We recommend that interested married applicants contact previously enrolled families (or presently enrolled married students) in order to get their opinions, thoughts and feedback about our school. We are NOT a perfect organization and we fully support any presently or formerly enrolled married student to provide their honest assessment including the good, the bad and the ugly.
Hopefully there's not much "ugly" to report. Please feel free to request the email or blog addresses of any of our former married students, including our present married students, and we will be happy to put you in direct contact with them.
Married couples are required to provide for their own housing due to their unique needs unlike our single students. We do not maintain long-term apartments for families simply because each family has different needs. Maintaining a two-bedroom apartment, for example, doesn't satisfy a family with six members.
A projected set-up cost for an apartment or house is estimated to be $3000-$4000 for furniture and appliances. We suggest another $1000-$1500 budget for dishes, kitchenware, fans, air-conditioners, bedding, etc. A family of 6 spent about $6500 total to set up their small 3-bedroom home. Another family of 6 set up their new apartment for $5000. Obviously set up costs vary depending upon the family and their respective needs.
Rent varies depending on the size of the apartment or house. Typical rent prices run between $600 - $1000 per month based on size and location. (Note: landlords typically require one month advance rent and two months refundable deposit up front at contract signing.)
Utilities also vary depending on each respective family needs. The Philippines has the highest electricity rates in all of Asia and its typical for a small household to pay the equivalent of $125 per month. The use of an air-conditioning unit in the home will obviously increase that amount. Water bills run about $7/month.
ADVISORY: We require families to arrive at least 2 months prior to the school start date in order to provide adequate time to find and set up a new house or apartment.
Families, of course, will need to have enough funding to adequately support their living and personal expenses. Some families are donor-supported and function very much as a typical field missionary relying on the financial support from family, friends and their home church. Other families prefer to be self-supported through personal savings.
We recommend that a family of 4 budget a minimum of $2500/month for living expenses (based on $600/month for rent). If the family is large with several children the expenses would obviously be greater, especially if they decide to enroll their children at Faith Academy (see below). This proposed monthly budget does not include tuition fees for children to attend a local school or maintenance costs if you buy a junker vehicle. Also, if families prefer to shop the 'import' section at the local grocery store and pay $8 for a box of imported breakfast cereal then you need to either raise significantly more financial support or learn how to make your own granola.
Note: Foreign currency exchange rates fluctuate constantly. The cost of living as a foreigner dependent on the $US is very much influenced based on the strength of the dollar against the Philippine peso.
We STRONGLY recommend that families seriously consider purchasing a used vehicle. If we could make this a matter of policy we would impose it, but we've decided to respect the choice of each family to buy a vehicle or use public transportation. Married couples with no children typically buy a motorcycle.
Public transportation is always available here in the Philippines, but the logistical challenges of transporting children and groceries using jeepneys or taxis can be quite taxing. Initially it may be a new adventure, but after a few months it can tend to be a bit overwhelming and frustrating. Three families spent between $3500-$6500 respectively for their vehicles. The lower priced vehicle was a surplus refurbished small mini-van (green van below left) while another family spent $5000 for a used Toyota Tamaraw van (below right).
Families should budget $700/per person for Immigration visa processing.
Newlife School is primarily set up to accommodate single students for which the school assumes responsibility to provide room and board. Newlife School does offer a $500 COLA (Cost of Living Allowance) credit to families each semester to help offset some of their living expenses. Family applicants might wonder why the family tuition rate is the same as single students. Our school was initially designed for single students and for many years we did not accept families. We decided to open the school for families with the understanding that they needed to fund their own living expenses. Tuition rates are based on the budgetary needs to fund the clinic and our dormitories.
Families that are seriously considering attending Newlife School of Midwifery must embrace the new role of the husband that will assuredly be required. Understanding this is a 'season' in their marriage that focuses on the wife's midwifery education, the husband must absolutely be willing to accept this new priority in order to allow his wife to fulfill her academic and clinic responsibilities. A definite change in spousal roles within the household will undoubtedly be essential concerning the husband if they have children.
Couples Without Children
We've had some married couples enrolled over the years who have not had any children. If this is the case, husbands obviously will not be dealing with the role reversal issue. However, the need for husbands to be completely supportive is essential if the wife hopes to meet the school's requirements and fulfill her desire to be a midwife. We ask husbands to genuinely 'lay-it-down' for the duration of his wife's schooling realizing that its only for a season.
Adjusted Timeframe Requirements For Families
Due to the unique needs of families, Newlife School has implemented a new policy that married students must extend their school program by one additional semester. Rather than a 5 semester program, as is typical for single students, we require 6 semesters for married students.
Experience had proven that married students are simply too challenged to complete the 5-semester program which a single student can manage due to the added time she needs with her children and her husband; an issue we are sensitive of and wish to support for the purpose of seeing the married couples maintain a healthy family.
CLARIFICATION - This particular policy is not written in stone so-to-speak. If you happen to be a well-organized person who manages your time well, and if you can complete school assignments in continuity with the single students (who don't need to balance their education with family needs) then we can modify the extra semester requirement. This policy is managed on a case-by-case basis based on the requests of the respective student.
Employment For Husbands
Foreigners are not allowed to work in the Philippines and earn a salary on a missionary visa. Some married applicants have assumed their husbands would be able to work while they are studying at the school. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Philippine law does not make provision for the employment of such.
There are concessions made if the husband works as an international consultant for a large corporation or if he makes a substantial financial investment in the country to start a new business venture in which Filipinos would be employed. But this requires a special visa and the documented sponsorship of a Filipino national representing a corporation or business partner.
Note: If the husband is retained by a US-based company doing IT work via his computer and is paid in the States or Canada then of course that is entirely doable. We would require a letter confirming employment and monthly income from the company to substantiate the financial capacity of the student applicant.
Ministry Opportunities For Husbands
We desire to see husbands fulfilled during their time here. There are an abundance of opportunities available for husbands to get invovled. There are maintenance issues at the clinic and dorm, and there are many different ministries operating in the city where you can get involved.
A PERSONAL NOTE TO HUSBANDS - We encourage husbands to fully understand the purpose of your time here as it relates to your wife's training. Your personal or ministry interests must be secondary in priority during her time at Newlife School if your wife is to fulfill her academic and clinical requirements. We really encourage you to allow this 'season' of training for your wife to be the primary focus in your marriage as it is designed to equip her to fulfill the vision God has laid before you as a married couple. She will need your absolute support if she is to be successful in this school. You MUST carefully consider this program.
Education Needs For Children
Most of our families homeschool their children. However, there is a formal school located here in the city called Faith International Academy which was established to serve the missionary community and incorporates an American-based curriculum and standards. Faith was established in the 1980's and serves all grades; K-12. Tuition fees run about $3000/student per year.
You may view their website for more information:
The city where our school is based is home to a large missionary community. There are approximately 100 missionary families living and serving here. Some of these missionaries are involved in translation projects, church planting, community development, health care, etc. In addition, there is a growing number of American expats listed with the American Embassy residing here. Some of these people are here for business interests or they are retired. Therefore, the overall size of the American [and Canadian and European] population gives opportunity to develop extended friendships.