At the Gardner School of Arts & Sciences, we believe that learning is maximized when students of differing abilities and backgrounds work together and develop an understanding of one another. A diverse educational environment is vital to our mission: “to inspire all students to build knowledge of self, an awareness of our connection to others, and develop responsibility for themselves, their community, the earth and humanity.”
Because of this, we offer need-based financial aid to families that qualify for tuition assistance. While we expect all families to contribute to their child’s education costs to the extend they are able, financial aid is available to bridge the gap between Gardner tuition costs and their family’s resources. Financial aid is offered to a family with children in Kindergarten through eighth grade for the purpose of providing tuition assistance for that specific year, and does not have to be paid back.
For the 2016-2017 school year, 24% of families with students in K-8 received financial aid awards.
WHO SHOULD APPLY?
All families that feel paying for a Gardner education is a financial stretch should apply. The Admission and Financial Aid processes are separate and distinct from one another, and we do not use a family’s financial situation in our consideration for a student’s admission. All financial-aid information is kept confidential and separate from a student’s admissions application.
HOW DO WE APPLY?
To apply for financial aid, complete a Parent Financial Statement (PFS) through School and Students Services (SSS) online no later than March 15.
WHAT IF WE DON’T FILE OUR TAXES UNTIL AFTER THE DEADLINE?
If you do not have your current year tax return complete by the March deadline, you can submit your past year taxes in addition to an estimate of your current year return. The committee can prepare a preliminary decision based on this estimate, but will not make a final decision until your completed current year tax return. The preliminary decision may change if there is a variance between your estimate and your actual return.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO APPLY?
The online application through NAIS costs $47, and is non-refundable. Families may apply online for a fee waiver.
HOW ARE DECISIONS MADE?
The total amount of financial aid awards varies from year to year, depending on the school operating budget. Financial aid awards are made on the assumption that the family is allocating the maximum amount of resources within its capacity to fund their child’s or children’s education. It is expected that each family has prioritized educational costs after necessary living expenses.
Like many independent schools, we outsource information collection and data analysis to the School and Student Services for Financial Aid (SSS), which is a financial aid management service owned and administered by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). The SSS will send the Gardner School a report that uses a family’s financial information to determine what their contribution to tuition should be. The Gardner School Financial Aid Committee (made up of the Head of School, Business Manager and a non-parent member of the Board) will review this SSS report of the family’s expected financial contribution and other submitted documents to determine an award amount. Some factors that are taken in to consideration by the SSS are current salary, net worth, and family circumstances.
In accordance with guidelines from SSS, The Gardner School expects that for those applying for financial aid, both parents in a two-parent household should be employed. Exceptions include families with children younger than kindergarten age, other dependents in the home requiring full-time care, or a documented physical or health problem that prevents gainful employment. If one parent is not employed, and there are no extenuating circumstances, the Financial Aid Committee will use the SSS guidelines for imputing income for this parent. Any necessary childcare costs will be considered. If multiple children attend tuition charging schools, it is expected that the family will apply for financial aid at all schools.
If sufficient funds are unavailable to meet the demonstrated need of all qualified candidates, priority goes first to returning students and then to new students.
In accordance with equal opportunity standards, awards are made without regard to a student’s race, color, gender, sexual orientation including gender expression or identity, religion and national or ethnic origin, and in compliance with existing state and federal law or regulations.
HOW ARE WE NOTIFIED OF AN AWARD?
New Families will be notified about their Financial Aid awards by mail by April 15th, however no decisions regarding financial aid are made until the student is accepted.
Current families will be notified of their awards for the next academic year by mail by April 15th, but only if their current tuition balance is current and clear. Financial aid cannot be applied toward any tuition or unpaid fees from prior years.
Financial aid applicants must still pay the 10% enrollment deposit when submitting the enrollment or re-enrollment contract.
Families who are notified of a financial aid award will need to accept or decline within two weeks of notification, otherwise the committee may grant the award to another applicant.
We safeguard the confidentiality of all financial aid information supplied by applicants and do not publicly identify recipients of Financial Aid.
WHAT IF OUR FAMILY’S FULL NEED IS NOT MET THROUGH FINANCIAL AID?
In the case that a financial aid award does not cover a student’s full tuition, payment plans are available. Once Financial Aid Awards are determined, the payment schedule will be based on the full tuition amount, less the financial aid award, less the full deposit paid to secure a child’s place. Multiple payment plans are available, including a monthly payment option.
DO WE APPLY EVERY YEAR?
Awards will not be automatically renewed for subsequent years. Every year, families must complete the required forms online and provide the necessary documentation to be considered for financial aid.