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KC1996
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 03 Nov 2016
Posts: 11


PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:19 am    Post subject: Students in Financial Difficulty Reply with quote

How do other instructors approach a situation where a student (or students) are having financial difficulties and can't afford the full tuition for training, grading fees etc?

How much wiggle room do you give students like this? Do you allow a break in tuition, grading fees etc? Or do you take a more hard-line approach and if they can't pay they can't participate? What do you do for the students who always seems to be down on their luck?
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1288

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is nothing stopping a dedicated and determined person from training whenever and wherever possible as often as possible. A student should be able to attend as many training sessions with an instructor as possible. The key is to make the most of that time.

Whatever the student's time and financial resources will allow at a given time. Sometimes these might change, but the essential principle remains: learn in the dojo, but always train on your own. Make sure to take full adavantage of the instructor's time, especially if this is not as frequent as you would like it to be.
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DWx
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 5700
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How you approach this will depend on your relationship with them and the individual situation.

I do think it's nice to help out when students are struggling but I would always say you are not running a charity and shouldn't feel obliged to provide free tuition. You are providing a (non-essential) service which they choose to participate in and presumably have overheads which need to be met?

I think you have a couple of options:

1) Suspend or reduce their payments until they are able to meet them again
2) Suspend tor reduce their payments temporarily, with a plan in place so that when they are more financially stable they can reimburse you and cover the shortfall
3) Suspend or reduce their payments but they should offer payment in some other way, like cleaning the dojo every week or helping with paperwork
4) Ask that they do not train unless they can meet the fees

Personally #4 is a little harsh and you risk losing the student. #1 is very generous but there is a risk that this could cause resentment from other students and ill feeling further down the line. So I would be leaning to option #2 or #3 as it helps them out but still places value on what you are doing.
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ashworth
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 13 Nov 2006
Posts: 495
Location: UK
Styles: freestyle, shotokan, IJR Karate, Iaido

PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As an instructor I like to offer help when students are struggling, I have often said they pay another time when they have the money, (usually like to keep it private so others students don't know) but the club does make profit, that profit is for the club therefore I'm happy to reduce certain fees where possible.
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The Pred
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 301

Styles: Goju Ryu

PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This can be a very difficult situation. But I would make sure they pay something, even if its 5.00 once a week. Or perhaps you can offer to reduce the bill if they bring in a new person to sign up.
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KC1996
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 03 Nov 2016
Posts: 11


PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is a tough situation and the dues are already ridiculously cheap. The dojo has very low overhead so we're lucky that way.

I'm all for helping out to a certain degree. I'm wondering where, or if, to draw the line on how much to help out. Being helpful vs being taken advantage of. If a member already has their dojo dues reduced, would you also do the same for gradings and clinics for the same member?
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The Pred
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 301

Styles: Goju Ryu

PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say if you charge for testing (some schools don't) and they are in financial trouble, then perhaps they shouldn't be allowed to test. Furthermore, perhaps tell them they can only come once a week.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 12576
Location: Owasso, OK
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first love is to teach, and in that, my first love is my students...and not money. I'll work with any student that's experiencing some financial difficulties. I've already, years ago, and so has our Hombu, eliminated all testing fees across the board, and I/we've not looked back since then.

Communication is the key. If somethings broken, and I'm not told about it, how can I try to fix it. All a student has to ever do is to speak with me behind close doors, and together, we'll work it out where all benefit.

If, for whatever the reason(s) might or might not be, I'm not spoken with, and tuition isn't being paid, then suspensions are given and upheld until the communication line is opened. And if warranted, I'll expel because the student refused to open up the communication line.

While my dojo is a business, and my students are more important to me than money, the business still needs to satisfy its accounts receivable and accounts payable. Otherwise, the doors must be closed!! That doesn't do anyone of us any good, if that happens!!

Keep the communication lines open at all times. From that, all things are workable!!



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