Questions about 20/21 Enrollment and Tuition

You may have already noticed that TRCA is unique — not only in its approach to education but also in its approach to enrollment and tuition. As we laid the vision for our academy, we understood that how we administer the academy will teach children more than any book we use. The purpose of this brief article is to provide a brief explanation of why we approach things differently and how we work.

Enrollment Process

The 2020-2021 enrollment process starts January 8 for currently-enrolled families and January 23 for new families, and the application deadline is February 21. We’re often asked a few questions about this:

  1. Do you still have room? Am I too late to apply? As long as your application and fee are received by February 21, there is room and you’re on time. We don’t have a cap on the number of students that apply during this enrollment period.
  2. Why the short application window? (Sometimes followed by, “Are you out of your minds?”) After we review applications and interview each family, we will make a commitment to those students that are admitted — a commitment to build a quality education experience around our students and families. To do so, we need time — starting in March — to plan our classroom rosters, fine-tune our curriculum plans, and recruit and hire the teachers who will put the plan into action.
  3. Will you accept applications again later? Probably. If after planning our classrooms and teachers we have extra capacity in a class, we will open it to additional students. Families who would like to be considered for these possible openings will be invited to join a waitlist and will be notified if/when there is an opening.
  4. Why not accept as many students as possible? We would love to accommodate every child. At TRCA, adding a student means far more than throwing another desk into a classroom, because we reject a “factory” approach to education. We approach education as collaboration — a true partnership between parents, students, and the academy. By limiting numeric growth and providing time to plan, we are focusing on growth in quality.
 

Tuition & Fees

A Tuition & Fee Payment Agreement is submitted with enrollment applications. We carefully weigh many issues related to financial matters, but the principles that weigh heaviest are family affordability, financial sustainability, and commitment. Here are some common questions:

  1. Why is tuition collected in advance? In order to function well, TRCA must make year-long commitments and contracts (e.g., teachers, rent, supplies, and other services). We need to know that we can honor our commitments. A failure of one commitment would directly impact many other people (e.g., teachers, students, and other families), as TRCA does not have profits, reserves, or bank loans available as a safety net. Payment in advance also alleviates potentially awkward discussions about payments during the school year.
  2. Are there discounts for families with multiple children? Not directly. We don’t charge extra for the first child so that we can charge less for the second child — we just charge what it costs. That said, the application fee is capped for families, and some families with multiple children are able to save on the cost of books.
  3. Are scholarships available? Not yet, but we’re working to develop a long-term scholarship fund that is provided through gifts (if you’re able, make a donation here). But similar to Question 2 above, we don’t charge one family extra so that we can charge another family less — we just charge what it costs.
  4. What do families spend on books? Each family will be different, but we estimate $250 per child. The actual amount will vary greatly and will depend on the child’s grade, the number of students in the family, what books the family already owns or can borrow, and parents’ willingness to shop for deals. TRCA will publish a book list for each grade that includes which books are required, optional, and/or can be pre-owned. We hope that over time TRCA families will be able to create a “market” among themselves to buy/sell/trade used books and uniforms.

As we started up last spring and announced our initial tuition and fees, we published a brief article about our thought process that may be helpful.

Though we’ve answered a few common questions, you likely have unique questions. We want to hear from you, so please contact us!

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