Frequently asked questions about financial aid
What is financial aid?
- Financial aid is a need-based award meant for reducing tuition. It is the way Headwaters Academy makes the tuition affordable for families who believe in the mission of the school, whose children qualify for admission, and who also qualify for financial aid based on their income.
- Financial aid is not a loan; it is a grant. Each year families reapply for financial aid, and each year the grant goes toward reducing your child’s tuition.
- SSS by NAIS is a third-party system that formulates financial aid for Headwaters Academy. A family applying for financial aid will go to the SSS website, and fill out an application that includes income along with assets and liabilities. SSS computes an estimated family contribution toward tuition. We then take a look at the SSS computation and do our best to meet your need through our financial aid budget.
- To maintain fair and equitable assessment of both parents’ ability to contribute, each parent must complete the Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS) for his/her household. Completing separate PFS’s allows each parent to maintain confidentiality regarding his/her financial situation. Parents also are afforded the extra assurance that each parent’s information will be treated and evaluated in the very same manner. Headwaters Academy will receive individual Reports of Family Contribution from each parent, which can be used to make a final determination of the ability for both parents to pay education-related costs.
- SSS is going to ask for a family’s gross-adjusted income. A family who has not completed taxes will need to estimate this amount. The application asks for an estimate of last year’s income and then an estimate of next year’s income. Another important question is a family’s estimate of how much they can pay of our tuition. This is a question to be taken seriously. A family should think about what they can afford, and we will do our best to meet that need.
- The average grant for financial aid from Headwaters Academy is roughly half. That means some people pay more and some people pay less. Some families qualify to pay X, and we may not be able to meet that exact need. We absolutely do our best to get as close to a family’s need as possible, but we have a fixed budget for financial aid.
- Families send tax returns and all the attachments to SSS with the required SSS cover sheet from their website. They will scan them into their secure system. Only our Head of School will see them.
- Financial aid is a completely confidential process. The Head of School and Board Treasurer make up the committee who award the grants within the financial aid budget. These grants are not discussed with the faculty or staff.
In return, we ask that financial aid grant awarded to a family remain private.
- Families apply every single year through SSS. As long as income remains roughly the same, there should not be any reason a family can’t receive the same amount as the first year. Our goal is to make sure that the school is affordable. Once a family is committed to Headwaters Academy, we are committed to them. We want to keep families here.
- SSS will take into account if a family already receives financial aid for one child and want to bring a sibling here. When reapplying for financial aid, the application for two children will result in a different grant award. SSS recalculates within their process and takes into account the financial commitment of having two children. We want families to be able to afford the tuition and keep all of their children at Headwaters Academy.
- As long as a family qualifies for financial aid, a grant will be awarded. SSS takes into account the full amount of tuition a family pays. Families in this situation need to apply for financial aid. Headwaters Academy does not offer sibling discounts.
- There is no magic number. Everyone’s situation is different. Take the time to apply for financial aid through SSS. They calculate the results very quickly.
- In summary, we have financial aid grant awards to help with our students’ tuition. Twenty percent of our families receive financial aid. The school is very committed to this program and we are happy when parents take the time to apply so their child can benefit from our programs. Please go on-line today at http://sssbynais.org and complete a Parents’ Financial Statement and submit supporting documentation in the form of completed tax returns. The Parents’ Financial Statement may be submitted only on-line for the 2016-17 school year beginning November 1, 2016, at sssbynais.org/parents. Use the Headwaters Academy Code 1768. After pressing submit, applicants will be asked to pay the PFS nonrefundable fee of $48.
If you need assistance, please call (800) 344-8328. They are open 9-8, Monday-Friday, and on Saturday, 9-4, EST.