Can one use Maaser money in order to pay for the Jewish education of their grandchildren. If so, could you point me in the direction of some sources on the matter. Thanks!
According to many opinions a grandparent is education of his grandchildren. Based on this, even if parents are unable to provide for their children’s education, a grandparent should not use maaser money for this purpose.
Yet, because this matter is disputed, under extenuating circumstances one can rely on the opinion that a grandparent is not obligated to hire an educator for his grandchildren, so that maaser money can be used.
One may not use maaser money for anything that one is obligated to do. Since teaching a child Torah is an obligation upon every father, a father may not use maaser funds to pay for tuition.
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 receive a non-Jewish education, it follows that making arrangements for a Jewish school is always an obligation. This will also apply to older children.
These rulings apply to a father (or parent; for mothers see here). Concerning a grandparent we find a dispute in the Gemara (Kiddushin 30a), and the Rambam (Talmud Torah 1:2) rules that a grandfather is obligated in his grandchild’s education. The Shach (Yoreh De’ah 245) understands from the Kessef Mishnah that this implies that the grandfather must hire an educator for his grandson, if required.
However, the Haflaa disputes this assumption, and others note that the matter is in doubt. Therefore, under extenuating circumstances one can use maaser money for the education of a grandchild.
For the general issue of maaser use in this case, see also here (Piskei Dinim paragraph 3)