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How to apply for financial aid?

Last updated: 
December 15, 2023

Families apply for private school financial aid using an application requested by the school, typically through an online platform. The financial aid application is separate from the admissions application with its own deadline; however, both operate on similar timelines so that families know their financial aid Package when making enrollment decisions. 

It’s critical to meet the financial aid deadline for each school. Applying as early as possible is especially important for schools with rolling admissions that award financial aid on a first-come, first-served basis until its budget is depleted.

One financial aid application is required per household; in the case of divorced parents, each parent must provide their financial information. All information is kept confidential, and divorced parents won’t see each other’s information. 

A variety of financial documentation is required for schools to evaluate your financial situation, estimate the amount of tuition you can afford, and determine a financial aid award. Each school’s requirements may vary, but most require:

  • Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS)
  • Tax returns: 1040 with all schedules, W-2/1099, K1, S Corp, etc. — If you don’t have the necessary information to complete your current tax return before the financial aid deadline, ask the school’s financial aid director if you can estimate this information based on the previous year’s return.
  • Bank statements for checking and savings
  • Mortgage or rental expenses
  • Investments: 529, 401k, 403B, etc.
  • Unusual expenses such as funeral costs or flooding repair

If the required documentation doesn’t fully capture your situation, talk to the school’s financial aid director or write them a letter to add context. It’s often better to explain why you are requesting aid up front rather than making an appeal after funding is awarded.

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