FAYETTEVILLE -- The New School plans to cut tuition rates for the 2021-22 school year by as much as 20%, depending on grade level.
The independent school opened in 1971 and serves about 352 students from early childhood through 12th grade, said Jack Sweeney, director of advancement. The school has the capacity to serve more than 400 students, he said.
The school is resetting tuition to increase inclusion of students from families with less income at the school, said Nancy Lang, head of school.
"What I heard from people was tuition can be a barrier," Lang said. "We made this decision to reset tuition because we care about inclusion. We want to be affordable and accessible for our current families and prospective families."
The school's efforts to be more inclusive are important to the family of Fran B. Free, a board member from Fayetteville with children in second and sixth grade at the school.
"We value diversity and look forward to welcoming and introducing new families into our school community," Free said.
Tuition for the 2021-22 school year will be $12,000 for the three-day early childhood program, $14,400 for the five-day early childhood program and $15,400 for grades K-12, according to the school's website.
Early childhood tuition is $12,560 for the three-day early childhood program and $15,400 for the five-day early childhood program, according to the website. Tuition ranges from $16,160 for kindergarten to $19,200 for grades 9-12, according to the website.
The tuition drop results in an about 11% average decrease across all grade levels, Sweeney said.
The average private school tuition in Arkansas is approximately $5,906 per year, compared to the national average of $11,173, according to the Private School Review, a website detailing private schools, their benefits and application processes.
Having a predictable financial path for families to follow as their children advance in grade levels through The New School is important, Lang said. The school will implement modest and predictable tuition growth beyond the 2021-22 school year, she said.
"Our goal here is not to reset tuition next year only to turn around and have a huge jump," Lang said.
The reset will benefit Stacey Sturner's family. Sturner, a board member from Fayetteville, has a teen in the 10th grade.
"Paying tuition while juggling other expenses can be a challenge, and the reset helps to ease the burden in a particularly challenging year," she said.
About 17% of the school's students receive financial aid, Sturner said.
The New School’s Tuition Schedule
Early Childhood - 3 days$12,560$12,000
Early Childhood - 5 days$15,400$14,400
Source: The New School