Since You Asked: Numbers add up for Chinese exchange

I'm wondering about the recent news that the Ashland School District is planning to enroll 25 Chinese students in high school in the fall (if it gets permission). That sounds like an interesting idea, but $25,000 seems kind of steep tuition for a public high school, even if the students are coming from another country. How did they come up with that number?

— M.M., Ashland

Well, M.M. (can we call you M. for short?), the $25,000 is not just for tuition. If you'll break out your calculator and follow along, we'll explain where the $25,000 figure came from.

Under the proposal, the 25 students, each paying $25,000, would bring in $625,000. Of the $25,000, each student's estimated food and housing costs are $11,150 and each must have $1,560 in health insurance coverage.

Beyond that, the school has an estimated $200,000 in estimated costs for language instruction, a coordinator's salary and other education-related expenses. That's $8,000 per student. Just to cover its bases, the district included $31,000 in contingency funds ($1,240 per student).

By the time all is said and done, the district would net almost $79,000 for taking in the 25 Chinese students (about $110,000 if the contingency is not spent). School officials also pointed out that beyond the profit, the deal will benefit their existing students, who will have the experience of becoming classmates and even friends with students from a different culture.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

Share This Story