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Rochester Central Lutheran School


Affording a Private School

Think you can’t afford a private education? Think again!


Variable Tuition

Because we believe enrollment at RCLS should not be limited to families who can afford to pay full tuition, RCLS offers a Variable Tuition program to ensure a Christian education is available to as many as possible. 

Every student at RCLS benefits from support that is collectively provided through our Association churches: Family of Christ, Grace, Holy Cross, and Trinity Lutheran Churches. We are also grateful for additional gifts and donations from The Grace Foundation and the generous RCLS community. These effectively lower the tuition rate from the full cost per K-8 student to $7,400 for the 2019-20 school year.

Families who choose to apply for Variable Tuition may expect to pay between $3700-7400 per student.

Tuition payments may be made monthly. The monthly tuition range is between $308-617/month. 

What is Variable Tuition?

Variable Tuition is a need-based tuition assistance program. This program allows families to apply for reduced tuition.

How does Variable Tuition work?

Any family of a student in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade may apply for Variable Tuition. Families may apply for Variable Tuition only after they have enrolled at RCLS.

A third-party agency evaluates a family’s financial circumstances to determine eligibility for Variable Tuition. Factors such as income, assets, expenses, family size, unusual expenses, and more are considered in the eligibility analysis.

During the enrollment process in TADS, families are encouraged to apply for Variable Tuition as soon as possible.

(Note: returning families must submit an application by March 15. New families enrolling after March 15 are encouraged to submit an application within a week of enrollment).

The school cannot estimate the tuition level for which a family qualifies without the completion of a Variable Tuition application. Applications, complete with supporting documents, are submitted directly to TADS, which then makes a recommendation to the school.

Typically, families are notified of the tuition level for which they qualify via a formal tuition agreement, which is delivered to a family’s email in May before the upcoming school year or within two weeks of application completion at other times of the school year.

When will I receive confirmation of my Variable Tuition?

In early May, new and returning families will receive confirmation of a Variable Tuition rate via a formal tuition agreement for the upcoming school year. New families who apply for Variable Tuition prior to March 15 may request a preliminary tuition estimate to be delivered in April.

New families who apply for Variable Tuition after May 1 will typically receive a tuition agreement within 2 weeks of providing all the required information to our confidential third-party service.

Do I need to apply for Variable Tuition every year?

Yes. A new application must be submitted to TADS every year.

What is the typical economic situation of a family who qualifies for Variable Tuition?

It is impossible to say what is typical because a wide range of families with a variety of circumstances qualify for the program. Some who qualify for Variable Tuition pay close to the entry level (the lower end) of the tuition range. Others pay closer to the exit level (the higher end) of the tuition range. Many factors are evaluated, including size of family, income, assets, expenses, and more.

Are some families awarded full tuition?

No. Every RCLS family makes a financial investment in their child’s education. 

SCRIP Credits for Tuition

Families can contribute toward tuition payments by participating in the SCRIP Credits program. SCRIP is a gift certificate that can be used like cash. Certificates are available for many national chains as well as local stores. Click on the link below for a complete listing of SCRIP options. When you buy a certificate from the SCRIP program, a rebate, which varies depending on the vendor, is granted to the school. For example, HyVee offers a 3% rebate, while Old Navy offers a 14% rebate. There are hundreds of participating vendors, most of which are stores your family likely frequents: Panera, Papa Murphy’s, Culvers, Kwik Trip, Home Depot, Famous Footwear, and many more. You might even find that your veterinarian or favorite local shop participates through RACS, a system of Rochester-area vendors. This is a great way to support RCLS, but it is ALSO an advantage to families because 70% of the rebate RCLS receives is granted to the purchaser as tuition credit for the following school year. That means that a portion of your planned purchases of grocery, gas, and school clothes can serve as credits toward tuition. Consider the following example:

Scrip Credits Example



Registration Fee:  $125/student ($250 max)

Elective Curricular and Extracurricular Activity Fees:

     Band (grades 4-8): $220

     Activity Fees (athletics, arts): Varies, $25-50/activity

Hot Lunch Program: $2.55/meal for all Preschool-Grade 8 students. The federal government free and reduced-price lunch program is available to RCLS students.

Early Childhood Tuition

The Early Childhood Development Center offers a range of days and programming. Tuition assistance is not offered for Preschool and Prekindergarten classes, but tuition varies based on selected programming. See the ECDC page for more information.