Financial Aid Application Process
The deadline for submitting financial aid applications, as well as supporting documents, is January 6, 2020.
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 2019 earnings along with 2018 tax information, parents will need to explain their 2019 earnings in the Letter to School section of the FAST online application.
Please use this section to explain if anticipated 2020 earnings will be greater than, less than, or the same as 2019 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 2019 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 2019 paycheck(s) and W-2s directly to FAST by January 6, 2020.
- All awards offered are contingent upon receipt of final 2019 tax and income information.
Please follow the instructions provided by FAST to scan and upload files digitally or mail signed paper copies of your 2019 Federal and State tax returns, W-2s and accompanying schedules to FAST by April 1, 2020.
GFS will confirm or possibly change your award, based on your 2019 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 2020-21 will begin in the spring of 2020, 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, 2020.
- Guideline of Need
- Financial Aid Grants from Non-GFS Sources
- Extra Expenses
- Non-Tuition Financial Aid (NTFA) for Programs, Travel, and Activities
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 6, 2020 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 and January term trips are an additional cost per family; the total cost may be offset by student fundraising. Depending upon an Upper School student’s course selection, there may be small fees.
Tuition and activity fees cover the costs of tuition and most grade-wide, annual activities. They do not cover the cost 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 after-school programming (ASPire), after-school clubs, private instrumental music lessons, tutoring, Crew/Rowing, summer camps, and Middle/Upper School trips abroad, are also not included in the cost of tuition and activity.
GFS is fortunate to have the Joseph Rubenstone ’40 Fund, founded in the 1960’s, to provide Non-Tuition Financial Aid (NTFA) for non-tuition expenses for students currently in the Community Scholars Program (CSP). GFS is also fortunate to have the Stokes Memorial Fund, founded in 2018, to provide additional NTFA support for students not in the CSP program, but currently receive financial aid. GFS also provides NTFA from our general funds in order to accommodate as many families as is reasonable based on our total annual budget.
Families must apply for NTFA by submitting the Non-Tuition Financial Aid Application 2019-20. The Financial Aid Committee will review all applications submitted and attempt to provide financial assistance within the capabilities of the limited financial aid budget. All awards are at the discretion of the Financial Aid Committee and GFS can not ensure funding all requests for assistance.
The intention of the NTFA review and awarding process is to allow students “to develop their capacities to the fullest extent possible” and generate the greatest opportunity for student involvement at GFS inside and outside the classroom.
Families who apply for NTFA and have not completed the online FAST financial aid application for tuition have to complete this to determine demonstrated need and aid eligibility.
The Financial Aid Committee strives to award NTFA at a similar percentage a family was awarded financial aid towards their tuition costs. Awards are offered per child, per activity, and therefore an award cannot be transferred within a family to other children, or for other activities.
Newly enrolled students may apply for NTFA in the Fall of their first year once they have begun attending classes, with the exception of ASPire after school care.
ASPire, after school clubs and activities
If you are applying for assistance for ASPire, after school clubs, and activities, the NTFA application has to be submitted two weeks prior to the required sign-up deadline. Each application is reviewed on a case by case basis, with awarding priority going to ASPire over clubs and activities. Middle school-aged children will not be considered for ASPire after school care funding.
If the school recommends tutoring, counseling, or additional assistance for a student outside of school, these will be considered for NTFA assistance.
School Trips and International School Trips
Submission deadlines for School Trip Forms must be met in order to qualify for NTFA. NTFA is available for international school trips limited to the fee charged by GFS for the trip. Priority in awarding for international trips will be given to students that have not participated in an international trip during that school year.
If you are a member of a school team or club that qualifies for an event requiring travel (Head of the Charles, ACDA National Honors Choir, etc.), these will be considered for NTFA assistance.
Music lessons that are required by a GFS program are eligible for NTFA assistance. Awards will be limited to one instrument per semester.
For school-sponsored events (dances, etc.), NTFA may apply solely to the fee charged by GFS for the event for the GFS student.
Please contact Chris Breña, Director of Financial Aid (email@example.com) with any questions that may arise.
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.