Financial Aid

Paying for private school can be expensive and financial aid can be a huge help. Here we'll cover the financial aid options, how eligibility is determined and how it can affect the admissions process.
View the most popular articles in Financial Aid:
What is financial aid? Financial aid is money given by individual private schools to help families pay for a private school education. Private schools give families millions of dollars annually to help them afford a private school education.
 
What is the purpose of financial aid? Financial aid is one tool private schools can use to make their school more diverse. Yes, many years ago, private schools had a less than positive reputation for being elitist. But thankfully, times have changed. Being able to pay for a private school education is no longer the only thing that matters. If your child has the qualifications which the school is looking for but you cannot afford to send her, then financial aid is certainly an option which you need to explore.
 
Read what one of the most prestigious private schools in the United States of America has to say about diversity:
 
"Andover's broad socio-economic diversity is a hallmark of the Academy as displayed in the inclusive distribution of financial aid grants to low-, middle- and upper- middle income families." 
 

 
Phillips Andover, like a great many private schools, has a Need Blind Admission policy in place. What that means is that the school does not look at your financial circumstances as part of its admissions criteria. Ask whether the school to which you are applying has a Need Blind Admissions policy in place and find out more about how it works.
 
Financial aid programs are unique.
 
Because schools expect their fees to . . .read more
If you require financial aid in order  to send your child to private school, you will probably have to complete The Parents’ Financial Statement or PFS for short. The PFS instructions and application can be found on the School and Student Services web site.  School and Student Services is an offering of the National Association of Independent Schools. It gives you access to over 2,000 schools which use this service to assess the financial needs of parents applying for financial aid from individual schools.

What is really helpful about SSS is that you only have to complete the application once. There is a one time fee of $35. And if you cannot afford the application fee, the fee can be waived by using the special fee waiver code which the school will give you.

Complete the Application
The Parents Financial Statement Instruction Booklet walks you through each step of the process.  Remember that you only complete the PFS if the school asks you to. After completing the application, you pay for it - currently a $35 fee - and submit your application. This will do two things: it sends your application to the schools which you have selected and it gives you an estimate of the kind of aid which you can expect to be offered. Now, you must realize that the SSS estimate is only that. Each individual school will determine the amount of financial aid you will receive based . . .read more
Financial aid can be very confusing for many parents. You wonder whether you make too much to be eligible. Is there a specific time when you apply? Here are five facts most of us didn't know about private school financial aid.

1. You have to apply for it.
Applying for financial aid at most private schools is a separate process from applying for admission to the school. You also need to make sure that you apply early. This is particularly important if the school has no specific admissions deadline or rolling admissions.

2. You may be eligible for free tuition if your family income is below a certain amount.
Exeter, Andover, Groton, St. Paul's and Deerfield all have financial aid programs which offer a tuition free education to admitted students whose income is below a certain threshold. The threshold varies but is in the $60-75k range.

3. There is a common application form.
Many private schools use a common financial aid form. This vastly simplifies the process of applying to several schools. You will have to fill out the Parents' Financial Statement (PFS) online at www.nais.org/financialaid/sss. You can also complete a paper version of this application. This will be available from school admissions offices.

4. Most schools have a sliding scale of aid.
You may think that you are ineligible for financial aid because your family income is $150,000. The truth is that you may indeed be eligible for some aid. It will depend on factors such as how many children you have at the . . .read more
Money always talks. Pay cash for something, no matter what that something is, and you will get a better deal. A discount. Better terms. Nowadays the same thing applies to getting into private school. Assuming that your child offers everything the school is looking for, if you tell the school that you do not need any financial assistance, you can be virtually assured of acceptance. Why is that? What's changed?
 
The Perfect Storm
The impact of the financial markets' meltdown in 2008 meant that endowments shrunk significantly in most cases. 20-30% shrinkage seems to be the norm, though, of course, it is extremely difficult to unearth any data. You and I will have to wait until schools have filed their Forms 990.. Form 990 is the tax return not for profit organizations file each year. Most schools file at the end of their fiscal year which typically is June 30. 

Added to the financial meltdown are the vast numbers of jobs which have been shed as companies have folded or down-sized. That means there are less parents able to afford private school without at least some financial assistance. Another factor is that many parents who were counting on sending their children to private school are scaling back their spending. The result is that there are fewer applicants for many schools.

The top tier schools are feeling minimal impact as they still have a huge demand for places and relatively strong finances. They can make the adjustments needed . . .read more
Many parents are finding themselves short on funds to pay for private school tuition both after their child has been accepted and when it comes time to commit to another year at the school. What do you do? Withdraw your child? Send her to public school? Here are some options which you should explore.

Scenario A
The deposit and contract for next year at Wildwood Country Day School are lying there in your stack of bills. You are one of the lucky ones. Your $150k job seems secure. At least for now. But your wife's job is looking kind of uncertain as sales are down. Layoffs are in the works. She's been there for 15 years and makes $95k as the HR director. All the economic indicators are just so scary. Maybe you should pull Jodee out of private school and save that $25k. If the school could help you a bit, you might feel a bit more confident about keeping her in school.

Scenario B
You are paying $1000 a month for your son's private high school. The school gave you a financial aid package which pays the equivalent of $1000 a month. But your wife just had major surgrey. Suddenly you are looking at $15,000 in medical bills you have to pay. Your cash savings are worth $5,000. Your 401k went south months ago. What do you do? Withdraw your son?

Scenario C
You just found out that you have to take a pay . . .read more
Recent Articles
Homeschool or Private School?
Homeschool or Private School?
What do you do when you are dissatisfied with your local public schools? Homeschool your children? Send them to private school? Let's look at your options.
Religious Schools: An Overview
Your religion matters to you. You want your child to attend a school which will combine academics and religious education. Here is an overview of what is available together with some links to denominational web sites.
7 Ways to Improve Your Math Scores
Add things up and you'll quickly find the answer- math is crucial both in academics and the real world. By following these strategies and following personal training programs, students can uncover their weaknesses and conquer math.
Financial Aid

Financial Aid

Paying for private school can be expensive and financial aid can be a huge help. Here we'll cover the financial aid options, how eligibility is determined and how it can affect the admissions process.