Parents Spoke, SMA Listened: Changes Ahead for Tuition Payments

School Updates

We have some exciting changes for the 2017-2018 school year that were recently approved by our Board of Trustees. Many of our current parents have shared with us valuable feedback about our student tuition and fees, invoicing procedures and other financial policies. We want you to know that we listened to you and were able to draw on your suggestions to improve our customer service—and your experience—at SMA.

Tuition Payments: Fewer Stand-Alone Fees

First, we are pleased to report we will be combining many of our previous stand-alone fees into one basic program charge. For day students, this comprehensive program cost ($9,550 for grades 6-8 and $9,950 for grades 9-12) includes tuition, the lunch meal, basic infirmary care, internet access, sports participation (with meals after away games), replacement IDs, campus access stickers, and graduation fee for seniors. For Boarding Students, the comprehensive program cost ($25,150 for 5-day boarders, $33,250 for 7-day boarders and $37,250 for international students) includes all the features listed above as well as room & board (all meals), replacement keys, Student Activity trips and fees, and Residence Life services.

Tuition: Smallest Percentage Increase in Years

We also are glad to report that the comprehensive program costs for 2017-18 quoted above, while slightly higher than the tuition/fees in our current school year, reflect the smallest percentage increase we have had in many years. You might like to know that our Boarding Student Program cost is more affordable than the cost at any other boarding school in Texas! Our Day Student Program cost also compares very favorably to many of the other fully accredited day schools in the Austin-San Antonio corridor.

Our new Grade 5 program cost has also been set at $7,000, which includes tuition, the lunch meal, snack and basic infirmary care. We will also offer an After-School Program for our Grade 5 students at a cost of $15 per day ($200 monthly maximum).

No Additional Payment Plan Fees

Another change for next year is that we will assess no additional payment plan fees through Smart Tuition. Instead, families who want the option of participating in a monthly or semester payment plan will be charged a higher program cost, which will be approximately 5% more than the “pay in full” costs quoted above. A chart of these costs is posted on our website.

Eliminating Deposits on Account

This year, we began the process of eliminating deposits on accounts for uniforms and books for our day students. Next year, we will eliminate deposits on account for our boarding students as well. This means parents will be asked to pay the cost of all books and uniforms at the time of purchase, which is usually during a student’s registration for school. Cash, checks and credit cards are accepted for these payments.

Additionally, we will not charge an allowance deposit next year for our boarding students. Instead, we are asking that all parents provide their boarding student with access to a debit or credit card to use for additional items he or she may need during the year. We will also be offering pre-paid debit cards for purchase at the Bookstore as an option for parents to replace the current allowance program.

Thank you for your Feedback!

Again, we thank all of the parents who gave us helpful suggestions and feedback. We trust that the improvements we are making for 2017-18 will benefit all of our students and parents. Thank you for your continued support of San Marcos Academy.

By Rhonda McNeil, CFO