By Lindsay Frankel

When my husband and I decided to move to Cincinnati, one of the big questions our friends asked us was what the schools were like. And our son was only 1 at the time! But it was definitely something that was on our minds, as well. We knew we had two options for Jewish day school. Whether you are Jewish or not, the education options available for your kids are going to strongly affect where you choose to settle down. Families looking to send their kids to public school often conduct their home search based on school districts. Jewish families are no different. A variety of factors will come into play when choosing to move to a specific community, but school options are definitely at the top of the list. Today in Cincinnati there are three options:

Cincinnati Hebrew Day School, Rockwern Academy, and Ohr Torah Cincinnati.

At any of the above named school, tuition will likely cost you under $6,000 per child, all in. There  are no hidden fees, no building funds, no security fees. You might think “well, if school is so cheap it must mean it is sub-par.” In fact, the education our kids are receiving is excellent (and yes, that may just be a matter of opinion, but I would urge you to come check it out for yourself!)

It’s not that schools in Cincinnati are cheap or provide lesser services. We just happen to live in a city that is fortunate to have both a Jewish Foundation and a Jewish Federation that have a lot of money, and they help subsidize the cost of education in order to make it affordable for families, especially families who otherwise might not send their children to Jewish schools. Additionally, because most Orthodox Jews in Cincinnati live in Amberley Village, the State of Ohio gives each child in Kindergarten and above a $4,650 scholarship to attend the private school of their choice (and $6,000 for High School!). The average family spends around $20,000 a year per child on tuition and fees at Jewish day schools around the country. Thanks to the double whammy of our generous Jewish philanthropy groups and the Ed Choice scholarship, our tuition bill in Cincinnati comes in at under $6,000 per child (this can vary depending on what school you choose to send your children to.) That is a ridiculous savings of $14,000 a year!

What is the Ed Choice scholarship and why does living in Amberley Village qualify us to receive it? Amberley is located in the Cincinnati Public Schools District, which according to State standards and testing, is considered a failing district. Because of this classification, all residents assigned to this district are given the option of choosing alternative schooling for their children. It is completely coincidental that our Orthodox Jewish community falls into this category of residents who can receive scholarships from the State for private school education. Applications for the scholarship are only accepted at certain times of the year so it is very important that should you choose to move to  Cincinnati, you are aware of the guidelines involved in applying for the scholarship or you could potentially land yourself in a situation where you do not qualify.

A brief tutorial on the Ed Choice Scholarship:

  1. The application window is Feb 1- Apr 30
  2. If you miss that window, there is a second enrollment period in July
  3. Students moving to Ohio for the first time are eligible regardless of grade level, otherwise eligibility begins in Kindergarten
  4. If you move to Ohio mid-year and enroll in school, you will NOT be eligible for the scholarship the following year.
  5. Students in K-8 receive $4,650 towards tuition, 9-12 receive $6,000
  6. You need to reapply each year. If you do not meet testing and/or attendance requirements, you could potentially lose the scholarship.