CCS offers tuition assistance to those in need

Published 10:48 am Tuesday, March 13, 2012

By NICOLE LOGGINS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Cornerstone Christian School has figured out a way to maintain their enrollment numbers despite the current financial crisis.

Cornerstone operates on a need-based tuition assistance program, which was started in May of 2010. According to CCS dean and director, Jay Adams, the program serves two functions.

It provides a way for families to attend the private Christian school that couldn’t have afforded it under the previous tuition model. It also provides a way for the school to maintain enrollment during an economy that has many families priced out of private education.

Adams said one of the primary benefits of the school is the tailored education plan the school provides.

“(Cornerstone is) a smaller school, with less bureaucracy and overhead,” he said. “We are very much a community of families built around education—not a factory designed to churn out identical products.”

The elementary portion of Cornerstone ranks in the top 25 percent nationally based off of test scores, Adams said.

“Students who spend 7 years at our school average better than a 24 on the ACT,” he said.

Base tuition at CCS is in the $5,000 range. According to Adams, the cost is nearly half the per-pupil cost of a public education. To qualify for the Need-Based Tuition Assistance Program families are required to submit financial information to prove their eligibility status.

“Each family’s need is independently verified by a company called FACTS through their website,,” Adams said. “They then report back to us the amount each family can legitimately afford.”

Tuition does not cover extracurricular activities like sports.

Families can reserve a spot by turning in an application and enrollment fee, which enables the school to review academic and behavioral records before acceptance, Adams said.

“Cornerstone is built around the idea that God expects certain things of us and an important part of that is loving God with all your mind,” Adams said of the schools Christian foundation.

“We believe elementary school is a time to learn fundamental skills by drill and high school is the place when those fundamental skills give way to higher-order thinking,” he said.

Adams said the school requires students to go above and beyond what is expected.

“We believe one of the most damaging things we could do to students is to expect too little of them,” he said. “We adamantly refuse to treat teenagers like children. Our mantra, repeated often in the high school, is ‘I’ll treat you as much like an adult as you’ll let me’,” Adams said.

Because of that, the CCS atmosphere is increasingly friendly between students and teachers and discussion is a large portion of the school’s curriculum.

“Any model that suggests a teacher can simply pour information into the head of a student is fundamentally flawed, especially after age 12,” Adams said.

Adams described the school’s dynamic as one of a large family.

“We are a family,” Adams said. “That’s the simplest way to put it.”