Frequently Asked Questions about the costs of an education at The New Community School
What is the tuition fee for a full year?
The tuition fees for the school year 2020-2021 are as follows:
- Middle School, Grades 5 to 8 $30,800
- Upper School, Grades 9 to 12 $31,900
Enrollment agreements are offered beginning in February. A deposit of $1,000 is due with the signed enrollment agreement.
What other costs can I expect?
In addition to tuition, expected fees include:
- iPad required for grades 5-7
- MacBook required for grades 8-12
- School textbooks, supplies, and resources, estimated at $300 per school year
- Field trips, costs vary
- Athletic fees, $25 per sport, per season
- Gym uniform
- Supplies purchased through the School Store
- Box lunches purchased individually (optional)
What factors determine the annual tuition rate?
For 2020-21, tuition increased by 1.99% in Middle School and 2.24% in Upper School. This is below the current estimated rate of inflation (2.3%) as of December 2019 (www.bls.gov) and below the current Higher Education Price Index (2.5%).
Comparing our tuition increases since 2015-16 to others in the Richmond area, our Middle School tuition has risen 9.0% through 2019-20, while the median Richmond tuition rose 16.0%. Our Upper School tuition has also risen 8.9% for the same time period, while the median Richmond upper school tuition rose 14.3% (DASL database, NAIS).
When considering our tuition, is it important to remember these factors:
- Our teacher to student ratio is extraordinarily low. Language Fundamentals classes average 2 – 4 students, and academic classes average about 8. Overall, our student to teacher ratio at TNCS is 4.28 to 1. Our customized instruction and student success depend on these low ratios.
- Our teachers are our most important asset. With an average of 15.1 years of teaching experience, it is critical that we retain our exceptional faculty and attract dedicated and enthusiastic new teachers in the competitive Richmond market.
- 100% of tuition goes to the operation of the school. Capital projects, such as the proposed Wellness Center expansion, are supported through separate fundraising initiatives.
Are there ways to make a TNCS education more affordable?
Following are resources available to help with tuition.
Use of Section 529 Plans to Pay Tuition
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 contains a provision that allows the use of Section 529 accounts to pay for private K-12 education up to $10,000 per year, per child starting in 2018. These accounts can be established by parents, grandparents, or family friends and contributions can receive state tax advantages. The investments grow tax free and withdrawals are not taxed on capital gains, to the extent they are used to fund qualified educational expenses. There is additional information on this new tax law change on the Saving for College website.
Medical Expenses as Itemized Deductions
If you itemize your tax deductions, you may be able to include in medical expenses the cost of attending The New Community School, as a Special Education tuition expense. For more information, see IRS Publication 502 Medical and Dental Expenses for use in preparing returns, and/or check with your tax professional.
Financial Aid from The New Community School
Following on the beliefs of the school’s founders, the board of trustees and school administration are committed to serving all segments of the community as best as we can. Although our funds are limited, we encourage parents to apply for assistance from the school after other sources of funding have been explored. We make every effort to see that a student is not denied attendance due to financial limitations. Financial aid is “need-based” and partial in nature. Financial aid information is gathered online through the School & Student Services website. Families should complete the Parents Financial Statement (PFS) and provide required documentation as early as possible. Financial aid is awarded after careful and confidential review of the documents. The SSS number for The New Community School is 5304.
Financial aid dollars are limited and the earliest decisions are made in mid-March. The Financial Aid Committee awards all available dollars to applicants as their completed requests are received. We encourage families to complete their PFS online and provide all the required documentation by March 1, 2020 to be included in the early decisions.
To be considered for financial aid, the student and family must meet certain minimum requirements:
- All students must have completed enrollment agreements, including a deposit for the new school year.
- Returning families must be current on their financial obligations.
- All requested documentation (including tax forms) must be provided by the stated deadline. We encourage our families to file their tax returns as early as possible.
Any questions regarding this process can be addressed to the Business Office.
Financing options include home equity lines, personal loans, or financing through Your Tuition Solution. Brochures are available from the Business Office and the Admissions Office if you have any questions.
Education loans or scholarships from churches, related opportunities, community service organizations or philanthropic foundations may also be available to you. The school suggests that you apply to some of these groups who give aid to individuals, instead of schools.
Extended Family Support
Some of our families receive assistance with tuition from relatives. While there is an annual limit on gifts to others, gifts of tuition are not limited.
Public school systems have placed students at The New Community School. In these instances, the public schools pay all of the tuition costs. Occasionally, the public school system initiates the placement process because it believes that it is not able to provide an appropriate program for the student. In other instances, parents have gained placement for their child at New Community under Public Law through due process procedures developed by the Virginia Department of Education.
Is there a Financial Aid Calculator?
How Do Private Schools Determine Aid? is a very informative article that speaks to the variety of issues that are considered in determining financial aid.
Are Operating Funds used for other purposes by the school?
Operating Fund income, consisting of tuition and Annual Fund contributions, is used only for meeting the needs of the school’s educational programs, financial aid, and related support services. Other important projects determined by the board of trustees, such as capital campaigns for buildings, property, or endowment efforts, are funded by contributions and gifts given specifically for those purposes.
When are tuition payments due?
There is a $1,000 deposit, due when the enrollment agreement is signed. The school offers two billing options:
- 5 Payment Plan: equal payments billed on the 1st of June, July, October, January, and March.
- 10 Payment Plan, for those who choose to pay their bills automatically through ACH. Payments are drafted on the 15th or 30th of June, July, August, September, October, November, January, February, March, and April.
What are the available methods of payment?
Tuition and other payments can be made by check, wire transfer or by credit card using our online system. Most major credit cards are accepted, as well as debit cards. Debit card payments are assessed a 0.95% convenience fee and the fee to use a credit card is 2.75%. The Business Office can also setup an automatic draft on your checking or savings account. Contact the Business Office for more information (804.266.2494 x2211).