Financing Your Child’s Tuition

The following suggestions will help you find ways to fund or finance your daughter’s time at Gem Academy. 

School District Funding

Public schools in the U.S. are funded through a combination of federal and state taxes. Amounts vary from school to school and state to state, but funds allocated to schools are based on the number of students enrolled in the school system. A simple way to think of this funding method is this: the money follows the student. If your child is diagnosed as obese and in need of remedial treatment, it’s possible state laws require your school system to allocate the funds it receives for her to a remedial, alternative educational provider such as Gem Academy. To learn more about how this works in your district, contact your local school system representatives.

Section 504 Assistance

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 includes Section 504, a law that obliges public schools to accommodate any individual with a disability. The American Medical Association (AMA) classifies obesity as a disease that can result in disabilities. Therefore, if your physician diagnoses your child with obesity, your school may be legally obligated to make accommodations that might include funding assistance for a remedial program such as Gem Academy. Please contact your physician and school to learn more about this possible funding strategy.

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Tax Deductions

Section 502 of the IRS Tax Code instructions defines Obesity as a medical condition that can require treatment, particularly if a physician diagnoses the student as obese and at risk. Under this provision – depending on your tax filing status – fees paid to Gem Academy related to this diagnosis could be claimed as a Schedule A deduction on your IRS 1040. For more information go to the IRS website here. We also recommend that you consult with your tax advisor to investigate this potential medical deduction.

College Funds: The 529 Savings Plan

Think of Gem Academy as a way to put your daughter in the best position to make the most of college. Without proper and effective intervention, she may not have the grades or motivation to get into or make it through college. With this in mind, you may want to consider using your child’s college fund to finance Gem. Please consult your tax advisor for details regaring the use of your 529 account for Gem Academy tuition.

Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account

You may be able to pay for parts of Gem Academy tuition with your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). If you have a FSA or HSA through your employer, you already know it’s extremely beneficial for you to use this account for allowable health expenses. Since HSA and FSA funds are pre-tax dollars, using them significantly reduces the effective expense.

Medical Insurance Reimbursement

Weekly Counseling and Nutritional Education is key facet of Gem Academy’s therapeutic health and wellness program. Specific provisions in insurance policies regarding reimbursements vary considerably, depending on the provider and plan, but it’s possible your provider will reimburse costs associated with our therapeutic health and wellness programming. Contact your provider to find out if your policy includes out of network providers such as Gem. We’re happy to provide monthly invoices for therapy sessions at an average rate of $2,000 per month. Please check with your physician and health insurance provider to see if they reimburse for counseling. Gem offers no guarantees that these costs are claimable or recoverable in whole or part – that’s up to your insurance provider. While this funding avenue may provide significant relief, your decision to enroll at Gem Academy should not be contingent on receiving insurance reimbursements.

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Loan / Credit Financing

Once they understand how critical weight loss is to their child’s health, many families seek financing to split the cost of Gem Academy into manageable monthly payments. Various forms of loan financing can be used to spread out the cost of tuition over time. We encourage you to consider the following options:

  • Credit Cards:This is quick and easy but will accumulate the highest interest charges. While this is a real alternative, we advise caution when considering credit as a form of long-term financing.
  • Second Mortgage:If you have equity in your home, consider approaching your mortgage lender to secure a loan. This type of financing, if available, is long term and can result in low-cost, affordable monthly payments.
  • Personal Loan: The availability of personal loans depends upon your individual credit history and collateral. There are scores of financial institutions that have loan programs. If you’re not familiar with them, we recommend considering these:
      • Lightstream at SunTrust Bank
      • Prosper loan services.
      • CareCredit health and wellness credit financing services.
      • MyTreatmentLender – the only company in the US designed to help families finance recovery and behavioral healthcare treatment costs.

Creative Funding Ideas

The significant long-term health risks posed by obesity are now recognized by healthcare providers, government agencies, and the public at large. This increased nationwide – and worldwide – awareness creates a new, supportive environment with regards to the importance of addressing obesity as a healthcare issue. We encourage parents and students to use any and all creative means to solicit contributions to help pay for tuition at Gem Academy. Share your goals for your daughter with your family, friends, and extended network of acquaintances and associates. You may be surprised by the level of support you receive. Some ideas for solicitation include:

  • GoFundMe. Most of us have heard of or seen friends use GoFundMe pages for various purposes. Some frivolous, others genuinely life-saving. What could be more important than the health of your child? With a GoFundMe page, you create your own website to explain your story, your level of need, communicate with prospective contributors, and receive financial support.
  • We encourage you to speak openly and honestly with family, friends, and members of your church or spiritual community about your funding needs.
  • Talk to your employer. Many companies have Employee Assistance Programs specifically structured to help their valued team members in situations like this.
  • Consider borrowing from your Credit Union. Credit Union loans can often be repaid through insurance reimbursement and tax deductions.

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