I lost my job! We had a car accident! The pipes broke and our house was flooded!” These are all situations that we have heard as administrators when school parents call and cannot pay their tuition. Instead of saying to them, “Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled,” it is better if you can say, “We have a special tuition assistance fund that we can use to help you out temporarily.”
We recently developed a program at Lancaster Baptist School that we are calling our Tuition Assistance Program. This program is a separate fund to help school families on a temporary basis who are struggling with their tuition payments due to the loss of a job or a traumatic circumstance—car accident, health issue, etc. A typical financial award to a family in need could be up to 50 percent of their tuition, depending on available funds. (At LBS, we apply the financial aid only to their tuition—not registration costs, school fees, athletic fees, or activity fees.) The funds will come from donors who are church members, relatives of the students, alumni, and some friends of our church from across the country and around the world.
Unfortunately, some families have had to withdraw their students from our school due to financial struggles. If tuition assistance had been available, it might have been possible for those children to continue their education in our Christian school.
While this program is still in the beginning stages, we believe that some of the ideas that have been developed could also be helpful in other Christian schools. The first two steps that we have taken to launch this program are developing a secure link on the school website for donors to give securely online (lancasterbaptistschool.org/tuition-assistance) and designing presentation materials that we can distribute to request donations to this fund.
The brochure that we developed includes this text which can easily be adapted to any school setting: “Every year, there are students of Lancaster Baptist School who are unable to continue their education. They are smart, good students. They love their classes, friends, and teachers. They love learning about God. They just need a little help. Sometimes a parent loses a job and struggles to find another; sometimes a medical need, health problem, or family tragedy causes an unexpected financial burden. Whatever the reason, these children’s futures have been taken, for a moment, out of their families’ control. They are unable to afford a quality Christian education. That’s where we come in. They can’t do it, but, together, we can help.”
We then went on to explain how someone could become involved in helping a child stay in school. The first option is that they can go to the “Student Success Fund” on our school website and make the donation online. The second option is that they can complete the included response card that we attached to the brochure and return it to our school office.
Our goal is to fund this Tuition Assistance Program with donations from the membership and friends of Lancaster Baptist Church and to be a help and blessing to school families. Hopefully, you can use some of these ideas to create a tuition assistance fund for your school families.