Hawaii school to halt free tuition for child of employees

HONOLULU — The Punahou School in Hawaii will end its practice of granting free tuition for one child for new employees starting in 2022.

New hires at the school are now scheduled to receive a $5,000 discount in tuition for one child, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported on Friday.

Current school employees will be grandfathered into the new policy and receive a $28,000 tuition discount after 2022. Tuition during the 2021-22 school year is expected to cost $27,716.

“It is a major decision as it’s something that almost every private school has — that they give free tuition to at least the first child,” said Philip Bossert, executive director of the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools.

The policy of granting free tuition for one child of full-time employees will remain at other large private schools in the state, such as the ‘Iolani School, Mid-Pacific Institute and the Maryknoll School.

“‘Iolani School has no plans to alter its tuition remission policy for faculty and staff,” Headmaster Timothy Cottrell said Thursday. “The board and the administration feel that this is an essential benefit necessary to attract, retain and reward the highest quality staff.”

Punahou School said in a statement that it made the decision in order to “lay the groundwork for long term sustainability and growth.”

“We believe that the changes will enable us to continue to invest in our faculty and staff while also preserving need-blind admissions policies and increasing financial aid for all Punahou families, part of our essential commitment to social responsibility,” the school said in the statement.

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