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, our mission is committed to educating local 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 GSA receives is not determined by town voters; it is set by the state. Unfortunately, the state's tuition allowance is not based on the actual cost of providing a GSA education, but on the lowest cost-per-student average across Maine.
In 2018-2019, the state-set tuition was $11,759. The same year, a GSA education, with its wide range of courses and extracurricular activities and strong student supports, cost $14,646 per student, a gap of nearly $2,900.
Every penny given to the GSA Fund goes directly towards covering the gap between tuition we receive and the actual cost of educating our students that year.
Why can't GSA make do with the tuition it receives?
GSA would be a very different school if it relied on tuition alone for funding. We 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 12:1 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.
Doesn't the boarding program generate surplus income?
GSA's boarding program pays for itself. No money from our sending towns is used to support the boarding program, which includes not only tuition costs, but boarding expenses such as dorm staff and operations, three meals a day, chaperones and drivers for afternoon/weekend activities, ESOL faculty and classes. After all boarding expenses are covered, there may be some surplus revenue, which is always put into the operating budget to cover costs for all students, not just the boarding students.
The CARES Act and Giving
If you have questions about giving to GSA, please contact the Advancement Office by calling 207-374-2800 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.