Reimagining tuition at a school that values equity
The traditional independent school tuition model can establish a school culture with two different experiences: one for families who are receiving financial aid and one for everyone else. This dynamic can prevent every family from fully participating in the life of the school. With FIT, every single family at Gordon is investing to the best of their ability, in their children, in their education, and in their community. Only when every voice and experience is represented in the classroom can our children enjoy the full benefit of living and learning in a diverse community.
Noni Thomas López, Head of School
A simple, transparent process for every Gordon family
One of the most meaningful ways that any independent school demonstrates its commitment to equity is in the way it handles tuition. At Gordon, that commitment runs deep, and the school has created a tuition system that has equity and inclusion at its core. Launched in 2018, Gordon’s Family Individualized Tuition completely rebuilds the financial relationship between a school and its families, making the process of paying tuition simpler, more transparent, more equitable and more predictable.
Independent school tuition is a significant, long-term commitment for every family, and families need to be able to plan and to sustain such an investment over time is an essential consideration in the decision making process. At Gordon, families learn their tuition price within ten days of interviewing, submitting an application and engaging with the FIT portal.
FIT replaces the traditional independent school financial aid model. With FIT, every family at the school makes a financial commitment to Gordon that is customized and based primarily on their income and assets. Gordon, in turn, gives each family a projection of their price that extends for three years, avoiding the uncertainty of the annual cycles other schools use.
All families participate in FIT, and each family can take full ownership in the Gordon experience, knowing they are contributing to the school at the level that is appropriate for them.
A leader among independent schools
FIT has come at a time when independent schools are finding their decades-old tuition models aren't working, and people are looking for an authentic, sustainable alternative.
Since developing FIT, Gordon has become a leader among independent schools, and a model for schools who are abandoning the traditional financial aid system. Over eighty-five schools have reached out to Gordon for more information on FIT, and Gordon administrators have been in demand as presenters on the topic, giving workshops to other Rhode Island schools and to the Association of Independent Schools of New England membership. In 2019, over forty independent school administrators from Maine to California attended Gordon’s first FIT Institute to explore how to adopt the FIT model in their schools, and two schools have already implemented new systems drawing on FIT. In addition, FIT has received generous regional media coverage, in print and online media.
Because every family’s tuition is truly individualized, it is impossible for Gordon to determine a FIT price until a family submits their complete financial overview.
Within ten days of completing an application and interviews, families who have submitted their financial overview will receive an email that outlines their FIT price and provides a three-year tuition outlook.
FIT in the news
Family Individualized Tuition has attracted attention as a model for how schools can rethink the traditional system.
December 11th, 2018
The Enrollment Spectrum podcast for independent school professionals
September 8th, 2018
Providence Business News
September 27th, 2018
East Bay Newspapers