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We Can Help - Tuition Assistance

March 12, 2014
By Terry Kok

Do you give Scholarships?  How do you do tuition assistance?  Is there a sibling discount? What is the Legacy Fund?  These are questions I get asked regularly.

A number of years ago, after a lot of study, we decided we needed a better plan for awarding tuition assistance.  We wanted to continue to serve middle income families in a time when many schools had raised tuition so high they were only able to serve wealthy families.

We came to several conclusions after this study -

  1. Tuition assistance must be based on one factor, NEED.  Rather than award assistance based on academic performance, number of students in a family, or household income we decided to base the tuition assistance on proven need.
  2. We also decided that we should use an outside agency to determine awards and not force families to have to meet with people they knew to ask for help. 
  3. The money awarded should come from donations and not from tuition people paid to the school. 

This plan has proven to work very well.   Someone with three or four children in school who has been blessed financially would not automatically receive aid.  A one-child family could receive aid if they have a low household income.  Other families may receive aid one year and no aid the next if their financial situation changes.  FACTS Management, the outside company that helps determines the needs of our families, will review the family's household income, monthly bills and size of family, in addition to reviewing the economics of the area when making a recommendation of aid to the school.

The system is not perfect and we recognize that.  We have flexibility to meet unique needs when appropriate.  Each year since the implementation of this program, the amount of aid has increased. This has helped keep many children in school and that helps keep tuition costs more affordable.

This year we will give out nearly $270,000 in assistance. We are grateful to our donors and the Calvin Christian Service Group who help meet the needs of families who cannot afford the entire cost of a Christian education at Calvin.  Like a church fund that provides for the needs of those who need additional help, the Tuition Assistance program helps those who can pay most, but not the full cost of a Calvin Christian education.