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Second income helps families manage tuition costs

Written on July 18th, 2008

Some mothers head to work so children can attend independent school

The rising cost of tuition may be causing some families to hesitate about choosing Christian education for their children but those already in the independent education system say it shouldn’t be a deterrent. It is possible to manage the costs, they say.

Several families interviewed by OACS News have found that a second income, even a part-time one, can help cover tuition.

Marie Cooper is one parent who had to return to work part-time largely to pay for the increasing cost of having her children attend an independent school.

Cooper says she hasn’t resented the return to work “because I really felt like we were making the right decision to leave them in (Community Christian School in Metcalfe).”

She say she believes she would have been dealing with many other problems and issues if her children had remained at the public school they attended in their early years.

Cooper’s main advice to other families thinking about Christian education is to not be deterred by the tuition.

“It’s definitely worth it in the long run,” she says, adding that her 16-year-old daughter has repeatedly said she will do whatever it takes to send her own children to Christian schools.

Donna Veenstra, who has three children attending Orillia Christian School (OCS) and one at Unity Christian High School in Barrie, also works part-time.

She says her family “never really worried about tuition. We always felt that if we made a faithful decision with the Lord regarding our children’s education He would support us in that and the money would be there. This has proved to be true over the years.”

Recently the family’s faith has been stretched as OCS has a new tuition structure and costs are to increase but Veenstra says the family is aiming to “move ahead in faith.” She may take on a few extra work hours to cover the costs.

Kim Borgdorff has three children, two at Timothy Christian School in Barrie and one at Unity Christian High School.

She admits she and her husband Allan weren’t sure how they would manage the tuition costs when they first started sending their children to the Christian school.

“We just decided that this was something that was really important to the family and we believed in God’s faithfulness and that He would provide what we needed to enable us to send our children.”

Stories of other families in similar situations, who hadn’t been sure how to pay the tuition, and yet had always found that God provided, were encouraging, she adds.

Ten years later, the family has managed, year by year, to pay tuition as well as give their children what they need in other areas of their lives.

The additional challenge came when Borgdorff’s oldest son began attending a Christian high school last year, which meant two tuitions for the family.

However, as in the past, circumstances have worked out and Borgdorff now has a job with a salary which makes attending the schools affordable for the family.

Borgdorff has observed that many families see tuition costs as a barrier to Christian education but she says she believes it’s a matter of priorities.

“I really think you have to look closely at your life and how you’re spending money. You may not be able to go on a fancy vacation or drive a newer vehicle but those things are temporary.

“The price of Christian education, though it is expensive, is priceless in the eternal sense, in the sense that what you’re giving your kids will last forever.”