Tuition Assistance Program Guiding Principles
The Davis Waldorf School recognizes that many families are looking for a unique and rich educational experience and the benefits of an independent education, and that this type of education requires a significant financial commitment. Therefore, DWS budgets a limited amount of financial assistance for tuition through our Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).
DWS expects families to exercise their best efforts to use their own financial resources first and to look to their own extended families—grandparents, aunts, and uncles—for tuition assistance before turning to TAP. It is not uncommon for DWS families served by the TAP program to pay 15%-20% or more of their income for tuition.
The typical range of tuition assistance offered to an eligible family is between 5% and 50%.
Who Can Apply?
Families may apply annually for tuition assistance for any child kindergarten - 8th grade who has turned 5 on or before September 1 of the school year. TAP is not available for children enrolled in the DWS preschool program or children who turn 5 after September 1.
TAP Application Process
DWS utilizes a third party company called Tuition Aid Data Service (TADS) to gather financial data as well as to put together reports summarizing data and ranking families’ ability to pay. The application process includes several steps, which include submitting tax returns and current pay stubs, along with other financial documents. Using TADS helps our school ensure consistency and objectivity in evaluating financial data. In addition, the TAP committee members meet individually with all new families, and one-third to one-half of all returning families. During the meeting, we are able to get a better understanding of one’s financial situation and discuss the needs of the school.
The Davis Waldorf School TAP committee considers each family’s ability to pay, regardless of the number of children enrolled. A family’s absence of income due to unemployment or part-time employment (including a parent pursuing a higher education degree) is considered for only one year. In order to provide fair and equitable consideration for all families, a half-time, minimum wage income is assumed for each eligible parent after one year.
Families who utilize the TAP process must take the time necessary to fully analyze their finances before submitting applications; they are agreeing to forgo a certain amount of financial privacy when they ask for support from the school. The TAP committee (made up of our business manager, a board member and select parent volunteers) holds family financial data with complete confidentiality. At no time does the faculty or any other person at DWS receive information related to TAP.
How is our Family’s Financial Need Determined?
TADS (our third-party company) collect and processes the information families provide. Applications are individually evaluated to determine an estimated family contribution for education. Many factors are taken into account, including but not limited to, all sources of income, assets, expenses, indebtedness, and family size. Considering all these factors, TADS calculates a living allowance for each family, which protects a certain amount of income.
This process helps determine a family’s discretionary income, which helps determine their tuition contribution. TADS relies on a standard method to assess resources available to contribute toward a child’s educational expense.
Separated/Divorced Parents/Step-Parents/ Significant Others/Partners
DWS considers the income and assets of both parents when making a tuition assessment, and is not bound by the assertion that one parent has disclaimed responsibility for educational expenses. If either parent has remarried or has a significant other/partner living in the home, TADS or the TAP committee requires the partner’s assets be considered. Therefore, the partner’s assets must be included on the application in order for it to be accepted. Income, expenses, assets, and liabilities of the entire “new” family unit are considered in addition to the natural (or adoptive) parent’s ability to contribute to the cost of education.
Tuition assistance is based upon one’s ability to pay, not one’s willingness to pay. In some cases, a divorced/separated parent is able to pay the full 50% of the child’s tuition while the other parent applies for tuition assistance. In special circumstances, such as when the non-custodial parent's location is unknown or when the non-custodial parent has no contact with the family, the TAP committee requests a letter from the applicant explaining the situation.
Please send all inquiries about our Tuition Assistance Program to TAP@daviswaldorf.org
. All inquiries are confidential.