The impact of the middle-income tuition assistance grant through the initiative has been significant on several levels. Some key lessons include:
The process of clearly defining and demonstrating middle-income need within the context of day school affordability was a key factor in shifting the perception of who should be provided financial aid.
The availability of funding specifically for middle-income families, coupled with marketing and outreach to eligible families, has helped overcome the stigma of asking for financial aid.
At the same time, schools now more deeply understand the imperative to provide financial support to this population.
While enrollment has not increased, you will hear in the interviews below that—had it not been for this initiative—enrollment would have decreased precipitously. Instead, this grant enabled many families, who would have had to leave schools, to continue sending their children to one of the five participating schools.
Initially, the LAHSAI included a mechina service component, with the assumption that both parents and schools would be hesitant to enroll students “new” to the day school system due to varying levels of Hebrew and Judaic backgrounds. Schools were asked to determine individual mechina service needs based on their current staffing and anticipated enrollment of new students with varying backgrounds. It was determined early on that these services were not needed as some schools had already integrated different levels of Judaica within their academic structure.
Read more about this and other modifications to the initiative model in Outcomes & Lessons Learned.