Skip to content

Tuition details

This page is your guide to all things financial at NBTSC.
We’ll begin with a little apology: oh, how we would love to offer you a simple one-size-fits-all pricetag! It sometimes feels awkward that our tuition has so many permutations. The thing is, just as a flat tax rate is generally considered to be unfair or at least result in hardship for lower income folks, when we oversimplify we risk unfairness for you, or unsustainability for us. Thank you for your patience and understanding!
And now onward with details and more explanations.
All about the 3-tier tuition scale


Families pay different rates depending on their income. The lowest tuition tier includes a built-in scholarship –that is, it does not fully cover the costs we incur per camper to operate a session. The middle tier roughly reflects our actual cost (per camper) of running a session – that is, when we are able to operate 2 relatively full sessions per year. The higher tier helps us make up the gap between the current session’s income and our longer term organizational needs and overhead. 

Please know that our multi-tier policy does not come lightly or in the interest of extravagance. For the most part we are thrilled to continue to run camp frugally: by continuing to choose beautiful but simple sites, serve delicious but simple food, and run a relatively simple program without the need for lots of fancy supplies or equipment. We continue to pass along the savings on these expenses to all camp families. That said, there are areas where we’d rather be fair than frugal: 

We want to pay fair wages

One of the main reasons we started a multi-tier tuition system, a few years back, is that we have long struggled between two competing desires: 1) to keep camp tuition as low as possible, to make NBTSC widely accessible, and 2) to offer longtime staff a paycheck that reflects our appreciation and the talent, wisdom, and commitment with which they mentor and inspire campers year after year. (Some who have worked at NBTSC for 10 years or more – who not only bring valuable skills and perspective but also have their own children to support – still pay the bulk of their own travel costs and prior to our multi-tier tuition system earned only minimum wage. Actually less, if you didn’t count the value of lodging and meals.) We don’t know of a perfect solution to this dilemma, but our best idea is for families who are themselves being well compensated for their work to help us better compensate our staff.

Which tier do I choose?  

If your family’s income is 
  • less than $73K per year, you are welcome to choose the lower tier, which includes a partial scholarship. We want to keep NBTSC as widely accessible as we can, so we offer this discounted rate for those who truly need it. (But if you can afford a higher tier, we gratefully appreciate your opting in. This may apply to families who are not large, don’t live in high cost-of-living areas, don’t have unusually difficult medical situations, or who have significant assets apart from annual income.) 
    • To select the lower tier: when you register, you will be asked whether you have any coupon codes. Enter the coupon code LOWINCOME.
  • $73K – $113K: unless your family is experiencing significant and unusual hardship that takes an extreme toll on your financial situation, please choose at least the middle tier. 
    • To select the middle tier: this is the default rate, so you won’t need to do anything to select it.
  • $114K – $154K: unless your family is experiencing significant and unusual hardship that takes an extreme toll on your financial situation, please choose the higher tier. If the higher tier is not feasible, you may select the middle tier. 
    • To select the higher tier: while registering, you’ll encounter an “add-ons” section where you can opt in to things like T shirts, field trips, bus rides to camp, etc. Choose the “higher income tier” add-on.
  • $155K or more: you would choose the higher tier.

Thank you for your support! 

How do I determine income?  

The most relevant number is your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) (typically reported on Line 37 if you file a form 1040 with the IRS). If two parents file separately, please combine these amounts. You can use last year’s AGI or estimate this year’s if your finances are stable and predictable. (This is an honor system. We don’t ask for documentation.)
How much is tuition?
  • lower tier $1845
  • middle tier $2265
  • higher tier $2465


  • lower tier $1335
  • middle tier $1580
  • higher tier $1780

For future reference: plan to meet the early registration deadline
All tuition amounts (both sessions, all tiers) go up $150 after our early registration deadline, which is March 31 most years. (Tuition currently listed on this page reflects the $150 increase.) To qualify for the lower tuition, registration must be complete, including camper application question responses and deposit paid, by the deadline.

Additional notes regarding tuition

Due dates

  • A non-refundable $250 deposit is due at the time of registration. (We spell out our definition of “non-refundable” on our refund policy page.)
  • For all sessions, the remaining balance is due on June 1st. (If you register on June 1st or later then you would pay the full amount upon registration.)
  • Or, you can set up a payment plan via your online account, which spreads tuition payments over several months.

Convenient way to pay for camp 

It’s easy to pay right in our registration portal on CampDoc. But you’re also welcome to mail us a paper check or money order. (Make it out to NBTSC and send it to NBTSC, P.O. Box 2034, Joshua Tree, CA 92252.)

Payment-plan discount 

  • You can set up a monthly payment plan with CampDoc. If it deducts directly from a bank account, you’ll receive a discount of approximately 2%.  (If it charges a credit card, normal tuition applies.)

Small discount if you pay most of your tuition via (paper) check or money order

You can pay your deposit online, but the balance of your tuition must be paid via one on-time check or money order. See details in the Camper and Parent Handbook (it’s available through your online account as soon as you register).

Multi-session discount

If you are coming to more than one session, you receive a $100 discount for each session after the first. (If you have a worktrade, however, this doesn’t apply  – see worktrade page for details.)

Sibling discount

If your family is sending more than one camper to the same session and if it would be helpful, you are welcome to opt in to our sibling discount. The first sibling pays full price and then any additional siblings receive a $50 discount. If you don’t need this discount, awesome – we’ll put the funds toward two of our important financial goals: better pay for longtime session staff, and scholarships to help us grow into a more racially inclusive and diverse community.

Technicalities? We assume that siblings would share at least one parent/guardian, and we’d hope that if we had questions or concerns about their registrations, we could resolve them by talking with just one adult.


We offer worktrades at each session, for a limited number of campers who both like to help out and who also need financial help. We are strict about the application deadline, which is April 7. (It’s normally March 31, but we’ve pushed it back one week for 2024.)  See our  worktrade page for details and the application.

$35 fee for late tuition

We get in trouble (and have to pay extra) when our checks bounce. So, we charge $35 if your tuition isn’t in on time. Thank you for your understanding.

$25 for NSF checks

We also have to pay extra (and do extra work) when your checks bounce. So, alas, we must charge $25 each time. Thank you for understanding.

Vermont ~ diversity scholarships

In Vermont, we offer diversity scholarships. If you want to come to camp and you are both BIPOC  and cannot afford the tuition, please get in touch.