With the destruction of nearly a million homes in Nepal as a result of the 2015 Earthquake, rentals are in short supply and demand is high everywhere. Add to this, the shortage of building materials with the corresponding increased cost of repairs, and we find the cost of living soaring. One of the unintended consequences is that schools have found that they, too, can get away with raising the cost of admission and tuition to pay for their repairs. As in the rest of the world, once the price is increased in the short run, they are extended for the long run. Nepal is caught up in a spiral of escalating costs.
For the past 5 years we have been able to hold our annual sponsorships to $300 for primary and secondary students mainly due to the persistent weakening of the Nepali rupee which has compensated for the inevitable rise in living costs over the years. It is now evident that ANSWER is now operating in the red and must, at last, raise our sponsorship costs, too. We must now ask sponsors to pay $400 (up from $300) for Primary and Secondary School students (Grades 4-10). Students in Grades 11-13 we will hold at $500 for the time being, while University sponsorships will increase from $300 to $500 primarily because these students really need more help. In the past two years, more and more of our University students have been specializing, going into Engineering, Nursing, Law, CPA, IT, etc., or into Technical programs such as Auto mechanics, Overseer, Dental Hygiene……all expensive options, but sure-fire careers in Nepal.
Because we were hopeful that costs would stabilize sooner, we were reluctant to pass these increases on to you last year. Perhaps this was a mistake, but if we had raised them last year, we most likely have had to raise them again this year. To be honest, we have taken a hit, especially our scholarship fund, but it is probably better in the long run to pass on one large increase rather than two increases years in subsequent years. We cannot say for sure, even today, that schooling costs have flattened out (Recall that Pres. Trump wants to weaken the dollar!), but it is imperative that we institute these increases now.
The University student sponsors will be the first to receive these increased billings this summer. (Again, Grades 11-13 students will remain at $500/year.) Primary and secondary student sponsors will see their sponsorships increase to $400 with the winter letters you receive in December and January. If this is going to impact your ability to support your student, please contact Lisa or me, and we will try to work with you….your student’s education is critical, but we understand some of you may be stretched as it is and will feel the impact, too. Let us know. We are very concerned about your welfare, too.