It’s time for a change
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, in college and beyond.
Cheshire Academy now also stands out for another reason: We were the first independent high school in Connecticut to lower tuition.
In addition to supporting current Cheshire Academy families, lowering tuition makes the life-changing experience of a CA education more affordable, and accessible, for a greater number of families in the region, while also increasing the diversity and caliber of our student body.
It is the right thing to do, at the right time.
Over the past ten years, while average incomes in the United States saw only modest increases, 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 increased dramatically.
It’s a trend that should not continue. We believed it was time for a change.
What motivated the new tuition model?
Over the past decade, 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 a private school education increased dramatically. Simply put, we decided that this shouldn’t continue and that it was time for a change.
Why do you say that the new tuition model is “the right thing to do?”
We lowered our tuition last year to make CA accessible and affordable to more families. We are not—nor have we ever been—a school solely for the financial elite. 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.
How is CA able to make the updated tuition structure work financially?
Prior to the change, we conducted an extensive budget analysis resulting in prudent cost cutting, reallocation of resources, and realignment of roles and programs to more effectively meet the needs of today’s students. We also identified components that are fixed costs and items that are variable, based on enrollment. The tuition reset resulted in new, more competitive pricing while retaining value for families. These changes will yield an increase in enrollment over time, offsetting the income we may forfeit in the short term.
Our operational costs still remain higher than the tuition families pay. However, CA can bridge the gap and continue to offer scholarships and financial aid to qualified applicants due to sound fiscal management, a growing endowment, and decades of generosity from alumni, parents, parents of alumni, foundations, and friends.
Over the past four years, the school has raised more than $10 million toward scholarships, financial aid, academic programs, capital projects, endowment, and unrestricted support, helping to ensure accessibility and continued innovation. Most recently, CA has also received commitments of more than $5 million toward the critical maintenance and stewardship of new and upgraded campus facilities
Is CA in financial trouble?
Not at all. In fact, interest in Cheshire Academy locally and nationally is on the rise. Inquiries by families is approaching an all-time high: Last year’s applications to CA from domestic boarding students were up 44%, while applications from local day students were up 40%. The total number of new students enrolled was up 30% over the prior year.
Will CA continue to offer need-based tuition assistance?
Yes. Similar to previous years, 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.
How will the tuition reset benefit Cheshire Academy families?
Starting with the 2022-2023 academic year, tuitions were lowered for all students. Day tuition was 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 was reduced by 10%, from $63,600 to $57,250. Five-day boarding tuition was set at $55,250.
What benefit will the new tuition model have for current CA families receiving financial assistance?
No CA family paid any more than they were paying prior to the reset. In fact, all current families paid less.
What will happen to tuition beyond the 2022-2023 school year?
Over the past decade, average annual tuition increases at independent schools have significantly outpaced inflation. At Cheshire Academy, however, we implemented no increases for 2020 and 2021, and lowered tuition starting in 2022. Moving forward, Cheshire Academy is committed to setting tuition increases at a rate that more closely follows inflation.
Will any elements of a CA education change as a result of the updated tuition structure?
No. In fact, we have enhanced and expanded programs and still offer outstanding academics, attentive faculty and staff, small class sizes, student-centered teaching methods, robust athletic programs, and leadership development.
What we’re changing is an industry-driven pricing model that we are determined to make obsolete.
What enhancements have you made to the academic program?
We have enhanced our curriculum with a focus on our strengths, through developments such as:
• New offerings in the International Baccalaureate® Diploma Programme.
• New full-year elective courses for the upper grades.
• New integrated core classes for the lower grades.
• Growth in our Roxbury Academic Support Program.
• Interdisciplinary seminars added for 9th-grade students.
• Fortifying our emphasis on helping students define their individual paths to college.
We have also adopted a new weekly class schedule with longer blocks and later start times to address student wellness, increase engagement, and better prepare students for the pace of college.
What other changes are anticipated for CA in the years ahead?
Major campus initiatives and minor enhancements are already underway, in a two-phase program. Phase one was completed and includes resurfacing the decade-old turf and track at Simosa Field and Track; adding the new all-purpose turf field in the “back fields” area to support the football, lacrosse, softball, and soccer programs; and building three additional tennis courts adjacent to the six at the Markin Tennis Center.
Planning has already begun on phase two: a new field house and theater complex to replace the existing Arthur Sheriff Field House. This innovative complex will broadly meet the needs of the school community through new and renovated spaces for athletics, the arts, and community-shared activities and programs. While design concepts are in the formative stages, we continue to consider and map out the campus master plan for all facilities. Once completed, it will offer 21st-century improvements and additions that serve all students and give the entire school community a place to gather.
Since 1794, Cheshire Academy has been innovating, adapting, and thriving as it meets the evolving needs of students and families from the United States and around the world.
Once again, in our third century, we are historically ahead of our time.