Offer suggestions for what might help reduce costs
A number of families whose children attend Ontario Christian schools would like to see tuition made more affordable. In many cases, the reason they’d like to see that happen is so that more families can access Christian education.
Michele Kapteyn, whose three children attended Timothy Christian School (TCS) with two now at Unity Christian High School, sat on the board and executive at TCS where she learned of the struggles families experience with managing tuition. “There are a lot of families that desire to send their children but it’s just way out of the picture financially,” says Kapteyn. “They just definitely cannot afford it because it would actually cut into living expenses.”
Kapteyn says TCS is ahead of the curve on some fronts in terms of trying to do whatever it can to support families. It provides a 30 per cent discount for families in full-time ministry as well as for the teachers at the school.
The school also offers tuition assistance, as many Christian schools do, which is geared to families with lower incomes.
But she suggests that more can be done.
“There need to be (measures) that are really going to be effective in reaching those families that are really desiring (Christian education),” she says, referring, for instance, to endowment funds, which many Christian schools are also attempting to grow.
She also wonders whether tuition payment per student, rather than per family, could help with costs for families.
Kim Borgdorff’s two children attended TCS and now Unity Christian High School as well.
“I’m sad for the families that aren’t able to send their kids to Christian schools for financial reasons,” she says. “I think that’s a really sad reason for not being able to take part in the blessing of Christian education.”
While she says the schools themselves may not be able to do much about tuition costs, she suggests that support from families who do not have children in Christian schools, either because they’ve graduated or for other reasons, could make a huge difference.
“That support is invaluable and the more support like that we get, the more tuition is able to be lowered, the more families are able to take advantage of Christian education.”
In particular, she’d like to see families whose children have graduated from Christian schooling continue to provide financial support to the schools.
People need to realize that “this isn’t just a commitment for when their kids are in school; this is a lifetime commitment to Christian education,” she says.