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A priceless education—priced less

September 28, 2021

One of the oldest independent boarding schools in the country, Cheshire Academy stands out for delivering an internationally minded education—one that challenges students to maximize their potential by developing the confidence, character, and critical thinking skills that enable them to thrive as global citizens.

Next year, CA will also stand out for another reason: It will become the state’s first independent school to lower tuition for all students.

Starting with the 2022-2023 academic year, day tuition will be reduced by nearly a third—from $42,320 to $29,850—an amount better aligned with the income levels of more families in the region. Seven-day boarding tuition will be reduced by 10%, from $63,600 to $57,250, instead of the typical annual increase of 3 to 4%. Five-day boarding tuition will be slightly discounted to $55,250. The international boarding student fee will be adjusted to $10,000, reflecting the ongoing expanded support these students receive to successfully acclimate to the country and the school. This includes supervised room and board for some school vacations as well as the services of CA’s international student coordinator, who manages the visa process along with translation and native language support.

This tuition reset is designed to increase access and affordability, encouraging more families to consider the kind of personalized, life-changing education that Cheshire Academy provides. “With this plan, we are aligning value with pricing while better meeting the needs of students and families,” explains Head of School Julie Anderson. “Next year, no CA family will pay any more than they are paying right now; all will pay less. The tuition reset also won’t affect financial aid. Families will still be able to apply for financial aid based on their demonstrated need and the calculation determined by School and Student Services. As an added benefit, resetting tuition will allow our multi-million-dollar financial aid budget to go further, bringing a greater number of students into the CA family.”

The bold, new tuition structure comes out of Cheshire Academy’s recent strategic planning process. “We conducted an extensive study of tuition over the past two years,” Anderson continues. “From 2009 to 2019, while the average income in the U.S. rose approximately 15% and the Consumer Price Index rose by 20%, day and boarding tuitions at private schools increased, on average, more than 40%. In essence, during a decade when everything became moderately more expensive, the sticker price for private school education increased dramatically, putting the opportunity out of reach for more and more students. This can’t continue. That’s not the school we want to be.

“We are lowering our tuition to make CA accessible and affordable to more families. We are not—nor have we ever been—a school solely for the financial elite,” Anderson continues. “With this change, we are committed to continuing to foster a student body that more accurately reflects the socioeconomic diversity students will encounter in college, in their communities, and in their workplaces. Historically, independent schools are slow to change—particularly in Connecticut, which has the highest tuitions in the nation. But we felt that now is the time to be proactive. We are implementing this initiative on our own terms, from a position of strength—with exciting new developments in motion across campus from the classroom to campus life to facilities.

The cost of operation remains higher than the tuition families pay. However, through decades of generosity from alumni, parents, parents of alumni, foundations, and friends, CA can meet the gap and offer financial assistance to applicants with demonstrated need. Most recently, the school has raised more than $10 million toward new and upgraded campus facilities and to support scholarships, financial aid, and endowment, helping to ensure accessibility and continued innovation.

Lowering tuition is just one of many initiatives Cheshire Academy is taking on in the coming year. Several facilities improvements are also on schedule, including the addition of a new, all-purpose turf field, replacement of the turf and track at the Simosa Field & Track complex, and the installation of three new tennis courts adjacent to the Markin Tennis Courts. The planning process has also begun for the construction of a new field house and theater complex at the current site of the Arthur Sheriff Field House, which will meet the needs of the school community through new and renovated spaces for athletics, the arts, and community-shared activities and programs.

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It’s time for a change