Affording an Independent School Education

Affording an Independent School Education


how can I afford an independent school
education? this presentation will provide you with answers to common questions
about affording independent schools. hi, my name is Mindy Hildebrandt and I’m the
director of enrollment management at Science and Arts Academy, an independent
school serving junior kindergarten through eighth grade gifted students
located in DesPlaines, Illinois. in my role I talk with families each and every
day as they begin to explore different educational options for their child. the
reasons for searching for a new school are varied. maybe the local public school
is not meeting the child’s needs maybe a different instructional approach would
be better for the child maybe the child requires greater challenge or
differentiation. although the reason for exploring educational options is varied.
some common thoughts that cross the mind of almost all parents at the beginning
of this process are: independent school is too expensive there’s no way I can
consider it. well you might be surprised to find out that there are actually
quite a few different options available to you that can make independent school
more affordable than you think. as we go through this presentation I’ll
highlight a variety of different options that will hopefully allow you to see
that independent school is an option for your child and it can work for your
family. so what are some of these different
options to support with financing and independent school education? some
options such as need-based scholarships and payment plans are offered directly
through the school. other options such as tax-exempt education savings plans and
Illinois tax credit scholarships are offered through government programs
additional considerations can also be explored through private organizations
or even through extended family members. as we go through this presentation I’ll
go into more detail about each of these different options. so let’s start by looking into what
financial supports are offered through Science and Arts Academy. need-based
scholarships also commonly referred to as financial aid our financial gifts
awarded from science and Arts Academy to families based upon individual level of
financial need. these are awards not loans and they do not need to be paid
back. currently 37 percent of SAA families receive need-based scholarship
funds totaling approximately 750,000 dollars in aid. any family that feels as
though finances are prohibiting the exploration of independent school should
apply for a need-based scholarship. There are no specific income guidelines or
restrictions on who may apply for financial aid. If you have any concerns
about your ability to afford Science & Arts Academy’s tuition it would be in
your best interest to apply for a need-based scholarship. The need-based
scholarship application is separate from the application for admission. Applying
for a need-based scholarship does not influence the admission decision in any
way. So how do you go about submitting an application?
The first step is to submit an application to FACTS along with a $35
application fee. FACTS grant and aid assessment is an independent third-party
company that SAA partners with to objectively determine each family’s
individual financial need. Next you will be asked to submit supporting
documentation including your 2017 federal income tax return, supporting
schedules, and 2017 and 2018 w-2s. There’s also the opportunity for you to include
a personal statement in your application. If you feel as though there’s any
additional information not otherwise included in your application that should
be taken into consideration and your ability to pay. In order for new
applicants to be considered for a need-based scholarship the admissions
process must be completed separately and concurrently. You’ll want to mark the box
on the admissions application indicating that it is contingent upon receipt of a
need-based scholarship. The application should be finalized and
submitted by February 15, 2019 for priority consideration. Applications will
however continue to be accepted beyond that date as long as scholarship funds
remain available. So let’s now assume that you’ve submitted your financial aid
application. How is eligibility then determined for a
need-based scholarship? FACTS will review your application to objectively
determine your individual financial need. Multiple factors are considered by FACTS
when evaluating your ability to pay, including household income, family size,
expenses, assets, liabilities, and more. Your financial need is the gap between
how much FACTS determines your family can afford and the full cost of tuition
at SAA. The maximum need-based scholarship award at Science & Arts
Academy is 50% of the full tuition. If your child is accepted for admission
into Science & Arts
Academy your contract will reflect the need based
scholarship award and the remaining tuition balance. you would need to then
reapply each year. awards may vary from year to year depending on any changes in
your family’s individual financial situation.
aside from need-based scholarships what else does Science & Arts
Academy
offer to assist with finances. well SAA offers four different payment plan
options: annual, semiannual, quarterly, or monthly so that you can find a plan that
works best for your family. Now that we’ve gone into detail about the
different financial supports offered through the school, let’s take a few
moments to explore some other financial supports that are offered through
government programs. 529 plans are specialized tax-free
savings accounts that can be used for k-12 and college tuition. you may want to
reach out to a financial advisor to discuss if and how a 529 plan could help
with your child’s education both now and in the future. newly established in 2018
Illinois now offers something called a tax credit scholarship program this
program provides scholarships through empower Illinois to kindergarten through
twelfth grade students from low-income families. students with unique learning
needs including those who are gifted are eligible to receive even larger
scholarships which may help cover the full tuition of attending Science and
Arts Academy. please note that the tax credit scholarship program is separate
and independent from the SAA need-based scholarship program. so what is the
qualification criteria for a scholarship through empower Illinois? in order to
apply for a scholarship through empower Illinois you will first want to check if
you meet their qualification criteria before April 1st. priority will be given
to students who meet one of the following four categories : (1) one our
members of a household whose previous year’s total annual income does not
exceed one hundred and eighty five percent of the federal poverty level (2) reside within a focus district (3)
received a scholarship during the previous school year or (4) are siblings
of students currently receiving a scholarship. after you have explored tuition
assistance through Science & Arts
Academy and through government programs
there are a few remaining options that you may want to consider. some private
organizations such as NAGC, IAGC, the Davidson Institute, or others may offer
the opportunity to apply for individual scholarships. tuition loans through
private lenders could also provide some additional financing options. some offer
lower interest rates and longer terms than what is offered at Science & Arts
Academy. your
tuition solution is one such example that has been used by some SAA families.
additionally sometimes grandparents or other family members might be willing to
help support tuition. we’re always happy to meet with extended family members and
provide a tour to help them understand more about our school. all in all there
is lots to consider but if you think your child could benefit from an
independent school education, i am hopeful that through this presentation
you learned that there are many different options to help make it
possible. At Science & Arts
Academy we do not want the cost of tuition standing
in the way of considering our program for your gifted learner. If you have any
questions about any of the information provided in this presentation or if
you’d like to talk further with me, please reach out to me at any time and i
would be happy to set up a time to meet or talk on the phone. thank you for
watching and listening and i hope to have the opportunity to connect with you
soon

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