Does anyone use a sliding scale tuition in a center based setting? If so what factors is it based on and could you tell me what your formula is?I am working with a program who is looking for a more equitable approach to tuition and would love to see some model and examples of a sliding scale, so I'm reaching out to this amazing community for some real life examples if anyone has some!Thank you in advance for any insight you have!
Hi Sarah,When we established our non-profit community preschool we needed to have criteria in place for exactly what you're asking. More went into arriving at our method than there's space to detail here, but can be summarized as follows.We found what the median family income was in our city (where the COL is higher than the wider county) and set that as the top limit for full scholarships ($76,580 for family size 4).We asked our regional resource and referral agency for the subsidy table they use to determine the "columns" that adjust for family size and used that formula to calculate the sliding scale for partial tuition/partial scholarship families.
Then we came up with our own criteria for the sliding scale: 101-120% of median income families pay tuition calculated at 10% of their gross income; 121-140% pay 12%; and 141-200% pay 15%. While we were aware that 7% of income is the target limit a family should need to pay in tuition, and "TILL WE ARE FREE," in our sliding scale there isn't a gap between those who are at the top limit of the sliding scale, at 200% for a family size 4 is approx $153K, and the families paying the full tuition. Our mission (and what we do) is to serve families evenly spread across income levels, because diversity and its benefits find obstacles when there is only a sprinkle of lower income families added later.
Please do not take that last sentence as cynicism, and at the same time I wrote it for anyone reading this to simply say: it matters to not approach scholarships from a savior mindset (where some families may feel THEY are paying for poorer families to attend preschool with their privileged child) but that it's the school that's making it financially possible to diversify the families because it's necessary for ALL the children to be together and to learn best. Desegregating preschool by social class can feel like an uphill battle, and my hope is that future gov't funding (UPK), until it's eventually possible for all preschools to be free for families, will be distributed to programs that have achieved a level of socio-economic diversity.Best wishes on your endeavors Sarah!
Hello Sarah,I run a non profit preschool in Seattle, and will be opening a new daycare soon, and we want to move towards a sliding scale tuition system. Due to the insane costs of remodeling during Covid we are over budget and two years behind our targeted opening date so we can't implement this dream yet. I'd love to keep in touch and share ideas around this.
As a preschooler I went to Stanford University Bing Nursery School. If I remember correctly I think my mother told me they were on a sliding scale. This was almost 60 years ago, but it might be worth reaching out to them.
All my best,Tara