Financial Aid Application Process
The deadline for submitting financial aid applications, as well as supporting documents, is January 4, 2019.
COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING STEPS
- Click on the FAST button icon to begin your application. The application process itself is self-guided. You may navigate in and out of the program, which allows you to partially complete an application and return to it later.
Before starting the FAST application, we recommend that you review the Downloadable Worksheet and User Guide provided by FAST in order to familiarize yourself with the program. A helpline is available 24 hours a day by calling 1-877-326-FAST (3278).
- Since preliminary financial aid awards will be based on 2018 earnings along with 2017 tax information, parents will need to explain their 2018 earnings in the Letter to School section of the FAST online application.
Please use this section to explain if anticipated 2019 earnings will be greater than, less than, or the same as 2018 earnings, and any other unusual circumstances in your family’s financial situation.
- To complete the online portion of your financial aid application, please pay the $45 application fee. FAST accepts Visa and MasterCard.
- Please gather final 2018 paycheck(s) and W-2s from each employer that show the total income for every financially responsible parent or guardian.
Please follow the instructions on how to scan and upload copies of final 2018 paycheck(s) and W-2s directly to FAST by January 4, 2019.
NOTE: Newly accepted families, and current families who have not yet provided 2017 tax information will need to scan and provide copies of all 2017 Federal and State tax returns, W-2s, and accompanying schedules.
- All awards offered are contingent upon receipt of final 2018 tax and income information.
Please follow the instructions provided by FAST to scan and upload files digitally or mail signed paper copies of your 2018 Federal and State tax returns, W-2s and accompanying schedules to FAST by April 1, 2019.
GFS will confirm or possibly change your award, based on your 2018 final tax and income information.
All required parent tax and income documentation must be scanned and uploaded digitally, or mailed to the following address:
ISM c/o GERMANTOWN FRIENDS SCHOOL
1316 North Union Street
Wilmington, DE 19806-2594
If you mail hard copies, FAST will upload the information to your aid application file, shred the hard copy, and alert us that your documents have been submitted.
PLEASE NOTE: Since tuition billing for 2019-20 will begin in the spring of 2019, it is essential that you meet the April 1 deadline above in order to confirm and credit any aid awarded to your tuition bill. Our financial aid timeline and process cannot accommodate families who file their taxes with the IRS after April 15, 2019.
- Guideline of Need
- Financial Aid Grants from Non-GFS Sources
- Extra Expenses
- Financial Assistance for Non-Tuition Costs
- Withdrawal Terms
All GFS families who receive aid must re-apply for financial aid and provide tax/income documentation each year to verify their financial need.
All adults who play a significant parenting role in a student’s life (including parents, stepparents, guardians, and others who pay tuition) are required to provide their tax information to FAST.
Financial aid applications submitted after the January 4, 2019 deadline will be considered on a rolling basis as funds allow.
Newly-accepted families: Financial aid applications for newly-accepted families are reviewed after the Admissions Committee has extended an accept decision to the child.
Current families: Current families must receive a Reenrollment Contract in January for the following school year in order to have their aid application reviewed. Reenrollment Contracts may be held for academic or financial reasons (i.e. tuition accounts must be in good standing). Because of our financial aid award timeline, families on “reenrollment hold” are in jeopardy of losing their aid for the following year.
The Financial Aid Committee uses the “Affordability Ranges” from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) as a basic guideline for eligibility thresholds. Based on its data, a family of four making approximately $140,000 can afford one child in an independent school with tuition costs similar to that of GFS, but will need financial aid to assist with payment of two children’s tuitions. Families whose income and assets place them above our threshold of need will receive a letter stating that they do not qualify for financial aid at GFS.
Sometimes groups outside of GFS make scholarship grants on behalf of specific students. These grants, which are paid directly to GFS, are included as part of any financial aid package and are not considered additional funds. Enrolled students who meet the criteria for scholarship programs, such as the state of Pennsylvania’s EITC and OSTC, qualify the school to receive those monies, thus replenishing the total financial aid budget.
- Lower School: In general, materials for classroom use are provided by the school or are included in the activity fee. Teachers will inform parents if and when extra supplies may be needed, such as gym clothes and school supplies.
- Middle and Upper School: Students are responsible for the purchase of books, athletic equipment, non-grade-wide field trips, and optional private music lessons. Juniors and seniors have an additional fee for Senior Prom (optional). Spring Break trips are an additional cost per family; the total cost may be offset by pledges from individual families and student fundraising.
Depending upon an Upper School student’s course selection, there may be small fees associated with art classes, Japanese, chemistry, and choir.
- Food Costs: GFS maintains a cafeteria service, and breakfast, lunch, and snack costs are paid by parents who choose this service through mypaymentsplus.com. Students can pay for items in the Open Door Cafe with cash, or charge to a credit card account set up in advance by each family.
Any ancillary charges beyond the yearly activity fee will be billed to parents monthly, as they occur, through the FACTS Management Company. We try as best we can to inform parents in advance of additional charges they may incur.
Tuition and activity fees cover the costs of tuition and most grade-wide, annual activities. They do not cover the costs of lunch, transportation, non-grade-wide field trips and activities, books and reading materials, and some other small program fees that are particular to certain classes.
Optional programs, including ASPire (after-school programming), private instrumental music lessons, tutoring, Crew/Rowing, summer camps, and Middle/Upper School trips abroad, are also not included.
GFS is fortunate to have the Joseph Rubenstone '40 Fund, founded in the 1960’s to provide assistance for non-tuition expenses for students currently in the Community Scholars Program. GFS also provides financial aid from our general funds in order to accommodate as many families as is reasonable based on our annual budget.
Families may apply for financial aid for these additional expenses and should reach out to the Director of Financial Aid or to the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to apply for assistance with these costs that are not covered by tuition. The application form can be found online here.
Families with demonstrated need can request funds regardless of their income status. GFS will attempt to provide financial assistance for any and all families who experience hardship with any GFS offered program costs, but our aid funds are limited, and we will not be able to meet all requests for assistance.
Families who request assistance who have not gone through our financial aid application process should be prepared to file an application with FAST to determine demonstrated need and aid eligibility.
For ASPire clubs and activities, there is a sign-up period for fall, winter, and spring. All requests for financial assistance with ASPire need to be filed two weeks before the start date of that ASPire season, and before the deadline for the online sign-up within Active Network.
Our general awarding practices, if a family is eligible for assistance for program costs not covered by tuition, is to aid a family at the same percent of aid that is received for tuition. However, because aid funds are limited, families may not be supported for all requests. Also, awards are typically offered per child, per activity, and any aid offered cannot be transferred within a family to other children for other activities.
Any enrolled family (current and new) who enrolls and then withdraws between June 2 and July 1, 2019, must pay $5,000; between July 2 and August 1, 2019: $10,000; after August 1, 2019, a family must pay the full tuition amount due for the following school year. Notices of withdrawal must be made in writing to the Director of Enrollment.
All applicants' materials, records and award amounts are confidential. Financial Aid applications are reviewed only by FAST, the members of the Financial Aid Committee, and the Director of Financial Aid. Occasionally, financial aid award information (not aid application information) is shared with the Advancement Office, which reports to the State of Pennsylvania to gain additional scholarship monies through the EITC and OSTC programs; with school division heads if additional program support is requested through the Rubenstone Fund; or with the Director of College Counseling, for college scholarship opportunities.
Families are expected to keep the amount of their aid award confidential.