1. You drive off a BUNCH of families that would rather quit the program than ask for "assistance" in paying this fee. Pride is absolutely a thing.
2. $125 is enough for a family on the poverty line to pay the electric bill for a month. Or to feed the family, if frugal. It's not a "huge" fee because you likely come from a background where $125 isn't a ton of money. Having worked in the inner city now for a decade, if I tried to have a fee that large, if I even got it approved by my campus or district admin, there would be news reporters out front of the school within a week once the story got out investigating why I was "discriminating against low-income families."
3. You can't use fundraisers for this either - all that does is force poorer families to pool their money to afford to send kids into the program. And in many cases, many of our immigrant families are the sole breadwinners for extended families back in Mexico. Asking them to pay for your band fee may be taking money away from more than one family here.
The fact is, for many of our families, our kids' parents have been largely out of work or underemployed now since last March. While that's changing, the bills that they've been putting off since March are also going to come due. Evictions and repossessions are about to start going through the roof as people get tossed out of their homes for not paying their rent/mortgages simply because they weren't earning money. And you want them to have to come to you and ask to have a fee waived?
Drop the fee altogether. You'll see your numbers increase. Put the things that the fee pays for into your budget allocation, ask your boosters to pay, or learn to do without what it pays for.