The experiment that saw the Anne and Max Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto reduce tuition in a bid to attract more students appears to be working.
About 300 applications for students entering Grade 9 in the 2018-19 school year have been received, a significant jump from the current enrolment of 200 students in Grade 9, said Jonathan Levy, TanenbaumCHAT’s head of school.
In March 2017, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto announced it had received a $14-million gift from two families, which would be used to reduce tuition from nearly $28,000, to between $18,500 and $19,000 for the next five years.
At the same time, TanenbaumCHAT announced it was closing its northern branch on the Lebovic Jewish Community Campus and merging the school into one building on Wilmington Avenue, because of declining enrolment.
“All of North America is watching this and we think parents are responding, that they want a Jewish education for their children and this is making it more accessible for them. The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Levy said.
Parents are also seeing that the school is on more stable ground, following the announcement of the merger of the two campuses, Levy said.
Over 200 of the incoming applicants are from Toronto, south of Steeles Avenue, he said.
The number of students entering “new stream,” a program for those with little or no prior day school education, has also increased, with about 70 applicants for the coming school year.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive.
– Jonathan Levy
The most optimistic projection for next year’s enrolment is about 925 students, Levy said. Currently, TanenbaumCHAT has 875 students. The school was home to 1,100 students at one time, and since then, a science wing with additional classrooms has been added.
Re-registration for current students is not due until January, so it is too early to determine exactly how many students will be returning.
While the tuition cut will continue for five years, the school is pursuing a long-term fundraising campaign, as well as raising money for its annual fund, in order to assist parents in the future, as well, Levy said.
The tuition cut has also meant that fewer families have requested subsidies, but a subsidy program is still available at the school.