by Perrin Stein
This year, the Newton Public Schools is piloting a program in which it accepts tuition-paying international students through Educatius, a company that matches these students with public and private schools in the United States.
Through its relationship with Educatius, the NPS plans to raise revenue for additional guidance support and classes in the English Language Learners Program.
The NPS will raise fund by charging all tuition-paying international students who are in ELL $20,061 annually and all international students who are not in ELL $16,597.
To assess the pilot program with Educatius, in the spring, the School Committee will receive information on the impact of the tuition-paying international students on class size and other services, according to Jody Klein, director of ELL for the NPS.
At that point, “ideally, students will come before the School Committee and speak of their experience,” she said.
If the program goes well, the NPS will likely create a program, which will continue accept tuition-paying international students in the future, Klein said.
The NPS began its partnership with Educatius when, last spring, Educatius contacted superintendent David Fleishman about placing tuition-paying international students in the NPS, according to Klein.
Earlier that year the NPS developed the infrastructure to charge tuition to four students living in Newton for the sole purpose of attending the NPS.
Because the NPS had the infrastructure to charge tuition, Fleishman asked Klein to look into starting a partnership with Educatius, which recruits tuition-paying international students for school systems, she said.
According to Klein, she spoke with schools, including Marblehead and Groton Dunstable, that have implemented programs for hosting tuition-paying international students. Everyone she talked to “spoke highly of the caliber of the students placed by Educatius and the overall satisfaction of the partnership,” she said.
Marblehead’s interim business and finance assistant Kevin Meagher also spoke to the benefits of Educatius. “Without the assistance of Educatius, we received only one international student who paid tuition directly for the 2011-2012 school year, even though five seats were available,” he said. “Upon entering into our relationship with Educatius, we were able to fill all five available seats for the 2012-2013 school year.”
To help schools find and place tuition-paying international students, Educatius reviews applications, finds host families and decides whether a student makes a good candidate. Then, Educatius forwards the application to a school district, which reviews the application and decides whether the school system wants to accept that student.
For its services, the school system and Educatius decide on how much Educatius is paid, according to Educatius’ website.
For the NPS, in choosing students, it looks at availability of space in a particular grade and ensures that the students take several ELL classes, Klein said.
Newton is not the only school system opening its doors to international students in hopes of earning much-needed revenue.
According to Natick superintendent Peter Sanchioni, the Natick Public Schools plans to accept tuition-paying international students in the coming months.
Similar to the Newton, Natick decided to accept tuition-paying international students in order to increase diversity and to offset the cost of its foreign language offerings, specifically Mandarin, Sanchioni said.
Natick will accept students from China in hopes of fostering a relationship with a sister school where Natick students will travel on cultural exchanges, according to Sanchioni.
Over the summer, the US Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program certified Natick to host tuition-paying international students, he said. As a result, Natick High School hopes to receive international students in the second semester of this school year and plans to eventually host eight to 10 students, generating approximately $125,000 annually.
“We don’t anticipate any downfalls,” Sanchioni said. “We have researched this quite thoroughly.”