|Melissa Soderberg, Head of School
April 24, 2020
Dear Columbus Academy Families:
It seems like there has been nothing but difficult news lately -- our campus is closed through the academic year, our summer programs have been canceled and a stay-at-home mandate from our state has introduced significant financial stress for many in our community.
These times require us to be clear about our imperatives for a Columbus Academy education and demand that we work to foster the finest parts of our community. Please know we are committed to giving our students the best possible education in the safest environment, to retaining our dedicated faculty and staff, and to serving and providing for our committed families all while ensuring that the school is financially sound for its future.
We want to give back to you.
In reasserting our core principles with a gesture of compassion and commitment for the school and its families during a time of hardship, the Board of Trustees and members of the school's leadership team have been examining options and thinking carefully about the appropriate response to the challenges we all face. As a result, I am writing to share some important, and unprecedented, steps Columbus Academy is going to take to help families withstand these difficult times.
- We will be reducing the tuition obligation of every student for the 2020-21 school year. This tuition reduction will take the form of up to a $2,000 credit for each returning and incoming student that will be prorated based on your tuition net of discounts, including financial aid, and will be applied consistent with the payment you select. Families will also have the option to donate this credit as a tax-deductible charitable gift to the Academy Community Fund (more on this below).
- The school has established the Academy Community Fund with the purpose of providing a bridge in the form of a one-time grant toward tuition and fees for families experiencing substantial and unforeseen hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants will be made on a case-by-case basis but limited to the resources available in the fund and will be in addition to the tuition reduction described above. Our usual need-based financial assistance program for Columbus Academy will continue as a separate program and has been expanded to accommodate increased need. If you anticipate needing either of these tools next year, do not hesitate to contact Director of Admissions and Financial Aid John Wuorinen '80.
You can give, too.
We hope some families are in the position to be able to donate all or a portion of the tuition credit to the school through the Academy Community Fund to help ensure our families will be able to remain at Columbus Academy while also helping us to retain our excellent faculty and staff. For the foreseeable future, the focus of all fundraising efforts by our Development Office will be this fund. Already, members of our parent and alumni communities have generously contributed, in their devotion to the school, and seeded this fund at its inception. Assistant Head of School for Development and External Relations Erich Hunker '81 can answer any questions you may have about philanthropic tax-deductible donations.
We are with you.
In an effort to address a range of financial hardships, we are also creating an easier path to the timing challenges of paying tuition.
- If you would like to enroll in a 10-month pay plan, Columbus Academy will absorb the administrative fees charged for this option for the 2020-21 academic year. Families will be able to work with our Business Office about how to plan out monthly payments that work for individual timetables. For further details, please contact Bursar Susan Anderson.
We are here to help.
We are a wonderful community built entirely by our families, past and present. We recognize that some parents and guardians are facing financial uncertainty they could have never foreseen when their children enrolled and may question their ability to afford Columbus Academy in view of the economic impacts of this coronavirus pandemic. We hope you will reach out to us about any thoughts or concerns you may have.
This is a time of serious hardship and one for resilience, resolution and generosity from our school, which is making a historic financial commitment. Academy has a long history of adapting to the needs of its community -- through preparing young graduates for service in times of strife as well as for leadership in the sciences, business, entrepreneurship and academia in prosperity. The world needs our graduates now more than ever.
I wish your family health and hope as we go forward together,