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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Hidden Cost of Boarding Schools


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As I begin to prepare for my daughter's junior year away, I'm a bit nervious about the additional costs of air flight ,hotel bills, and spending money in the city.Does anyone have first hand experience in the other hidden costs of a school year in residency? My daughter's scholarship was generous but we need to budget for the incidentals, as well. Sharing your "heads up" would help.

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A generous long distance phone plan :D

DD's first year away phone bills were hundreds of $$$ MONTHLY ...thankfully 2nd yr we found a reverse calling plan that saved my $$ and sanity :wacko:

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We always go to a festival every year, and that is an additional cost for transportation to get there (this year to Miami) and hotels and such there. I know that if it is a huge problem, the school will try to help.

 

For the flights, make sure you have a frequent flyer miles program. That helps to cut down the cost somewhat.

 

Other than that it's just the little things, snacks for the room, extra pointe shoes, and all those little things that eventually add up a little bit.

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I have had to do a financial statement every year as a requirement for funding and the total is quite scary. The cost of pointe shoes certainly is very high because of the number of hours of dance a week (one or two pair per week on average). Also when a dancer is limited in access to stores to within walking distance, incidentals certainly add up much quicker when bought in small quantities at the local drug store or stationary store. Phone bills are higher than I would want ideally but when a busy dancer finds the time to phone you don't really care if is is not a discount rate time. Also after a length of time eating residence food I have found that outside food costs and eating out costs rise. Res food can get pretty boring after several years. As well, the cost of taxis has to be factored in or public transportation (that rises as the dancer gets older and out more away from residence). I don't keep track of the cost of care packages and postage but I am sure they are significant. Also for security my dancer has a cell phone, not a land line and must pay internet costs without being bundled in with phone costs. If you want more specific information please feel free to pm me. :D

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Thanks for the "heads up". We have been spoiled at our studio with low performance costs up to now. Have you had to pay for extra things other than additional shoes during residence performances?

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Don't forget to budget in airfare or other travel to get to her performances. As a parent who lives in town, this is not a problem for me, but we have many friends who really struggle with this and it is sad to not be able to see your dancer perform in major productions (which at my daughter's residency occur 3 times a year, but may or may not include your dancer) and the reverse to be dancing and have no one there to cheer you on, except your school chums. You often don't know until a couple of weeks before if your dancer is in it or which nights they are dancing, so ticket costs can be high.

 

Some parents find that with paying for them to come home for spring break, Christmas break and Thanksgiving break, the performances are really just too expensive to make the trip. :D

 

Food for the room can be an added costs, depending upon how much your child likes the food in the cafeteria, their schedule allows them to eat there and their morning habits (get up late, need to grab something in the room and go). If your dancer wants bottled water or diet drinks or sports drinks, healthy late night snacks, etc. this can all add up on a weekly basis.

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I appreciate everyone's posts. I'll go back and reread the threads on cell phone plans, traveling holidays and sixteenth birthdays away now with a little different eye. Thanks for sharing along the way :D

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Out of network doctor bills, or physical therapy bills. Cost of transportation to and from these visits (school charged for any extra trips.) Costs of getting to SI auditions if there are not many at the residency program. THen costs of the "real" audition trips senior year. Cost of uniform leo's and tights if required. Ours were not a common leo, and often could not be found at the discount sites/catalogues and had to be ordered from the dance shop at full price. Cost of shipping things to the dorms, or buying them upon arrival. Somehow there seems to be an extra set of lots of things--a set for the dorm and a set for home. Extra baggage costs when flying home for summer and back. Hard to bring a summers worth of "STUFF" home in two suitcases each under 50 lbs. Even at Christmas, getting the presents (new clothes and the like) back to school. For us, there was also getting from school to the airport each trip. It was not a covered cost.

 

We solved the costs of phoning home with a cellular family plan where cell to cell was unlimited, and cell to home was way cheaper than anything else. When I wanted to just talk and not worry about the time, I just called her cell from my cell. We used thousands of minutes a month cell to cell, all at no cost for the minutes, just the 39.99 for the first phone and $9.99 for the second one. They lost money on us for sure.

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Also check your health insurance plan for any limitations. Anthem (at least for our plan) has just put a limit on the number of physical therapy visits per year.

 

Also come to some sort of agreement with your child regarding entertainment, dinners out etc. Fortunately the town she lives in has a "dollar theater" which undoubtedly has saved us a lot of money over the years.

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Definately the cell phone with the family share plan and instant messages. A good way to communicate especially if there is a time change between DK and home.

 

The trips for the holidays and our visits are expensive! One of the firsts things I did was get a VISA card with the airline we fly. We have already racked up one free ticket. I charge most of the family expenses--as well as tuition!

 

Other items: Care packages: My daughter loves things from home. Medical costs: for out of network providers! Winter clothes: She had no winter clothes (had not experienced snow before) so that was an additional expense for us. Food and household products: She provides her own paper goods etc. and they will cook or go out if they do not like the food especially on weekends.

 

Shipping: for bedding, pillows etc. The plan is for her to bring back the winter clothes at Spring break and we can avoid the expensive shipping!

 

Must get: those vaccum storage bags. Super for the bedding, pillows and sweaters. We used them in the suitcases and the items we shipped. They are reusable.

 

My recommendation: Fly southwest if you can, they allow 3 checked bags. That's great if a parent can go. I bought cheap duffle bags and we weighted them to make sure they were not over the 50LB limit. We checked her bags at the curb on the way out and they never weighed them, probably a good think. :wub:

 

 

Savings: We took her off the auto insurance and didn't need to buy her a car :blushing:

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Another cost could be the high school that the students use. Sometimes a private school is required or if a public school, there might be costs of transportation, books, etc. I could easily spend $500 or more on just a weekend visit since a hotel was needed, food and transportation. I also would want to treat her since I was there and try to get theater tickets. So, a quick weekend to visit could be very expensive even if I could drive there. They often have special Gala dances to attend also which usually requires a formal dress, shoes, etc.

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Computer or laptop that is compatible with the campus system. The school should have an "IT Department" that will list computer requirements.

 

Microwave, TV and fridge are nice extra's to have.

 

A plug-in telephone as each room has a local telephone number.

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