Colorado Academy parents, grandparents, alumni, and parents of alumni continue to respond in big ways to help take care of the CA community through the school’s Emergency Tuition Assistance Fund in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The dollars raised are being used to support CA families in need of short-term tuition assistance, especially those who have been required to close their businesses or are facing a job loss or significant reduction in their income due to the pandemic.
Sustaining what CA stands for
More than 100 families have supported the effort since the drive was launched on March 30, including every single member of the Colorado Academy Board of Trustees and more than 12 percent of CA’s faculty and staff. “This is what a real community looks like when people lend this kind of support, because when we get to the other side of this, they want to know that they played a part in sustaining what CA stands for,” says Head of School Dr. Mike Davis.
Davis continues, “With help from CA families, alumni, grandparents, and others, we hope to be able to provide emergency tuition assistance for those with the greatest need for the 2020-2021 school year and beyond.” CA’s Financial Aid Committee carefully stewards the dollars raised for the Emergency Tuition Assistance Fund; families who apply for assistance must demonstrate need by submitting an application through SSS, copies of their recent tax returns, and information from their employer and/or business demonstrating current financial hardship.
“This truly means a lot!”
Already, families of 21 CA students have completed the financial aid process and qualified for short-term emergency assistance, which has enabled these students to continue their CA education and their families to remain in the CA community. One family notes, “This financial aid grant is very significant to us and will lower our stress levels considerably over the next year.” Another expresses gratitude, “Just want to let you know how grateful we are for the financial aid award. We really do appreciate it.” An Upper School student shares, “This is so amazing. Thank you so much for always going above and beyond for my family….Words can’t explain how grateful we are for the CA community and everything the staff is willing to do. This truly means a lot!”
CA is a partner school of The Challenge Foundation, a local nonprofit that helps smart, ambitious, and hard-working low-income students break the cycle of poverty through educational opportunities. Currently, there are ten Challenge Foundation scholars enrolled at CA, and at least three Challenge families have qualified for additional emergency assistance this Spring. CA alumna Holly Dichter ‘00, the Executive Director of Challenge, says, “Thank you so much for your support of these families. We are so appreciative of the community effort to provide assistance to families who are struggling to earn an income and provide for their families during these uncertain times.”
Learning from the past
To weather a widespread economic crisis, tuition-based schools like CA must create an emergency assistance fund that equals 20-30 percent of the school’s annual financial aid budget. Prior to the novel coronavirus, CA had already fully allocated its nearly $4 million in financial aid to 19 percent of students who are enrolling at CA for next year. That would put CA’s goal for an emergency tuition fund at approximately $800,000. Already, $300,000 has been raised.
“We must be steadfast in our commitment to economic diversity within our community and to making a CA education accessible to as many students as possible,” says Davis.
CA students have been attending virtual classes via video conferencing since March 25, while the CA campus, and all other public and private school premises, remains closed by order of Colorado Governor Jared Polis to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. Due to the extended closure, CA is planning virtual events for its annual Fifth and Eighth Grade Continuation ceremonies, as well as Upper School Commencement exercises.
Says Davis, “I look forward to a time when we can gather again in person as a school community, but in the meantime, I am grateful that everyone is doing their part to social distance and help limit the spread of COVID-19, and I am proud of our faculty, staff, students, and families for their flexibility and for their commitment to each other and to our school.”