Frequently Asked Questions


How is financial aid awarded?

Financial aid is awarded on the basis of demonstrated need. Oakwood Friends subscribes to the School and Student Service for Financial Aid (SSS), a third party operated by the National Association of Independent Schools. Oakwood’s Financial Aid Committee uses information provided by SSS and information gleaned from your tax return(s) to determine your financial need.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Parents must file the Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS), the official application provided by SSS. The PFS must be completed online at www.sssbynais.org. (Note that Oakwood Friends’ school code is 5518.) SSS uses the information you provide on the PFS to generate a Report of Family Contribution, an estimate of the amount that you can be expected to contribute towards tuition and fees. Oakwood’s Financial Aid Committee considers, but is not bound by, the figure provided by SSS. The Committee must review your federal income tax return in order to become more familiar with your financial situation. All information related to your financial circumstances will be treated confidentially and used solely to arrive at a determination of financial need.

How is financial need determined?

Financial need is defined as the difference between what it costs to attend Oakwood Friends School and the amount that the family can afford to pay. SSS considers gross taxable and non-taxable income, assets, liabilities, family size and the number of students in tuition-charging schools. After allowances for basic necessities and required taxes, the remaining funds are considered available for education on a sliding scale. The school does not provide financial aid to make up for "lifestyle" expenditures (e.g., second homes, vacations, etc.) that could have been directed to education.

Does applying for financial aid influence the admission decision?

No. Admission decisions are made separately from financial aid decisions. However, families requesting financial aid should apply for admission to the school as early as possible. Financial aid funds are limited and awarded in the order in which aid applications are completed and reviewed, after a student has been admitted to the school.

Is financial aid automatically renewed each year?

No. Families receiving financial aid must reapply each year. Changes in such things as income, family status, and the number of children attending tuition charging schools may increase or decrease a family’s award. If your financial aid situation does not change, and your child is in good academic standing and perceived by the administration to be a positive and contributing member of the school community, then you can expect to receive a comparable grant every year that your child is enrolled.

I am divorced and a single parent. How does that affect the financial aid process?

Oakwood Friends School believes that parents have an obligation to pay for the educational expenses of their children to the extent that they are able. The committee will consider the assets of both custodial parents before making an award. (Custodial parents residing in different addresses must submit separate PFSs and all tax documents.) If either parent has remarried, the committee will also consider the income and assets of the stepparent as well.

What is the deadline for applying for financial aid?

Parents can submit the PFS as early as October 2nd, and submission by January 15th, is strongly advised. A copy of your signed 1040 (with all schedules) should be uploaded to your SSS account as soon as it is filed with the IRS. A signed 4506-T form should be uploaded as well. No financial aid award will be finalized until all necessary tax documents have been received.

My spouse does not work. How will that affect my financial aid award?

Since it is our belief that families bear the primary responsibility for financing the education of their children, it is our policy to expect both parents to contribute financially. There are circumstances, such as caring for a disabled or elderly parent or preschool child, that might exempt a family from this policy. Each application is evaluated individually.

I won’t have taxes done until late spring.  How will this affect my financial aid award?

The PFS should be filed by January 15th.  If your current year taxes are not yet available, please use your taxes from the previous year.  Completed income tax forms should be uploaded electronically to your SSS account as soon as they are available.  If there are significant differences between the figures on the current tax return and those on the PFS, you will be asked to contact SSS to revise your PFS.  While this will delay the process further, we rely on accurate information to allocate our limited funds fairly and equitably.

When will I be notified of my award?

Families will be notified of their award once they file a PFS and as early as mid-February. Each family will receive a preliminary award letter which states the dollar amount of the award based on SSS’s Report of Family Contribution and funds available to the school. That grant is not finalized until all tax documents have been received and reviewed by the Financial Aid Committee. Any grant offered through an award letter will be held until April 21st. If the Committee has not received tax documents by that date, funds will be released back to the financial aid budget. Once the financial aid budget is expended, no further awards will be made.

Is it possible to appeal the financial aid allocation?

Yes.  Please write to the Financial Aid Committee explaining your appeal.  Include any information that will help the committee to better understand your situation, such as a detailed list of monthly expenses or any information from the PFS that you wish to explain more thoroughly.  To strengthen your appeal, please include all supporting documentation.  This appeal can be sent via a mailed letter or by a comprehensive email to admissions@oakwoodfriends.org.

Does Oakwood Friends School offer merit scholarships?

No. All financial aid is awarded on the basis of demonstrated need rather than academic, athletic, or other merit.

Are full scholarships available?

No. Every family is expected to contribute towards tuition. Please note that books and course-related materials are additional expenses that are not covered with financial aid. Those expenses can run as high as $800/year.

Does the school offer tuition payment plans or loans?

Families have the option to make monthly tuition payments and can extend those payments through March of the school year. Returning families, and new families who enroll early enough, can begin tuition payments as early as April of the previous school year and extend payment over 12 months (April through March). Oakwood Friends does not offer loans; however, upon request we are happy to provide you with information about low-interest loan providers.