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Why do Private Schools Ask for Donations?

This is a question as a Development Director that I answer every day. The short answer is that tuition and fees just don’t cover the full cost of education. The long answer is the formula behind most private schools is 80% of costs are covered by tuition and fees with the remaining 20% covered through donations, alumni and school endowments.

How much can parents really be expected to give considering they are already paying tuition and fees?

According to a report by the National Association of Independent Schools (or NAIS) the average private school parent makes donations amounting to $1,000 a year according to a 2014 survey of over 1,100 independent schools. The average given by day school parents was $987 and the average by boarding school parents was $1,191. Overall 68.8% of NAIS member school parents contributed money to their schools in the form of an annual gift.

In addition to parents giving 84.4% of faculty at NAIS member schools also contributed to their schools in the form of annual gift (I’m proud to say MMA is at a 100% faculty participation rate over the past 2 years). Alumni donations average about 10.2% of total alumni and according to the NAIS average $427 a year in annual gift donations. Charitable giving to non-profit private schools is always tax deductible which is an advantage for those able to give.

Non-designated annual gift giving is the life-blood of any private school. It allows schools to retain and reward the best instructors, have the best facilities and offer children the best education possible. Giving is a very personal thing to each individual and an investment in the future of a school.

If you have any questions about giving in general or giving to Massanutten Military Academy please feel free to contact Frank Campbell our Director of Development at 540-459-0457 or at [email protected].

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