Every student will now receive a free copy of the Yearbook and a hard-copy of the School Directory, the result of a publications “bundle” launched this year. A fee of $150 was added to student tuition last spring to cover the publication bundle, which includes the yearbook and a printed copy of the school directory.
The fee was identified separately on bills mailed to parents as a “publications fee.”
Becky Sykes, Associate Head of School, said the bundle was created “to recognize and account for the expense that the school has for certain publications.”
“We did not mean for [the fee] to be a hardship… We were trying to figure out a way to actually help to absorb the cost of something that does have an expense,” she said.
The student tuition had already been indirectly supporting aspects of Pot Pourri, the student organization that publishes the yearbook, every year. For example, the school is responsible for the salary of Pot Pourri’s faculty advisor and the Comptroller’s Office manages the organization’s account.
Sykes said, “You have to think very broadly about the expenses related to any particular thing you do within a school. Usually, it’s more than just one simple cost [and] there are these [costs] that are not as obvious because they’re part of the foundation or the support.”
According to Katie McLean ’12, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Pot Pourri, Pot Pourri typically orders around 800 copies to be printed by their publisher, Herff Jones.
Usually 300 to 400 students pre-order the yearbook, at around $125 dollars a copy. Now that every student is going to receive a copy, Pot Pourri is planning to
order about 1200 books.
Having the guaranteed subscriptions will also help facilitate the production of the yearbook by streamlining the process for Pot Pourri.
McLean said, “The yearbook staff puts so much work into [the book] that it’d be easier if we could hand out yearbooks rather than having to figuring out who’s paid, who we owe change to, who used their BlueCard, who used a check and who used cash.”
As part of the publication’s bundle, students will receive a hard copy of the school directory, most likely in the coming month.
Sykes had heard that many students preferred a printed copy of the directory, after the school switched to putting the directory only online a few years ago. As a result, students will each receive a hard copy in the coming months.
Sykes said, “[Since] the directory has the names and pictures of all the students, faculty and staff… it’s almost like a complement to the yearbook because it has information about the people who were at school with us this year, whereas the yearbook doesn’t really have all those people pictured and named.”
Stephen Carter, Chief Operating and Financial Officer, originally proposed the idea last year to the Senior Administrative Council last year. Sykes said that the publications bundle was an effort to ensure that the school would cover all operating costs in the most efficient way possible and maintain Andover’s tuition, which is lower than peer schools.
The operating budget of the school, which includes funds for Paresky Commons, the Office of Physical Plant (OPP) and the salaries of faculty and staff, depends on three sources of funding: student tuition, annual fundraising and the school’s endowment.
According to Sykes, the Board of Trustees approves the tuitions for day students and boarders and decide the financial aid budget for the upcoming school year every winter.
She said, “When [the tuition and financial aid budget] are set, it’s our best guess at what we’ll need to help pay for the operations of the school.”
“Sometimes, [the school] realizes, after the tuition is set, that we have expenses that we don’t feel we adequately accounted for,” Sykes said. “As the year goes along, we may realize that there’s an expense that the school is going to have that’s actually [for] a service that the students receive… something tuition alone isn’t going to help us cover.”
McLean said, “[Being included in the bundle] was a really good idea because I think the yearbook is something that everyone should have. It’s a book of the entire year, so it’s great to have that memory.”
According to Sykes, the school is not yet sure whether the publications bundle will be expanded to include more student publications on campus or even whether the initiative will continue in the future.
“It remains to be seen how we’ll handle [the expense] next year and in years to come,” she said. “We’re rethinking and reviewing [the bundle].”
The Phillipian declined to be included in the publications bundle.