Investing in a Boarding School Education
- Need-Based Financial Aid
- Tuition Loan and Financing Programs
- Merit Scholarships
- The School and Student Service for Financial Aid (SSS)
- Finding Additional Information
- Financing Solutions for Families (TABS Corporate Sponsors offering loan assistance and other services for families)
There’s no question about it: boarding school is a major investment. Even the cost of applying to schools (with application fees, payment for standardized tests and travel expenses for campus visits) adds up. Some parents compare costs of tuition and board to that of purchasing a new car every year, or a similar material acquisition. But this analogy does not represent a fair comparison. The cost of boarding school is an investment in a child’s future that will yield dividends over an entire lifetime. Parents should educate themselves about the many financing options and tools available that can help make boarding school not just affordable, but a fruitful and meaningful investment. It’s also important to partner with schools and financial aid representatives early in the application process to fully explore all options.
While each school has different policies and plans for financial aid, there are some uniform features. Need-based financial aid is awarded as a gift and does not have to be repaid. This money comes from a school’s budget and families are asked to demonstrate and document their need for aid. A school determines a family’s eligibility based on information submitted on a financial aid form that can be obtained from the school admission office. Most TABS member schools use the Parents’ Financial Statement from the School and Student Service (SSS) for Financial Aid, which is administered by the National Association of Independent Schools. Information about the SSS is available at www.nais.org. In December 2004, an online version of this form will be available. Printed forms can be obtained in November from individual schools. A family can use one form for up to three children and send the same form to up to six schools at once.
Schools determine financial need through consideration of a range of factors including family size; income and expenses; the parents’ assets and current debts; and the child’s assets, if any. The family estimates the amount of discretionary income it has available for education and submits that estimate to the school. The school then determines eligibility for financial assistance. The amount of assistance available varies from school to school, and each may award a different amount to the same applicant.
Reprinted with the permission of the Association of Boarding Schools. © 2004 The Association of Boarding Schools, All Rights Reserved.
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