More than 70 applications have been received for the Jewish Education Foundation’s independent fee assessment board (FAB) two-year pilot initiative.
Parents of children in government schools who want to enrol in a Jewish school can apply online to receive a fee assessment. Applications for next year opened on June 15 and will close on July 31.
“Our community must strive to make enrolment in Jewish schools an affordable right for every Jewish student. Parents should make a fair contribution based on their individual financial situation, but no parent should be driven into poverty to pay fees,” Jewish Education Foundation chair Alan Schwartz said.
The pilot could result in the biggest annual intake of children from government schools to Jewish schools in the history of Melbourne Jewry.
Bialik College, King David School, Leibler Yavneh College, Mount Scopus Memorial College, Sholem Aleichem College and Yeshivah–Beth Rivkah Colleges are all participating in the initiative and have agreed to charge the annual fee that has been assessed by the FAB.
The assessment is based on the applicant’s income, assets, liabilities and family situation. Applicants are not asked to provide details of personal expenditure. Instead, an estimate is made of living costs based on averages for households in Victoria.
Children who enrol through the pilot will be entitled to remain at the school until they graduate, subject to the school’s normal conditions for ongoing enrolment.
The model is based on the principle that parents are entitled to retain some of their income for lifestyle choices such as going on a holiday. It will never assess a parent to pay more than they can afford, and, importantly, it provides parents with fee certainty.
Reflecting on the positive response to the FAB, Schwartz noted, “While we look forward to seeing the results of the FAB pilot, we will also explore, in consultation with the community, other opportunities to improve access to the Jewish schools for all who seek it and strengthening the Jewish education system in Victoria more broadly.”