Financial Aid: Frequently Asked Questions

St. Mary's has an extensive financial aid program. In the 2018-2019 school year, we awarded over $1,000,000 in need-based financial assistance to approximately 40% of our students. The average award grant was nearly $5,000.

We encourage families to apply for admission to St. Mary's regardless of their financial circumstances. While families bear the primary responsibility for financing their child's education, need-based financial aid awards can help cover the difference between the family's resources and tuition.

How to Apply for Financial Aid

St. Mary's uses an online service called FAST (Financial Aid for School Tuition) to help determine financial aid awards.

Financial aid applications for all students (new and returning) are due on March 22. To apply, please click the button below. In addition, parents of applicants must indicate they are interested in applying for financial aid by checking the appropriate box on the application form. Recipients must re-apply annually for financial aid.
Applicants are notified of financial aid awards by US Mail in late April. Financial aid grant awards are valid for two weeks, after which they are subject to revocation. Applications for financial aid are accepted on a rolling basis after the March 22 deadline, but the bulk of financial aid is distributed by late April.

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 16 frequently asked questions.

  • What is financial aid?

    At St. Mary's School, financial aid provides need-based assistance for tuition to students who qualify through the financial aid application process. Financial need is defined as the difference between a family’s resources and the ability to contribute toward the cost of education, and the cost of tuition. All awards are made in the form of grants, which are not repaid to the school. Like many independent schools, St. Mary's uses an online service called FAST (Financial Aid for School Tuition) as the foundation for our financial aid process. FAST relies upon a standard methodology to assess the resources available to a family to contribute toward a child’s educational expenses.
  • Should our family apply for financial aid?

    St. Mary's School, like most independent schools, believes that a family holds primary responsibility for financing their child’s education to the extent they are able. We also believe that families should consider utilizing all available resources before applying for financial aid. We expect that families will take time to assess realistically their financial situation and determine how much they can afford to pay. With this determination in mind, the family can decide whether or not to apply for aid. A good rule of thumb is: if in doubt, apply. It costs very little, and because so many factors are considered, it is always worth going through the process. It is important to understand that there is no specific income level at which a family will not qualify for financial aid.
  • How much does it cost to apply?

    When you complete your FAST application online, you will be asked to pay $49 regardless of the number of schools to which you apply. FAST has financial assistance towards the application fee for those who meet its established financial criteria. If you meet those criteria, the system will waive the fee when you submit your application.
  • Will our family receive the difference between the cost of tuition and what my Report of Family Contribution says we can contribute?

    Not entirely. We require that every family contribute financially toward tuition. And, because there is more demand for financial aid funds than the school can provide, we cannot meet 100% of determined need. We hope that by providing support for a substantial percentage of the cost, more students will be able to attend St. Mary's School.
  • Who will see the information provided by FAST to the school?

    All records and correspondence regarding financial aid are held in strict confidence. Information will be reviewed only by those persons directly involved in the financial aid decision-making process or in its administration (Business Office staff and the Head of School).
  • Can you consider our application for financial aid if we have not provided all the information requested?

    No. Financial aid to a family cannot be awarded if the application is incomplete.
  • Do we have other options if our family’s full need is not met?

    We offer a monthly direct debit payment plan that may help make payments easier on your family’s budget. Your banking institution can also provide you with information about low-interest educational loan programs. You should also look for other forms of financial assistance that may be available through your place of employment, community organizations, or local foundations.
  •  Will my child’s admission be affected if we apply for financial aid?

    No. Admission decisions and financial aid decisions are made by separate committees. The financial aid committee does not complete its review of an application until it is advised that a student has fully enrolled.
  • What are the school's priorities in terms of who receives financial aid?

    Financial aid is awarded in the following priority order by category of student: 

    • Families currently enrolled at St. Mary's, 
    • New students who have been admitted to the school.

    St. Mary's strives to allocate funds across grades and at levels that meet enrollment goals and support socio-economic diversity throughout the school.
  • How is our family's financial need determined?

    Financial Aid for School Tuition (FAST) processes the information you provide within the application according to a standard methodology to assess the resources your family has available to contribute toward your student’s educational expenses. The result of this evaluation is sent to St. Mary's School.

    Some factors that FAST takes into account include: income (both taxable and nontaxable), assets (home equity, savings, investments, etc.), expenses, indebtedness, family size, age of parents/guardians (to allow for retirement savings), and the number of students attending tuition-charging schools.
  • What happens if our child has assets?

    The financial assets that a child has will be taken into account by FAST. That amount will be divided by the number of years he or she has left in school through four-year college and added to the parental contribution for education. The sum of both the parent(s) and the student contributions equals the recommended family contribution for education.
  • What happens to the information I provide FAST?

    The St. Mary's School Financial Aid Committee will review the application along with your federal tax return, W2’s and any other information you provide. The committee may recalculate the suggested family contribution based on this information, on school policy, and on the availability of funds. Your contribution will then be subtracted from the tuition costs for the year, and this will determine your family’s financial need.
  •  How are my financial status and ability to pay evaluated if I am separated or divorced?

    St. Mary's School believes that primary responsibility for paying for a child’s education rests with both parents. Financial aid is not based on the willingness to pay, but on the ability to pay. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all parents/guardians to complete all steps in the application process. In families where one or both parents are remarried or have a domestic partner, their financial information is taken into consideration as well.
  •  If our child receives financial aid for one year, will he or she automatically receive aid each of the following years?

    No. Family and school circumstances can change from year to year and we need current and accurate information. All families must reapply for financial aid every year.
  • St. Mary's Tuition Grant Policy

    At St. Mary’s, the tuition and fees charged to parents cover only a portion of the real cost of educating a student for a year. The school’s endowment and donations from outside sources meet the difference. The primary responsibility for paying a student’s tuition and fees at St. Mary’s School rests with the family. The Tuition Grant program exists to supplement family resources when necessary. The goals of the St. Mary’s Tuition Grant Policy are:
    1. To provide access to a St. Mary’s education to qualified students who could not otherwise attend, and whose attendance will enrich the school and community.
    2. To increase the socioeconomic diversity of the student body.
  •  Are students who receive financial aid treated differently than other students?

    No. The expectations of students who receive financial aid with regard to academic performance, behavior and all other aspects of school life are the same as for students who do not receive financial aid. Furthermore, teachers and staff are not informed of students whose families benefit from financial aid. Please be assured that all financial aid matters are handled with the highest level of discretion.