Questions to Ask Schools: Financial Aid

You’ll find a lot of information about financial aid on the school’s website. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to call and ask.

  • What are the deadlines for admission and financial aid? These deadlines are often different, so be sure you know when to submit each.
  • What is the school’s approach to financial aid? Most schools believe that families are responsible for financing their children’s education to the extent they are able. Under NAIS’s Principles of Good Practice, financial aid is meant to help students who cannot afford independent school tuition without it. Financial aid funding is limited, and many families apply. Consider all possible sources to cover school costs, and apply for financial aid only if you truly cannot meet all the costs on your own.
  • How many students receive financial aid, and what is the average grant? The answer will be different at each school.
  • Does the school require a minimum contribution from families? Some schools will provide full financial aid. Others expect every family to pay something.
  • Are there costs in addition to tuition? Additional costs may include fees, books, supplies, uniforms, trips, transportation, clubs, and sports.
  • What types of financial aid does the school offer? In addition to grants, ask about loan programs, tuition payment plans, and merit scholarships.
  • What additional information will you need to submit? Some schools require a copy of your income tax return. Ask whether to send it to the school or to SSS.
  • What if we own a business or a farm? You may need to provide additional information to support your financial aid application.
  • What if the parents are divorced? Ask how separation or divorce affects your financial aid eligibility.
  • What about next year? Many schools require families to reapply for aid every year.

Don’t hesitate to be honest with financial aid counselors. It’s their job to help you, and their decisions rely on the information you provide. If you don’t get all the financial aid you need, ask them to help you find other ways to afford your child’s educational expenses.