Applying For Tuition Assistance

Tuition Assistance Mission and Philosophy
The mission of the financial aid program is to provide tuition assistance to families whose children otherwise would be unable to attend the school. Our goal is to fully fund the demonstrated financial need of our admitted students so they can participate fully in all programs and activities offered by the school and further the RA mission statement. RA believes that parents have the primary responsibility for funding their children's education; only after available parental resources have been examined will the school offer financial support within the confines of its limited available resources. The goal of the aid applications process is to obtain the fullest understanding of the financial resources that might be available to a given applicant, and partner with each family to bridge the difference between demonstrated need and cost of attendance.

The financial aid program is vital to fulfilling the RA missions statement and providing a diverse socio-economic population at the school.

 

 

 

Applying for Tuition Assistance has two parts.
Part One is completed in conjunction with the National Association for Independent Schools (NAIS) and requires families to complete the School and Student Service for Financial Aid (SSS) Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS). The PFS allows families to apply to multiple schools for financial aid. There is a fee for this service.

Part Two is completed in conjunction with Ridgefield Academy and requires families to submit documentation supplementary to the information contained in the PFS (namely, tax forms, income statements, and family budget).
Tuition Assistance Timeline
By January 15, 2020, please submit through School and Student Services (SSS):
  • A complete Parents' Financial Statement (PFS)
  • A complete copy of your 2017 and 2018 tax returns (Form 1040, including all forms and schedules)
By April 15, 2020, please submit through SSS:
  • A complete copy of your 2019 tax return (Form 1040, including all forms and schedules) OR a copy of your tax extension
  • W-2 forms where applicable


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

ELIGIBILITY

Who is eligible?

Families with children in Preschool through Grade 8 are eligible. Approximately 90% of our tuition assistance budget in 2018-2019 was allocated to families with students in Kindergarten through Grade 8.

What is "demonstrated need"?

Demonstrated need is the calculated difference between the cost of tuition and fees and the amount that a family can be expected to contribute to the cost of a student's education.

Am I required to demonstrate eligibility each year?

Yes, families must reapply for financial aid each year.

Who determines eligibility? Who sets the school financial aid budget?

The Financial Aid Committee, under the supervision of the Head of School, determines eligibility. The Board of Trustees sets the short and long term school budgets, which include the financial aid budget.

I don't see my question here. What should I do?

Even after looking over the resources and information provided here, you may find you still have some questions. If so, please contact Dave Suter, Director of Admissions by email or by phone at 203.894.1800 x112. He will be happy to answer any questions you may have and guide you through this process.

TYPES OF AID

What types of aid are available?

RA awards grants based on demonstrated need as determined by:
  1. The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS);
  2. The School and Student Services for Financial Aid (SSS); and
  3. RA’s Institutional Financial Aid Methodology.
Grants are financial awards that do not need to be repaid. However, grants frequently cover only a portion of tuition and fees. Each family's circumstances are evaluated individually.

Are there other payment options?

RA currently offers three payment options:

Annual Payments
Single payment, due June 1

Bi-annual Payments*
Two (2) payments: 60% due June 1, followed by 40% due December 1.

Monthly Payments*
Eight (8) monthly payments: June 1 to Jan 1.

*Bi-annual and Monthly Payment schedules include a fee for paying in installments, and mandatory TRP.

 

I don't see my question here. What should I do?

Even after looking over the resources and information provided here, you may find you still have some questions. If so, please contact Dave Suter, Director of Admissions by email or by phone at 203.894.1800 x112. He will be happy to answer any questions you may have and guide you through this process.

FACTORS

Are allowances made for siblings attending independent or religious schools?

RA makes allowances for siblings in independent or religious schools through college or age 24. However, RA does not make allowances for siblings in graduate school.

Does RA consider the resources of the extended family, as well as the immediate family?

The ability or willingness of extended family members to pay tuition may be considered when making an award.

How are students' assets and trust funds used in calculating awards?

The existence of these accounts signifies that more of a family's income is available for tuition. The additional amount of available income is calculated by dividing the number of remaining years of elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schooling for the student into the sum of the student's assets and trust funds.

Does any group of students have priority when the school is determining financial aid awards?

RA feels its strongest commitment to returning families with demonstrated need. As a result, these students have priority over new students when determining financial aid awards.

Which year's income will be used as the basis for a financial aid decision?

Typically, financial aid awards are based on a family's previous year's income. Thus, families applying for the 2020-2021 school year will receive awards based on 2019 tax-year data. In exceptional circumstances, income projections may be taken into account.

Are allowances made for a parent who has just started a new business or has returned to college or graduate school?

Generally, the school cannot subsidize a family's decision to make a significant lifestyle change. However, the school will consider individual cases based on a detailed explanation of circumstances.

How are non-working parents factored into the financial aid calculation?

For families with infants or preschool age children, a non-working parent does not affect the financial aid calculation. However, if all children in a family are school aged, income is imputed, meaning some level of income is assumed and added to the family's income, for the non-working parent.

I don't see my question here. What should I do?

Even after looking over the resources and information provided here, you may find you still have some questions. If so, please contact Dave Suter, Director of Admissions by email or by phone at 203.894.1800 x112. He will be happy to answer any questions you may have and guide you through this process.

THE AWARD

I have not yet received my financial aid package, but I know that I cannot come close to affording the EFC listed on the RFC. What should I do?

The EFC is an estimate calculated by the School and Student Service for Financial Aid, and this estimate is designed to be adjusted by individual schools. As a result, some families new to the financial aid process feel overwhelmed and worried when receiving their EFCs, which do not reflect any adjustments by Ridgefield Academy. For example, RA adds a Cost of Living Adjustment, which decreases the EFC. RA may also make other similar adjustments to the EFC, which is why the school asks for supporting documentation beyond the Parent Financial Statement (PFS). The additional information provides a fuller picture of a family’s financial situation. However, in certain situations, this fuller picture of a family’s ability to contribute may result in an increase in the EFC.

My child is admitted, but the FA award is not enough to make enrolling an option. Is there an appeals process?

Families may appeal the financial aid decision by requesting an appeal in writing by mail, email, or fax. The writing should be directed to the Director of Financial Aid and should include additional information about cash flow and expenses that may not have been evident in the Parent Financial Statement (PFS). Upon receipt, the Financial Aid Committee will reexamine your request for aid.

I don't see my question here. What should I do?

Even after looking over the resources and information provided here, you may find you still have some questions. If so, please contact Dave Suter, Director of Admissions by email or by phone at 203.894.1800 x112. He will be happy to answer any questions you may have and guide you through this process.

Ridgefield Academy safeguards the confidentiality of all financial information supplied by applicants and does not publicly identify recipients of financial aid, except with parental permission. Only those persons directly involved in the financial aid process or in its administration will review this information.