Can you use Maaser to pay tuition?

Answer

One may not use ma’aser money for anything that one is obliged to do, only for voluntary things. As a result, since teaching a child Torah is an obligation upon every father, he may not use ma’aser funds to pay for tuition.

It follows that once the child has passed the stage at which his father is obliged to arrange for tuition, he may use ma’aser funds for further education. However, the stage at which a father is no longer obliged to teach his son is a matter of debate.

Furthermore, Rav Moshe Feinstein (Iggros Moshe YD II:113) writes with regard to girls’ education, that since nowadays the State makes it compulsory to attend school until a certain age, and since if you do not arrange for a suitable Jewish school the child would have to recieve an un-Jewish education, in that case the arrangements for a Jewish school become an obligation, and so you could not use ma’aser money for this.

One may, however, use ma’aser money to hire a private Rebbi for one’s son.

For a fuller discussion, see http://din.org.il/files/alon_hamishpat/30.pdf (Piskei Dinim paragraph 3)

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