Diversity & Sliding-Scale Tuition

Manhattan Country School is an independent school widely recognized for its commitment to equality and diversity, including a unique sliding-scale tuition program.

Why sliding-scale tuition?

  • In 1970 MCS began to search for a new way of financing the school, based on the precept that the school is one community of individuals joined in the common task of educating children.  The sliding-scale tuition model was the result.
  • Our commitment to diversity rests firmly upon this tuition system and eliminates the categories of “financial aid” and “full paying” families.
  • Sliding-scale tuition enables all MCS families to educate their children as equal members of an economically, racially and culturally diverse community.
  • Diversity provides the basis for exploring multiple perspectives throughout the curriculum.

Racial/Economic Enrollment Analysis 2013-2014 

1. White                          89       43%

2. African-American         66       32%

3. Latino                          38       19%

4. Asian                           13       6%

    Total                                206      100%

How does it work?

  • Sliding-scale tuition is based on the principle that a family’s financial commitment should be in equitable proportion to its financial resources.  
  • The same financial information is asked of all parents. 
  • The Family Financial Worksheet is used to determine each family’s contracted fee for the coming year.
  • Approximately 75% of MCS families pay a fee calculated on the sliding scale.

How is each child’s fee calculated?

  • Families submit a confidential Family Financial Worksheet when they are applying. 
  • Current families submit a new FFW annually in January.
  • Student fees are set on a sliding scale based on each family’s annual income.

What if I have more than one child enrolled at MCS?

  • When siblings enroll at MCS, the FFW includes a graduated discount also based on income.

What are full tuition costs?

  • Maximum fees are set annually by the Board of Trustees and are graduated by age level.
  • For the 2015-16 school year, maximum tuition is set as follows:
    Lower School $38,500
    Upper School $41,500

Schools replicating our tuition model

 Over the years, many schools have sought information about our tuition model as part of their own efforts to further diversity in mission-consistent and sustainable ways. Founders and board members of schools across the United States, as well as economists and policy makers continue to seek guidance and engage MCS as a thought leader in this area. The range of interest includes:

  • Harlem Academy in New York City
  • La Escuelita and Yeshiva of Flatbush in New York City
  • St. Philip’s Academy in Newark, NJ
  • New Canaan Country School in New Canaan, CT
  • Waldorf School in Baltimore, MD
  • Creative Learning Community in Tallahassee, FL
  • St. Elizabeth’s School in Denver, CO
  • Children’s Day School in San Francisco, CA
  • Friends School of Minnesota in St. Paul, MN
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