Halfway through a two-year pilot, the Jewish Education Foundation’s (JEF’s) fee assessment board (FAB) has received applications from the parents of over 100 children wanting to enrol them in a Jewish school.
JEF chair Alan Schwarz said he was “delighted” that 28 children have enrolled in Jewish schools as a result, generating an estimated $3 million in additional revenue for the participating schools until the children graduate.
“While all our schools are already providing fee support to families in financial need, the pilot has shown us there is a real need in our community to supplement the existing school fee support with an independent process to assess parents’ capacity to pay fees,” he noted.
He added that JEF is “grateful” that the Jewish schools have been “cooperating to make this possible, and to the philanthropists for helping to fund this important initiative”.
The FAB provides a non-intrusive and independent process to assess the capacity of parents with children in government schools to pay fees in a Jewish school. Applicants complete an online form, providing details of their family size, housing, income, assets and liabilities.
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 program.
The 2021 census showed the percentage of Jewish children attending government primary schools had risen from 35 per cent to close to 40 per cent in just 10 years.
“In 2022, there were about 4000 Jewish children in non-Jewish schools and 700 vacancies in existing classes in Jewish schools. It makes good sense to fill those places with children who want to be in a Jewish school, by assessing them to pay a fair fee based on their individual circumstances,” FAB chair Kevin Slomoi said.
In consultation with the schools, a number of improvements have been made to the pilot for 2023.
“We carefully analysed the results of the 2022 pilot and realised we need to make school fees more accessible for middle-income families, while ensuring that the model is sustainable,” Slomoi said.
Analysis also found that a 100 per cent discount is not sustainable long term. “We have adjusted the model to take into account costs of living and interest rate increases, and to ensure that all parents make a minimum contribution towards fees,” Slomoi added.
The next round of assessments is open from February 5 to March 12, for enrolment in mid-2023 or the beginning of 2024.
Apply: contact Nechama Bendet 0425 770 002 or email admin@Jewisheducationfoundation.com