Tuition costs at Yeshiva high schools and ulpanot are set to begin falling, thanks to new conditions set by the Education Ministry. Among the conditions: Schools will have to begin publishing the salaries and benefits of their top staff, parents will receive itemized listings of what their tuition money goes for, and schools will have to give preference to using resources to strengthening their institutions before expanding or building new ones.
The conditions are the result of the work of a committee set up earlier this year by Education Minister Gideon Saar, responding to pleas by parents that the government do something to lower the cost of Yeshiva and Ulpana high school education. Although nowhere near the $8,000 to $20,000 parents of students at Yeshiva high schools and day schools are expected to pay for annual tuition, Yeshiva and Ulpana high schools can cost as much as $3,500 a year, making them by far the most expensive education option at any age in Israel.
The new rules, which go into effect this week, are designed to empower parents by giving them as much information as possible on where their money is going. For years, rumors have circulated about extremely generous compensation packages for school principals and top staff, consisting of high salaries, bonuses, and free cars and houses. According to the new rules, parents will have an opportunity to review those compensation packages, with the expectation that they will use the information to negotiate tuition with the schools.
In addition, schools will be required to give a detailed accounting of how tuition and fee money is used, with data about teacher salaries, capital expenditures, and other expenses. Schools that want to develop new institutions or expand their current ones will also have to justify their applications to the Ministry, and indicate that they have done everything they could to maximize the benefits to parents and students in the institutions they already run.