The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

Upper School Tuition Rises by 7.84%

Lucia Meno
Where tuition is concerned, the number 7.84% may seem daunting for some Latin families.

The cost of attending Latin’s Upper School will grow by approximately 7.84% for the upcoming school year. For Upper School families, the increase translates to an extra $3,375 in tuition costs as compared to the 2023-24 fiscal year, resulting in a total of $46,395.

To some degree, inflation contributes to the tuition escalation. Chicago’s consumer price index has seen its highs and lows over the past year, with increases at around 2.3% in August and September, 3.3% in December, and 3.0% in April in relation to last year’s rates.

“Speaking as a teacher myself, we always want Latin to be an accessible place in terms of cost,” Upper School Latin teacher and President of the Latin School Union Elissabeth Legendre said. “But as a department chair, I’m ordering markers—and markers cost more—or books—and books cost more—and the things that we use to teach cost more.”

With the cost of school supplies rising 23.7% since 2020, steeper prices of textbooks, Expo markers, or pencils certainly affect Latin’s increase in tuition, though they are not the sole contributor. Michael Szczepanek, Latin’s Chief Financial Officer, said, “It is hard to quantify what is specifically inflation, as many costs rise for other reasons. For example, as our faculty becomes more experienced or earns additional degrees, they can earn more, which benefits our student body.”

According to Mr. Szczepanek, salaries, wages, and benefits will account for 65% of Latin’s operating expenses by the end of the 2023-24 fiscal year, and 67% in 2024-25. Due to administrative positions left unfilled this year, the school plans on distributing a higher percentage of its budget towards compensation (salaries and benefits) in 2024-25.

Latin also faces the expiration of a pair of multi-year gifts for computer science and teachers’ excellence programs. Each fiscal year, these gifts have supported $900,000 worth of expenses.

“As is the case with most schools, compensation accounts for a large portion of our expenses,” Mr. Szczepanek said. “However, we believe that our faculty and staff are our greatest asset, and remain committed to ensuring that we hire and retain highly qualified educational professionals who will help our students thrive both in and out of the classroom.”

Tuition will represent 85% of Latin’s operating revenues next year, as opposed to 83% over the current fiscal year. Other forms of revenue include annual operating support (5%), term gifts (dropping from 2% to 0% after the pair of gifts expire), endowment fund payout (5%), auxiliary programs (3%), and investment (1%).

Daione Mitchell, President of Latin’s Parent Association, said that many parents expected the large tuition rise in advance. “There had not been a significant increase in years, so parents were somewhat prepared for it. The administration kept giving hints for the past couple of years that tuition was going to increase.”

Regardless of whether community members foresee steeper prices, higher tuition rates can affect parents’ perception of what their children learn in school. “When there is a significant increase, I think that most parents think about the ‘value proposition’ of a Latin education,” Ms. Mitchell said. She explained that the Latin community consists of families from all over the economic spectrum, meaning tuition may be easy for some guardians to pay for and a struggle for others.

“No matter where you fall in the spectrum, the question of what the Latin education provides is the first question that is asked,” she said. “It puts more pressure on students for the tangible things, like grades or where you’re going to school.”

Before the first tuition payment due date of July 15, some members of the Latin community will have to make a difficult decision surrounding affordability; among the families that may be most affected are recipients of financial aid. In 2023-24, roughly 8% of Latin’s operating expenses went towards financial aid, with the school’s website noting $4.6 million dollars in aid on an annual basis.

Faculty and staff who receive tuition remission will be affected by the higher costs as well.

“The thing that impacts new employees is that as tuition rises, our portion of tuition rises.” Ms. Legendre said. Teachers who choose to enroll their children at Latin are subject to tuition discounts, but the increase in base tuition rates means that these parents are also impacted by steeper pricing. “If you’re a younger teacher, making less money and trying to start your family, you’re thinking, ‘Is this something that I can afford to bring my children to for 14 years?’”

Teachers or members of Latin’s administration doubling as parents are able to apply for need-based financial aid, as are families in all three divisions.

Latin Board Chair Bob Chapman ‘78 said, “The Board recognizes that the tuition charged to attend the Latin School is a significant investment for our families. As always, our goal is to provide our students with an educational experience that is grounded in excellence while maintaining the school’s mission and financial sustainability.”

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About the Contributor
Lucia Meno
Lucia Meno, Staff Writer
Lucia Meno (’26) is ecstatic for her first year on The Forum. She looks forward to covering stories that dive deeper into Latin-specific customs many might not think twice of, as well as major phenomena that occur at school. Through her writing, Lucia hopes that she can learn how to help improve certain aspects of the Roman community and educate her peers on how Latin ties into global events. Outside of working as a Staff Writer, she is a member of the varsity girls swim team and water polo team, and loves spending time cooking and with friends.

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