Q: What is Sandy Spring Friends School's Financial Aid Policy?
A: Sandy Spring Friends School (SSFS) offers need-based financial aid and is guided by the philosophy that the family has the obligation to pay for the educational expenses of their children to the extent that they are able. This obligation takes precedence over the school's responsibility to provide financial assistance. We believe the primary responsibility for a child's education rests with the family. It is important to remember that an independent school education is a choice for families. We review each application for financial aid by the same guidelines and evaluate individual family needs relative to others in our school.
Q:How are financial aid awards determined at SSFS?
A: SSFS financial aid awards are based solely on need, which is defined as the difference between the actual cost of a year’s tuition and what a family can realistically expect to pay toward that cost. SSFS does not offer academic, athletic, or other non-need-based scholarships. Tuition Aid Data Services (TADS) processes the information the family provides on the Parents’ Financial Statement to determine what the family can afford to pay for their child’s education. TADS balances income, assets, liabilities, family size, and the number of children the family has in schools that charge tuition against taxes and living costs in making its recommendation. SSFS uses the TADS recommendation as a guide to determine the School’s award and the family’s contribution.
Q: Should our family apply for financial aid?
A: There is no income level that automatically qualifies a family for or disqualifies a family from financial aid. Families should complete the financial aid process if they feel that the full cost is more than they can afford.
Although Sandy Spring Friends School has a significant financial aid budget, we may not be able to provide financial aid grants to all qualified applicants. We encourage families to explore all options (including extended-family financial support) before applying for assistance.
Q: How do I apply for financial aid?
A: All Financial Aid applicants must complete the TADS Worksheet for Financial Aid. Families must also submit electronically, by fax, or by mail directly to TADS a complete copy of the previous and current year's tax return and W-2 forms. Parents who own their own business are required to submit the appropriate business returns as well.
Q: What are the deadlines for the 2018-2019 school year?
A: Current SSFS families must apply by December 1, 2017. The new family deadline is February 1, 2018. If you have financial aid related questions, please contact Dawn Griffith at email@example.com.
Q: Is there financial aid available for late applicants (those who submit an admission application after February 1st)?
A: Late applicants should speak to admission staff before applying to the school or for aid, as most of Sandy Spring Friends School’s financial aid budget will have been distributed to applicants who applied by the deadline. However, it is not impossible for aid to become available at a later date; please contact us by phone at 301-774-7455.
Q: Who is awarded aid?
A: Over a third of our students receive need-based financial aid.
Q: How does Sandy Spring Friends School process financial aid applications if the parents are separated or divorced? If a parent is divorced and remarries, is the new spouse required to contribute to the student’s education?
A: Both biological parents must submit financial information as part of the financial aid application process. Because SSFS considers an entire family’s ability to pay tuition as part of its review process, new spouses must also submit financial information as part of the financial aid application process. Parents who are separated or divorced must each submit individual applications directly to TADS.
Q: Must both parents be employed to receive financial aid?
A: Both parents must be employed if all children in the family are beyond preschool age. If you feel that extenuating circumstances might warrant waiving this requirement, please send requests in writing to Dawn Griffith, Director of Financial Aid.
Q: What are the payment options?
A: Payments to SSFS for Tuition and Fees are paid through FACTS Tuition Management. We offer two payment plans for paying tuition and the deposit with FACTS. The standard plan is 2 payments: a portion of tuition is due June 20th and the remainder is due December 20th. The alternative plan is 10 payments: 10% of tuition is due monthly April 20th through January 20th. Payments in each plan are calculated after the 9% deposit is paid. There is a $125 annual fee for the monthly payment plan, charged in Septemeber. The deposit required at the time of enrollment is applied toward tuition due in either tuition plan.
Q: What if my financial situation changes?
A: Families are expected to notify the school if a change in financial circumstances occurs during the school year. The school reserves the right to adjust the award in accordance with the change as necessary, and/or if the budget allows. Families must reapply for financial aid each year. Should the family's ability to pay for tuition increases or decreases from one year to the next, the financial aid award may be adjusted accordingly.
Q: When will I be notified about my child's financial aid award?
A: Current SSFS families whose accounts are in good standing will receive an estimated financial aid award in their re-enrollment contract in early February. New student financial aid awards are included in the enrollment contract in March.
Q: Do I have to apply every year?
A: Yes, you must re-apply for financial aid every year that your child is enrolled at Sandy Spring Friends School if you wish to be considered for financial aid.