As tuition rises, questions emerge


Alyssa Wang

As Masters tuition rises for the 2023-2024 school year, questions emerge amongst the community.

Neena Atkins, Contributing Writer

As the 2023-2024 school year approaches, Masters parents and students alike have received news that the cost of education is rising once again. In a recent announcement, the school revealed an increase in the current $53,500 day-student tuition by approximately 7%. While this may surprise some, several reasons exist behind the decision to raise tuition, including sustaining our campus, hiring quality personnel, and fulfilling Masters’ mission.

Andrew Schneider, the Associate Head for Finance and Operations, explained that the choice to heighten fees was made to guarantee that Masters can continue furnishing a quality education and fulfill the institution’s mission.

Schneider said, “As we [Masters]strive to ensure our employees are paid fair, competitive wages and are offered impactful healthcare and retirement benefits, we tend to have annual tuition increases that outpace inflation.” He noted that benefits and salaries for teachers and staff account for approximately 66% of the school’s expenses, and tuition fees generate approximately 82% of the school’s income.

In Schneider’s view, it is essential for the school’s income to align with its expenses. “Our people are the most important part of what makes Masters special, and our expense structure reflects that,” he added.

As we [Masters]strive to ensure our employees are paid fair, competitive wages and are offered impactful healthcare and retirement benefits, we tend to have annual tuition increases that outpace inflation.

— Andrew Schneider

The Head of School, Laura Danforth also emphasized the importance of prioritizing a joyful working environment for faculty and staff at Masters. She described that one of the motivating aspects of the tuition rise was this priority. “We want it to be a place where faculty and staff love to come,” she said. “If someone is coming to work every day and doesn’t love being here, that’s not a good thing.”

In an email to parents, Danforth provided an explanation for the tuition hike stating, “This year’s tuition increase accounts for rising expenses amid inflationary pressures on our operating costs.”

While this email was concise, Brooke Nalle, the president of the Masters Parents Association, said she found the reasons supplied in the email substantial and commented, “[The email] is an invitation to ask questions.” As a parent, Nalle mentioned that she understands that for her children to continue receiving a great education and for the Masters campus to function, the tuition price has to rise. “It’s not a fun increase to pay, but I understand why,” she remarked.

Ninth-grade class president, Alex Pinnock said that since the cost to attend Masters has increased, “You’re gonna have to be making sure each day is completely worth it.” He knows that parents have sacrificed a lot to send their students to Masters, and that every day will have to be “a lot more impactful.”

“The school needs to be financially healthy to operate, so a certain amount of tuition dollars are required to keep things running smoothly,” Schneider outlined. According to him, it costs around $41 million to run Masters each year, of which $7 million is set aside for the school’s financial aid program. While the tuition increase is necessary for Masters to succeed, Schneider assures that the school’s funding for student aid will not be negatively affected.

Schneider highlighted how the diversity of viewpoints that financial-aid students bring to the classroom is crucial to Masters’ special and meaningful learning environment. He stated, “Masters would not be Masters without an array of unique perspectives around the Harkness table that inspire deep and meaningful learning.”

Finally, Schneider acknowledged how students who receive monetary funding are common in the Masters community and that the school is dedicated to granting aid for students with demonstrated financial need. In accordance with this, he said, “A sincere and rigorous commitment to providing needbased financial assistance is one of several important tools the school has to achieve its mission of ‘gathering as a community of diverse individuals.”