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Increasing Need for Preschool Scholarships

June 28, 2016 06:50 PM
Hopkins House reported today that the need for scholarships to help low-resourced working and military families afford the tuition for their children in its nationally accredited preschool academy has increased dramatically in the past year and is likely to continue rising.

In a memorandum presented to the Hopkins House trustees at their quarterly meeting this month, the organization's Scholarships & Recognitions Committee, which oversees the scholarship program, reported that demand for tuition help from low-resourced working and military families with children enrolled in the preschool academy increased in the current school year by 32% and is expected to increase by another 43% in the school year starting this coming fall. Two-thirds of the 325 Young Scholars enrolled in the Hopkins House preschool academy receive some form of tuition aid.

According to the committee, Hopkins House will need $406,183 more in funding for the coming school year in order to help low-income families afford the rising cost of quality child care for their children. A total of $716,100 will be needed -- the highest level of funding for tuition assistance at the organization in the 20 year history of the scholarship program.

Rising preschool tuition is not unique to Hopkins House. Child care costs have risen dramatically in recent years throughout the country. In some states preschool tuition now exceeds the cost of community college tuition.

In its memo, the committee identified several factors contributing to the surge in demand at Hopkins House: rising tuition rates, below market rate government child care subsidies, desire for a socio-economically diverse preschool academy student body, and stagnant wages earned by low-income workers in the region.

If Hopkins House hopes to maintain the level of support now given to low-resourced families to help them enroll and keep their children enrolled in the organization's preschool academy, the committee asserted, additional funds must be raised soon.

Alternatively, the committee wrote, the organization will be forced to limit the size and length of scholarship assistancec and/or place a cap on household income (a recommendation previously rejected by the trustees because they feel household income is not necessarily a definitive indicator of financial need). Both alternatives would have dire consequences on children and their families, the committee warned.

"Every household faces unique financial challenges," explained Wayne Wright, who chairs the Scholarships & Recognitions Committee. "Without more funding, the committee will have very few options available to help these families."

"Pain will be felt by the children currently enrolled at Hopkins House who may not be able to stay enrolled in the academy, as well as by the children waiting to enroll but can't because their families cannot afford the tuition. Pain will be felt all around."

Hopkins House is able to provide scholarships through gifts and donations from individuals, faith institutions, foundations, and local businesses. The committee urged the organization to share this information with current and prospective donors, as well as the public, and seek their help.