Your SAS Tuition: Where is it Going?

There are various misconceptions that some SAS students hold in terms of SAS’s funds and where and how much is allocated to different areas.

As students, we are often told to be grateful for our staff, administrators, and teachers. In order to be master educators, planners, and administrators, having adequate funds dedicated to enhancing education is important. Within the SAS walls, inside the Central Administration office, is the Finance and Business Operations at SAS. Within their collection of articles chronicling their work entitled Finance at SAS, they explain that “[their] goal when deciding how to allocate the school’s money is straightforward: to achieve our mission, an exemplary American educational experience with an international perspective, without letting our expenses exceed our revenue.” 

But this statement does not answer all of the questions that students may have.

Where Most of Your Money Goes

As Jenny Theresia, an administrator working within the Finance and Business Operations explained, heads of departments analyze the requirements of program offerings and construct a budget proposal for the board. Programs such as Quest and Catalyst are included in the “Learning Resources” category of SAS’s expenses and take up 6.8% of the total. Below are pie charts displaying the revenues and expenses for this school year:

Yes, salaries and benefits take up A LOT. Here’s the explanation: this category includes housing, coverage of trips back to home, insurance, retirement savings (American teachers overseas do not receive a pension), and tuition remission when parent-teachers are employed, as they are not paying SAS for their children’s tuition since they teach here.

PTA-run Events and Donations

A common misconception from students is that their tuition is being spent on extravagant PTA- run events. Celebrations that include the PTA International Fair and the numerous Senior Spirit Activities throughout the year may affirm this inaccurate conclusion. Well, PTA-run events are, in fact, independent from the school; these events are funded via the various PTA fundraising activities throughout the year.

There are two types of donors to SAS: donors who “restrict” their donated money to a specific program of their choice, and donors who do not specify. For those who specify, their money goes into a program or category of funds that they choose. For people who do not specify, the board and administration decide based on school-wide requests submitted to the different Principals.

“It is important for students to educate themselves on where funds are going, so that we remain relevant contributors to improvement measures for our school.”

The Intended Goal

Money allocations are decided by the school board and administration based on the school’s goals and the identification of all resources needed to achieve these goals. The board and administration review the Finance and Business Operation’s work and benchmark them against other large Asian international schools to keep SAS’s education competitive and producing solid value for our community.

It is important for students to educate themselves on where funds are going, so that we remain relevant contributors to improvement measures for our school. A crucial consideration of almost any change that SAS administrators make is money. Therefore, students need to understand how our administration is handling this money. Only then can we be more influential in deciding our high school experience. Trust that your education is the priority, because it is.

Author: Ishnaan Kaur

Ishnaan Kaur is currently a sophomore and this is her first year working for The Eye. She has been living in Singapore for one year, and prior to that she was living in Maryland. Her interests include politics, music, reading, writing (especially essays), and socratic seminars. Ishnaan hopes to pursue a career in the communications field. She can be contacted at kaur776430@sas.edu.sg.

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