Why Give to GSA?
The simple answer is that it costs more to provide a GSA education than our sending towns pay. Though we are an independent town academy, not a public school, at the core of our mission is a commitment to educating area students. Our “independence” gives us greater freedom to respond to the shifting, diverse needs and interests of our students, most of whom come from area “sending towns,” towns with no public school option.
When public schools need more money, they budget for it, and voters decide how much support to provide. But the tuition we receive is not determined by town voters; it is set by the state, and that tuition allowance is based not on the actual cost of providing a GSA education, but on the lowest cost-per-student average across Maine.
In 2017-2018, that state-set tuition rate was $11,540. The same year, a GSA education, with its wide range of courses and extracurricular activities, and our strong student supports, cost $13,430 per student, a gap of nearly $1,900. Every gift to the GSA Fund helps to cover that gap in the year that gift is given.
Can't GSA just make do with the tuition it receives?
GSA would be a very different school if it relied on tuition alone for funding. It certainly could not provide the depth and breadth of courses, programming, and athletics currently offered. Class sizes would be much larger, and we would not be able to maintain our 11:1 student-teacher ratio. The distinctive opportunities our students have, including over 100 courses, small class sizes, AP classes, hands-on programs like Industrial Technology and Ocean Studies, 29 athletic teams, and traditions such as Independent Study, all make "The GSA Difference" and require funding beyond tuition.
What about the tuition from boarding students?
Yes, boarding students pay more to attend GSA. Generally, their tuition payments cover the cost-per-student of a GSA education and the additional expenses of the boarding program itself, which includes dorm staffing and operations, three meals a day, chaperones and drivers for afternoon/weekend activities, ESOL faculty and classes. These and many other boarding expenses are not and CANNOT be paid for by funding from our towns. Even though boarding tuition does not cover that gap for students from our sending towns, having boarding students at GSA keeps the average cost per student lower than it would be otherwise, and that benefits everyone.