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 and embarrassing 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 2-tier tuition scale
Families who fall into higher income brackets pay a somewhat higher rate (approximately $140-$220 more depending on session length). The extra revenue we earn this way goes to support more sustainable pay for our longtime session staff, who are so much of what makes NBTSC come alive afresh each time.
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 session staff a paycheck that better 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 2-tier tuition system earned only minimum wage. Actually less, if you don’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.
Please understand that this 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.
If your family’s income is
- less than $80K per year, you are welcome to choose the lower tier. (But if you can afford the 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.)
- $80K – $99K: for the most part we would hope that your family could opt into the higher rate. We do understand that large families or unusual circumstances could make this difficult, so we leave the decision up to you.
- $100K – $129K: unless your family is experiencing significant and unusual hardship that takes an extreme toll on your financial situation, please choose the higher tier.
- $130K or more per year, you would pay the higher amount.
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?
Oregon: lower tier $1500, higher tier $1720
Vermont: lower tier $1100, higher tier $1240
These are the current rates. All tuition amounts went up $100 after our early registration deadline, which was April 10. (But for future reference: the early registration deadline is normally March 31.)
Additional notes regarding tuition
- A non-refundable $150 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.)
- 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.)
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
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. (It’s April 10 in 2022–but for future reference, normally it’s March 31.) 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 are both a person of color who would like to come to NBTSC and cannot afford the tuition, please get in touch.