NO to a 10% increase in tuition fees for 2023-2024!
During the Assemblée des Conseillers (pre-board of directors meeting) on Wednesday, March 16, the LFIT administration presented a budget for 2023-2024 that requires a 10% increase in tuition fees to cover a structural deficit. Part of this deficit can be explained by decisions made by the administration and validated by the Conseil d’Administration (board), such as:
- Not refreshing the enrollment forecast following COVID (CA Feb 2018) ;
- A significant gap between the cost initially planned for the construction of the annex building (CA Feb 2018) and the actual costs (CA Oct 2022) ;
- Initial restructuring costs for school lunch services – which are now balancing out and no longer running an operational deficit (CA Apr 2022) ;
- A legal dispute due to inaccuracies in the local teaching personnel contracts (CA Oct 2021) ;
- the cancellation of the tuition fee increase at the beginning of the 2021 school year, for which the FLT representatives abstained from voting because it was not properly funded (CA Juin 2020).
Position of the parent’s association representatives
The parent representatives are opposed to a 10% increase in tuition fees.
As parents, we can understand increases due to inflation (energy costs, etc.) and financing infrastructure needed to accommodate students in good conditions, and we are willing to bear with such increases. However, it is hard to accept the sudden announcement of such a significant increase in fees only a few weeks before the Conseil d’Administration (board meeting) when the main reasons for the deficit (Covid and real estate project) are hardly new topics. In fact, there was no mention of such an increase in tuition fees, either during budget planning last year or during the last board meeting in October 2022.
Nevertheless, the association has been working constructively with the school administration for several years, in accordance with our statutes, and therefore chose to split its votes at the Council Meeting between a vote against the 10% increase and an abstention, given that significant expenses will be necessary in the years to come to ensure the sustainability of the school and the quality of education. Since the allocation of board votes is structurally favorable to the majority group composed of the school administration, the embassy, and the AEFE (Agency for French Education Abroad), our two votes against would not have changed the outcome.
Since 2003, the cost of tuition has increased by nearly 50% with near zero inflation in Japan. With planned inflation at 1.9% for 2023, such a significant additional burden would be difficult, if not impossible, for families to bear. Indeed, tuition fees continue to rise year after year, representing a total cost of more than 20M JPY for families whose children would follow the complete school curriculum from kindergarten to high school.
(The following graph shows the total tuition cost projection from nursery school to high school graduation, by year of enrollment. Blue represents the standard section, red represents the international section, and green represents the fluctuations of the consumer price index. The calculation assumes a 10% price increase for the next 2 years then a 5% price increase each year thereafter.)
If the school faces a structural deficit, this should not simply be resolved by increasing tuition fees, but rather by reflecting on the best model and financial structure that would allow to alleviate the burden on each family and by exploring all possibilities to solicit other means of financing LFI Tokyo projects besides tuition fees (businesses, state, philanthropy, events, subscriptions, etc.).
We also ask that any increase in tuition fees be paired with efforts to reduce expenses and proper communication around these efforts and that this increase be spread over time, through a 3 to 5-year plan, which we have requested many times.
Therefore, if a proposal identical to that made at the Assemblee des Conseillers is proposed for a vote at the next board meeting, we will be obliged to vote UNANIMOUSLY against.
What can you do to help?
As parents, if you think you will not be able to bear the financial burden of this increase to the point where you can no longer enroll your children for the 2023-24 school year or see yourself having to deal with a significant impact on your day to day life, please quickly inform the accounting department of LFI Tokyo and/or the association. Many families find it difficult to project themselves into the future, which is why we are asking the administration for visibility over the next 3 to 5 years and solutions to reduce the deficit. Your feedback on the impact of a 10% increase on your plans for your children’s education would be highly valued.
Our representatives are also closely monitoring the consequences on scholarship applications. If you are applying for a scholarship, you can inform the accounting department of LFI Tokyo that you are waiting to know the amount of the scholarship before confirming your registration, as well as request to only pay the registration fees once this confirmation is made.
Please trust that the parent administrators (elected among the members of the parents association to represent you) are working actively to maintain the accessibility of LFI Tokyo to all families wishing to enroll their children in the French school system. Do not hesitate to reach out to share your ideas on how to reduce the deficit to contribute to shaping the future of the school.