Frequently Asked Questions
- What is FAST?
- How is my family's need determined?
- How do I explain a special circumstance that influences my financial situation?
- After I submit a financial aid application, what are the possible outcomes?
- If I qualify for aid and receive an award, will I receive a similar amount for each year my child is offered re-enrollment at GFS?
- What are the qualifications for aid at GFS?
FAST (Financial Aid for School Tuition) is a need-based financial aid analysis service provided by Independent School Management, which helps to ensure that our review to establish financial need adheres to national standards. FAST is designed to be responsive to families. It is flexible in terms of the information it accommodates and allows families to represent their own particular circumstances accurately. To ease the online application process, FAST provides 24/7 help desk support. The helpline is 1-877-326-FAST (3278).
FAST processes aid applications and suggests to GFS a recommended financial aid amount based on a calculation of a family’s income, assets, debts and obligations, size of family, tuitions paid elsewhere and any other financial information shown on the applicant’s federal and state tax returns, W-2s and accompanying schedules, as well as W-2s and final paychecks from employers. The GFS Financial Aid Committee will use the suggested award calculation from FAST as a guideline in its consideration of a family’s demonstrated financial need.
The GFS Financial Aid Committee will meet in mid-January to review all aid applications for families who are currently enrolled and new families who have been accepted for admission.
If eligible for aid, you will receive an award letter shortly after February 1, 2018.
If you qualify for aid but the aid budget is insufficient for an award to be made, you will be placed on the Financial Aid Waitlist. In this case, do not submit the non-refundable deposit and enrollment contract. Offers of admission will be extended until your waitlisted status has been resolved.
If you do not qualify for aid at GFS, you will receive a letter stating that you do not qualify.
Each year, families must reapply for financial aid through FAST because a family’s income and situation may vary from year to year. If your financial situation does not change, we will make every effort to continue to provide the same amount of aid from one year to the next. It is generally expected that a family’s capacity to pay will increase over the years.
To have your application for aid reviewed, you must have a Re-enrollment or New Enrollment Agreement extended to you for your child.
Current families must be up-to-date with their accounts. (Re-enrollment Agreements may be held for academic or financial reasons.) You must have a completed aid application on file with FAST by the deadline including prior year state and federal tax forms.
Current families on “Re-enrollment Hold”, or those who apply late, are in jeopardy of not receiving aid.
- Does GFS have an income cut-off to qualify for aid?
- Are there other costs beyond tuition at GFS?
- What about divorced, separated, never married, and single parents?
- Are there other sources of financial aid?
- What if there is a change in my income between the time the award is given in February and April, when I file taxes?
Our financial aid program is designed to allow greater access to a GFS education, so we encourage families to apply for financial aid if they feel they need it. Few families find it easy to pay for independent school tuitions. Most adjust their spending priorities, maximize earnings and carefully manage assets to do so. All families have specific and different circumstances, and therefore quantifying a specific income level of eligibility is difficult. Award amounts range between very small awards ($1,500 range) to almost full tuition ($34,000 range). All GFS families pay something towards GFS tuition.
Yes. Tuition and activity fees cover the cost of tuition and most grade-wide activities, but do not cover the costs of lunch, non-grade-wide field trips, books and reading materials, sports uniforms and some other small program fees that are particular to certain classes. Extended Day programming and transportation costs (optional) are also not included.
Families already enrolled can apply to The Rubenstone Fund through Tchet Dereic Dorman, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, for assistance with these extra costs if they cannot manage them.
GFS considers the income and assets of any adult who plays a significant parenting role in a student’s life. All adults (parents, stepparents, guardians, and others who pay tuition) are required to provide their tax information to FAST as part of the financial aid application. GFS cannot be bound by the assertion that a parent has disclaimed financial responsibility for educational costs for a child. All parents who share legal custody of a child are required to sign the Enrollment Contract(s).
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 EITC and OSTC qualify the school to receive those monies, thus replenishing the total financial aid budget.