making 250k the write off on 25k will save you 3k still your paying 22k. im just not sure what hes trying to say if your not making much you wouldnt… Read more »

    Executive directors' salaries etc.
    Guest
    Executive directors' salaries etc.

    While it may be true that executive directors make very handsome salaries, (exactly how much they make we don’t know because of a shameful lack of transparency), they certainly wouldn’t mind receiving tax vouchers and /or other government funding because almost all yeshivos are operating in the red. This means that even if additional tuition funds were to come in from the government, a deficit would continue to exist. I know of no school fundraiser today who is able to single-handedly raise the funds necessary to cover their school’s deficit So, no, the executive directors, a.k.a. fund raisers, wouldn’t be… Read more »

    Suggestion
    Guest
    Suggestion

    Ask Masores Beis Yaacov how they do it. They ka’h always pay their teachers on time.

    X