Scholarships & Financial Aid: Why Every family benefits.

Most families understand the value of the scholarship and financial aid programme to students who receive the direct benefit, granting them access to high quality education that they could not otherwise afford. Many families also understand that full-paying students in the school benefit, too. As the scholarship programme brings talented students into the school, existing students gain bright new classmates, who set a high standard in the classroom and make extracurricular programmes more viable.

But what is not always intuitively understood is how the programme is a financial benefit to all families and to the school. Because scholarship and financial aid programmes target grades that have empty seats, the financial gains are three-fold:

  1. Families receiving scholarship or financial aid pay tuition, even if discounted, for a seat that was otherwise empty.
  2. The school is able to attract scholarship contributions from donors drawn to the idea of providing opportunity for deserving students.
  3. The school enjoys additional retention of existing students, who might otherwise feel pressure to leave if class sizes were to become too small as their children grew older.

While this last point is hard to quantify, the first two equate to more than $400,000 of net revenue for the school. Think of what that means for Cedar’s ability to offer robust programmes to ALL students.

Imagine Cedar without scholarships and financial aid.

It would be a school with 60 less students but virtually no savings in costs. We would still have the same number of grades taught by the same number of teachers, but we would have less students sitting in classrooms and $400,000 less revenue to pay the teachers and the costs of the programmes. We would have to start making tough choices. If we wanted to offer everything we do now, we’d need to raise tuition significantly to make up for lost revenue. Alternatively, we would need to cut programmes. There would be less students, so activities like sports teams, school plays and clubs would be less viable, regardless of available funds. Because of the small class sizes and lack of extracurricular activities, more and more families would likely opt for boarding, starting a further downward spiral, particularly in upper grades. It’s a bleak picture, a shell of the school we know.

Now instead, consider what we’ve been able to do.

Over the last five years, as Cedar has increased its commitment to scholarship and aid, it has also dramatically expanded other programmes: launching the Solution Studio to support learning across the spectrum, including gifted and talented provision, implementing an expansion of sports and performing arts, travel programmes, university advising courses, increased Spanish language instruction and a Spanish Exchange Programme, and a marked increase in the number of DP courses offered.

At the same time, tuition increases, which had been above 5% each year for the previous 10 years, came down each year: from 4% in 2013, to 3.7% in 2014, to 2.4% in 2015, to 1.9% in 2017. Thus scholarship and aid did not cause tuition increases; they helped control them while making the expansion of programmes viable.

It’s pretty amazing when one thinks about it: that the scholarship and aid programme can be such a win-win for all parties. Managed correctly—ensuring that aid goes to worthy students that have legitimate need and bring value into the school—it is a programme that makes Cedar more sustainable in every way. It provides opportunity to more students. It improves ties to the wider community. It establishes a healthier bottom line and fuller classrooms. And it makes Cedar a better place for all students. 

That’s a winning programme we can all get behind.

 

Find out more

If you are interested in finding out more about our giving programmes, or would like to become a donor, please contact our Development Director, Vijay Chitnis.

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