Understanding Enrollment Agreements

Updated October 11, 2016 |
Understanding Enrollment Agreements
Attorney Sara Goldsmith Schwartz answers my questions and provides some general guidance regarding best practices for enrollment agreements.

Editor's note: 

I asked Attorney Sara Goldsmith Schwartz, whose "practice is focused on the critical issues facing school administrators and leadership," to answer my questions and provide some general guidance regarding best practices for enrollment agreements. This article is intended for the information of owners, administrators, and trustees of small to medium size private schools. ~ Rob Kennedy

The relationship between parents, students and the school is determined by contract law. Can you tell us what that means?
The relationship between parents, students, and the school is based on a lot of documents, including the student/parent handbook, the code of conduct, the enrollment agreement and more.  The enrollment agreement, however, is the only legal contract, and it memorializes the relationship between the parents, students, and the school, binding the parties to the terms and conditions laid out in the agreement.  The agreement assists schools in collecting tuition and fees in cases of non-payment and in assessing late fees in cases of late payment. However, a comprehensive agreement addresses far more than tuition and fees.

This short clip explains why contracts are important legal documents.


How can a professionally written enrollment agreement prevent litigation in the future?
A properly drafted enrollment agreement is a cornerstone of a school’s risk management strategy.  For instance, it can help deter parents from bringing claims against the school, as well as help the school prevail on such claims.
An enrollment agreement that comports with best practices and applicable

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Updated August 17, 2016 |
The E.E. Ford Foundation: An Inspiration For 21st Century Benefactors
We take a look at the enormous impact a private foundation can have on education.

Editor's Note: I asked John Gulla, the Executive Director of the E.E. Ford Foundation to answer some questions about the Foundation's work specifically, and independent school philanthropy in general. I am grateful to him for his thoughtful responses.  Rob Kennedy

John Gulla, Executive Director, E.E. Ford Foundation


JG: One does not have to read Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century, though I do strongly recommend it, to understand the challenges of late-stage capitalism and the concentration of wealth.  Half of the world's wealth is now controlled by less than 1% of the population.  Put another way, the wealth of the top 1% equals the wealth of the other 99%.  Viewed slightly differently, fewer than 100 individuals own as much as the poorest half of the world's population.   This is not the place for a discussion of how this has come about or the challenges it represents, but I think that the data provide a prima facie case for the increasing role of Private Foundations in the years ahead.  

RK: What was Edward E. Ford hoping to accomplish by establishing his foundation? 

JG: The current mission of the Foundation is to "strengthen and support independent secondary schools and to challenge and inspire them to leverage their unique talents, expertise and resources to advance teaching and learning throughout this country by supporting and disseminating best practice, by supporting efforts to develop and implement models of sustainability, and by

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Updated August 05, 2016 |
5 Signs You Are On The Right Track
It is easy to get side-tracked when you embark on a major project like searching for a private school for your child. Here are five indications that you are doing it correctly.

Here is another way of looking at the private school search process. This checklist highlights the main tasks in what is, for most of us, an eighteen to twenty-month long project. While circumstances will occasionally require you to do everything in a rush at the last minute, we will review progress from the point of view of the more customary time-frame. Work transfers or some other event requiring you to move to a new city never happen conveniently, do they? When you have to find a private school quickly, you will have to telescope the full-length search into a few months. That is doable, and I discuss how to handle that situation in Is It Too Late To Apply?  In the meantime, let's review the five signs that you are on the right track in your private school search process.

You have scanned dozens of private school websites.

In step one, you look at as many private school websites as possible. Start with the powerful search engine right here on Private School Review. We have over 27,000 schools in our database. As a result, you should be able to find plenty of material. The only filters which you might want to use at this early stage are the following:  kind of school, i.e., religious, military and special needs; and the grades offered. Before you start searching, determine the kind of school which you want for your child. If you are looking for

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Updated September 14, 2016 |
A Guide To Schools Within 10 Miles Of Philadelphia
Philadelphia is home to some of the oldest K-12 schools in the nation.

Philadelphia is home to some of the oldest K-12 schools in the nation. Located strategically on the east coast on the main transportation routes between New York City and Washington, DC, Philadelphia itself offers a wealth of commercial and cultural activities for families. And if the city doesn't have what you are looking for, Delaware, New Jersey, and Maryland are just minutes away. The following school profiles spotlight private K-12 schools within 10 miles of Philadelphia. Of the 73 schools shown in the search results, I included schools which offer instruction up to Grade 12 and have a student population of over 200 in most cases.

Private schools within 10 miles of Philadelphia

International Christian High School, Philadelphia, PA 

Miles from Philadelphia: 6
Founded in 1968
Number of students: 123
Grades 9-12, day. Coeducational
Religious Affiliation: Christian
Student-teacher ratio: 11:1

The course catalog lists 5 AP courses. For complete details regarding curriculum, sports, extracurricular activities, costs, and other information, see the International Christian High School profile.  

The Haverford School, Haverford, PA 

Miles from Philadelphia: 8.6
Founded in 1884
Number of students: 981
Grades PK-12, day. Boys
Religious Affiliation: Non-sectarian
Student-teacher ratio: 9:1

For complete details regarding curriculum, sports, extracurricular activities, costs, and other information, see The Haverford School profile. 

Friends Select School, Philadelphia, PA 

Miles from Philadelphia: 0.3
Founded in 1689
Number of students: 971
Grades PK-12, day. Coeducational

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Updated July 03, 2016 |
A Guide to the Cleveland Council of Independent Schools
The Cleveland Council of Independent Schools is an organization which currently has thirteen member schools in the greater Cleveland area.

The Cleveland Council of Independent Schools currently has thirteen member schools in the Greater Cleveland metropolitan area. On the list below are schools which offer a variety of programs including college prep, Montessori, and special needs. The CCIS website is informative and useful.  It also has an employment section worth bookmarking if you are looking for a teaching or administrative position in one of their member schools.

Andrews Osborne Academy, Willoughby, OH

Founded in 1910
Number of students: 336
Grades PK-12, day. Grades 7-12, boarding. Coeducational
Religious Affiliation: Nonsectarian

Andrews Osborne Academy is situated on a 330 acre campus about 20 miles east of Cleveland just outside the charming suburban city of Willoughby. The school offers a 6:1 student-teacher ratio. The course catalog lists 104 academic courses and 11 AP courses. For complete details regarding curriculum, sports, extracurricular activities, costs, and other information, see the Andrews Osborne Academy profile. 

Birchwood School, Cleveland, OH

Founded in 1984
Number of students: 202
Grades PK-8, day.  Coeducational
Religious Affiliation: Nonsectarian

Birchwood School is located in Cleveland convenient to  I-90, I-480 and I-71. The school offers gifted education as well as a comprehensive series of signature programs such as Speech Fest and Woodmath.  For complete details regarding curriculum, sports, extracurricular activities, costs, and other information, see the Birchwood School profile.  

Gilmour Academy, Gates Mills, OH

Founded in 1946
Number of students: 653
Grades PK-12, day.  Coeducational
Religious Affiliation: Roman Catholic

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