Half-price tuition available for Hausner seventh-graders

An anonymous donor has provided a grant to reduce tuition by half for some students at Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School in Palo Alto.

“It feels great to have this opportunity to take away a possible roadblock to such a fabulous education,” said Julie Smith, Hausner’s head of school.

The funding is available only to new students entering seventh grade in the fall, and will also subsidize those students’ eighth-grade tuition.

The grant is intended to grow the incoming seventh-grade class, which has been significantly smaller than other classes for several years.

The class has just 24 students at this point; all other grades average 40 to 50 students.

The gift “speaks to the passion of the donor for what it can do for students to be involved in Jewish education at this particular time in their lives,” Smith said. “Adolescence can be a really difficult time. Being in an environment where the entire community is engaged in supporting students is a real gift. At Hausner, every student is known, and that’s not always the case in a larger middle school environment.”

Hausner is a K-8 day school with approximately 400 students.

The fund will cover half of Hausner’s $17,590 yearly tuition during the seventh and eighth grade school years (2008-09 and 2009-10). No financial qualification is required. Award recipients are subject to the regular admission requirements, but will automatically qualify for the 50 percent tuition reduction.

About 20 percent of Hausner families receive financial aid, and in many cases, the support represents more than half the cost of tuition, according to Audrey Fox, director of admissions.

“We tremendously value economic diversity at our school,” she said.

Tuition fees for Bay Area day schools range from approximately $15,000 to $22,000. Like Hausner, all offer financial assistance.

For instance, one-third of families at Tehiyah Jewish Day School in El Cerrito receive tuition assistance; Brandeis Hillel Day School in San Francisco and Marin offers “flexible tuition” to families unable to pay full price.

High tuition continues to be a challenge for day schools across the country, but enrollment is nonetheless growing, according to a 2004 study by the Avi Chai Foundation.

There are slightly more than 200,000 students in 760 Jewish day schools across the country, an increase of 20,000 students and 80 schools from the previous 1998 survey.

Though the Hausner donation is a fixed sum (which the school declined to disclose), Smith does not expect to generate so many students that the money won’t cover all new seventh-graders. However, in the event that does happen, she said the school will seek additional funding.

In general, grades are capped at 54 students.

Applications for admission will be accepted throughout the summer.

For more information about tuition support, contact Hausner’s admissions office at (650) 494-8200 ext. 104 or [email protected].

Stacey Palevsky

Stacey Palevsky is a former J. staff writer.