Today marks a special day in our academic calendar: it is End of Tuition Day. From this day forward in the school year, everything is free for every student.
What exactly do I mean by “free”? And what do I mean for “every” student?
As a need-blind school, we are enormously fortunate that we are able to read every admissions application without regard to whether the student’s family can afford the tuition that our school charges. This hallmark, in one form or another, dates back to the founding of our school in 1778, when Samuel Phillips and his family and friends decided to open an academy for “Youth from Every Quarter.” We ensure that no family has to take out loans to send a student to high school. And we are able to admit the most extraordinary, diverse, nice, talented group of 1,100 students we can find. And once we are all here, we work very hard to honor everyone equally, regardless of whether one’s family happens to pay the full tuition, a part of the tuition, or none of the tuition. It is our privilege to have every one of you here, absolutely regardless.
At this point in the year — March 25, this year — something magical happens. From this point out, we rely not at all on anyone’s tuition. For everyone, the rest of the school year is free. The full cost, you see, of educating an Andover student is more than $80,000. (That doesn’t even count some of the amazing benefits that you can take advantage of, like the Addison and the Peabody museums.) The full tuition price for a day student is $38,000 and for boarding, $50,000. So from here on out, every meal: free. Every class: free. Every sports practice and game: free. Every community service trip to a neighboring town: free.
Where does it come from? Two crucial sources. One is the school’s endowment, which means all the money contributed to the school in perpetuity over hundreds of years. We have a very large endowment for a high school, and we rely on income from it to make Andover as special today as we possibly can. The other source is our Annual Fund. Each year, our alumni, parents, faculty, and staff contribute about $10 million per year to make “End of Tuition Day” possible. We are enormously proud of and grateful for this Annual Fund. It makes an enormous number of great things possible in the lives of our students.
So today, I urge you to join me in giving thanks to all those who have been generous to this school, over so many generations — this year, and in years past. Just as we look to the future at Andover — your future — we ought to honor and thank those who have gotten us here. We give thanks for all those who have make philanthropy a big part of their lives — and acknowledge how important they have been to making Andover what it is today.
And soon it will be your turn. I trust that each of you will be as generous as your forebears have, when the time comes. The reason we can celebrate End of Tuition Day is because others have given back to their school. In fact, the Class of 2013 had a 98% participation rate for the senior class gift. This year, the Class of 2015 is already at a 50% level — the highest ever on record as of this date. I challenge you all to meet or exceed the participation rate of your preceding class — and make “End of Tuition Day” come earlier and earlier with every passing year. Thank you!