Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Registration Fees, or Clever Robbery?

Copy of a letter I sent to a popular Frum forum:

A while back the issue of playgroups taking a registration fee of $50-$75 was debated. The consensus was that the teachers have the right to ask for this money to be able to buy the necessary supplies for the year.
I would like to raise a much more troublesome and Halachikly questionable practice. I am not familiar with the procedures in other communities, however here in Lakewood, NJ elementary schools request a registration fee of anywhere from $100 to $300.
In my opinion, and everyone I have broached the subject with, this is Chamsanus – extortion. Plain and simple. Almost everyone in Lakewood has to register their child in at least two schools, otherwise they leave open the possibility that their child will be left without a school in the event that the child isn’t accepted by their first choice. Each school expects this registration fee. I know of many people who have to spend close to $1000 on these fees. Most schools receive many more registrations than children, due to the many families having to register their child in more than one school, leaving the schools with a tremendous surplus of registration money.
There is simply no excuse for this. School supplies are purchased based on the amount of children actually attending the school, not on the amount of the applicants. And if it is to compensate for the twenty to thirty minutes of time the registration process expends, no more than $30 would suffice, calculating the office time as $60 for the hour.
I hope this letter gets printed, and helps correct this apparent injustice, which causes unnecessary financial strain to many families already stretched to their budgetary limits.


Moshe said...

what a mechaya!! finally someone with seichel hayashar!!! keep it up.

megapixel said...

dude, if you are not accepted in the school, you get your registration money back. only school i know that keeps it is bnos bracha. you wanna fight about this topic take it to the seminary level - they dont give your money back.
by the way, check out my blog,

Independant Frum Thinker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Independant Frum Thinker said...

Megapixel, I didn't want to name schools, but there are quite a few others that don't return the money.
Welcome aboard!!

Limey2001 said...

as far as playgroup goes only when a new one opens they need that type of money for supplies..... its another way of getting more money out of you
would it make a difference if they charged an extra $5 a month instead?

as far as the elementary schools go it takes time and effort to process the applications and do background checks (yes, that part is subject for another post) and some schools do actually return the money.
Seminarys charge an hefty fee... well the whole point of seminary is money money and more money and not much else other than to keep the girls entertained for a year until they are "ready" to get married so it par for the course... (and they have to keep up amreican offices and pay plane tickets etc. for recruiting)
therefore I do think the schools have a "right" to charge....
great blog by the way

Anonymous said...

Dear Independent V'Chulu,

Frum. Ok. But frum what? Jew? Christian?

Since when is one's zodiac Part of a yid's profile?

Do you followw your horoscope daily.

See Ramban on the Posuk "Tomim Tihiyeh"

megapixel said...

i went thru this whole mishegas 2 years ago, got all my money back.
my friend had twin boys, spent over 1000 bucks, got it all back.
i however did not go to seminary. (yes, i got married) now that i think of it,maybe that's why some of the schools didnt want my daughter, although seminary was 18 years ago, ancient history. wouldnt put it past them.

Independant Frum Thinker said...

Thank you all for coming to the blog, and commenting.
As for the one who commented on my zodiac being in my profile; well hey, a little Dan Lkaf Zchus wouldn't hurt. When I set up the blog it asked for my birthday, it then AUTOMATICALLY put up the zodiac. I have not yet figured out how to remove it.

Anonymous said...

We live in Texas. Our school charges an early registration fee of $500 (and a "regular" registration fee of $700). Tuition is more reasonable here than in the Northeast, but these reg. fees are outrageous.
Does anyone know what % of the reg. fee the average person pays?? Certainly everyone doesn't pay 100%.
We're already in the school. The cost of office time to bump our child into the next year is not $500/$700. And the cost of school supplies can't be this much.
OK - I've vented.....

SephardiLady said...

IFT-I'm glad I went back to look at your post on registration and extortion. Where I live the registration fee is non-refundable.

Yeshiva is going to be expensive, but we need to be sensitive to the terrible plight that some families face. I wrote a post about nickeling and diming parents for this extra activity and that extra activity, none of which they can say no to too easily. I'd say this falls into the category of insensitivity. Some parents do NOT have a cash reserve to wait until their money comes back (i.e. their reserve is on a credit card or in a Home Equity Line of Credit) and this type of policy is hurtful to those parents. I highly favor a centralized registration that places all students.

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