Tuition Relief in New Jersey? Yes! It’s Possible!

Coalition Launches Effort to to Bring School Choice to Frum Families

Mounting costs of tuition have made it perhaps the most crushing of all financial burdens facing frum parents. It’s a tough place for frum parents to be — trying to do what’s best for their child, all while buckling under the burden of tuition.

But what if there was something we could do? What if frum parents could experience tuition relief in a significant, game-changing, life-altering way?

States like Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and more than 20 others, have laws of some sort providing funding for nonpublic school families. The relief amounts to millions of dollars each year. New Jersey does not yet have such a system — but it can if we do something about it.

At the behest and with the strong encouragement of the Lakewood roshei yeshiva and rabbonim, a community coalition has been formed with one goal: to help New Jersey families experience relief with their largest financial burden, school tuition. By stepping up as a community to make our voices heard, we can prevail upon state officials to approve school choice.

Contrary to the assumptions of some, school choice can be a reality in a state like New Jersey. There are various forms and structures of school choice assistance. If the public makes its voice heard, relief can be implemented. 

As a community, we have the ability to bring this crucial issue to the forefront. Our elected officials will pay attention if we make our voices heard about the pressing need for school choice to be placed at the top of their agenda.

This new coalition, its members explain, has been established for one purpose only: to bring about change in the form of tuition relief. The group will not be getting involved in politics or other issues whatsoever.

Prior to launching this initiative, askanim spoke to many experts and consultants to get a comprehensive understanding of the matter. Experts and representatives of various communal organizations have expressed their strong support and are committed to this undertaking.

The coalition’s goal is to build as broad a base as possible, and thus representatives of the coalition have met and are working with other frum communities across the state and other private school communities as well. As all these communities share the same needs and desires in regard to school choice and tuition relief, they can serve as natural partners in calling upon elected officials to bring change to New Jersey.   

In Lakewood specifically, the goal will be to construct a strong, broad-based, grassroots effort by getting as many people to vote in elections as possible. 

“As representatives of this coalition, we will not be speaking to the elected officials about anything but school choice,” said one of the askanim involved. “If we all come out  and make our voices heard, it can produce great results.” 

In Lakewood, a public school student costs the local district $29,298. The funds being requested in tuition assistance for private school students are far less, which is one of the arguments made by community representatives to elected officials. As mentioned, other states, including Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, have various forms of school choice, some to the tune of $8-13,000 per child in grades K-12. Such financial relief will remove a huge burden from the average family in our community. 

This would be a game-changer for every yochid – and for the mosdos. Not only would parents receive much-needed financial assistance, but this could change the entire local educational landscape, with the ability to open more schools, with smaller classes, and more appropriate pay for our educators.

Askanim note that the general climate in the United States is ripe for this type of effort. Noteworthy is a Supreme Court decision in June that the state of Maine cannot exclude religious schools from a tuition assistance program that allows parents to use vouchers to send their children to public or private schools.

How long does such a grassroots effort take to pay off?

Members of the coalition explain that it is not a quick-fix. 

“It’s gradual,” explains one member. “Such tuition relief could happen incrementally, however, being capped at a certain number and then increased over time. It is not an overnight type of undertaking. It requires a sustained effort, but it is clearly worth the time and effort – and it can be done, as demonstrated by other states where parents experience major tuition relief.”

With  the close guidance of daas Torah directing the representatives every step of the way, and with the achdus and unity already seen among the participating frum communities, the efforts to bring school choice to New Jersey will B’ezras Hashem be successful. 



To learn more about what is being done to bring tuition relief to New Jersey and to find out what you can do to contribute to this effort, visit

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