Stoneleigh-Burnham School reduces tuition for day students

  • An aerial view of Stoneleigh-Burnham School on Bernardston Road in Greenfield. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Stoneleigh-Burnham Head of School Stephanie Luebbers talks with students. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Stoneleigh-Burnham Head of School Stephanie Luebbers CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/16/2019 10:14:11 PM

GREENFIELD — Stoneleigh-Burnham School has reduced its day-student tuition for middle and high schoolers for the 2020 to 2021 school year, making it more affordable for local students and their families.

Currently, all day students pay $36,150 a year — some receive financial aid and scholarships to help. In 2020 to 2021, middle schoolers will pay $18,500 and high schoolers will pay $22,500.

The independent day and boarding school on Bernardston Road has been part of the Pioneer Valley for 150 years, attracting girls in grades seven through 12 from more than 15 states and more than a dozen countries, but enrollment has been uneven over the past few years, mainly because of the cost to local students, according to the school’s head.

“I came on as head of school on July 1, 2018, and I immediately sensed that the price tag for day students wasn’t quite reachable in the local market,” Stephanie Luebbers said. “As an educator, I am committed to local spaces like Franklin County and the surrounding area.”

Luebbers said she and her staff started thinking of ways not only to connect the school and its students to the entire valley, but to decide what to do about day-student tuition.

“Day-student enrollment has been uneven, and this is, in large part, because private school tuitions have increased much more rapidly than local families’ incomes,” Marketing and Communications Manager Maeve Ryan said.

This year, 137 students are enrolled at Stoneleigh-Burnham. Last year there were 140. However, the school has the capacity to enroll 160 students, day and boarding combined, Ryan said.

Luebbers said tuition has been out of reach for so many students living in the area.

“Some families have needed a lot of financial aid,” she said. “They get sticker shock when they hear how much it costs, and we want to give everyone the opportunity to come to Stoneleigh-Burnham.”

Luebbers said students will still receive financial aid.

“There are some parents whose children don’t get financial aid, but will be paying less than they have been,” she said. “They are very happy with the change.”

Luebbers said 35 percent of enrolled students are day students, 35 percent are international and 30 percent are boarding students from within the country. She said the school wants to make it affordable for everyone, so it will be discussing a tuition reduction for boarding students next.

Boarding tuition will remain at $61,750 a year, at least for the next year or so.

“ It’s my dream to reduce it in the future.",” she said.

“Tuition goes up at private schools, just like colleges, and it becomes unsustainable,” Luebbers said. “We have to make changes. We’re at the leading edge of this idea, and we have other heads of schools calling to find out how to make such a change.”

According to Luebbers, the day-student tuition reset is, “an exciting opportunity for more Pioneer Valley families to experience our inclusive community and rich programs.”

The school is known for its academics, as well as for its performing and visual arts, athletics and equestrian programs. It is the first school in New England to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and 100 percent of its seniors are accepted to college each year.

“We take great pride in our mission to help girls develop confident, independent voices and the skills to flourish in a changing world,” she said. “Our success is evident, not just in the strong, creative and vibrant women who call SBS their alma mater, but in the palpable spirit of inclusion, support and sisterhood here.”

Luebbers said what she loves best about Stoneleigh-Burnham is its diversity “in everything.” She said she would like to see it become even more diverse so students can experience the “real world” on campus. That way, they’ll learn to value their own voices and the voices of their classmates.

“It’s small and homey,” she said. “Girls find out who they are, and they learn to work collaboratively. We push them to grow. There’s a camaraderie among all of our students.”

For more information, contact Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management Kristen Mariotti at: kmariotti@sbschool.org.

Reach Anita Fritz at
413-772-0261, ext. 269 or afritz@recorder.com.




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