Financial Aid: NO FEAR!

Hello from Miami-

I am enjoying the unseasonably cool weather at the SSS Convention in Miami, FL (still quite a bit warmer than New England!). Financial Aid is a term that can strike fear of unknowing or dread of confusing tax lingo into the most confident of boarding school applicant families. I am here to say- NO FEAR!

For those considering private school for the first time, the application can seem overwhelming enough. The financial aid process can seem like sharing a lot of personal information for an unknown result In reality, financial aid is a tool that allows schools to help the right student attend the right school for them. Financial aid is a process that allows schools to understand what is a reasonable amount for a family to contribute towards tuition.

Most of the New England Boarding Schools use the Financial Aid program through the National Association of Independent Schools called School and Student Services or SSS by NAIS. This service gives the families a online system to input their finances. SSS then computes all this information and determines a family contribution amount. This program takes into account straight numbers off of tax forms as well as personal details about unexpected family expenses. The program has recently gone under a huge overhaul, and I was able to review it from YOUR side at the convention this week. It is very user friendly and contains an easy to follow checklist on the left hand side.

The key for families to have a successful experience with financial aid is paying close attention to due dates. Remember, like the application deadlines, the due dates can vary from school to school. SSS helps track some of this information, but it is important for your to review the information posted on each school’s web site and reach out to clarify any dates and forms required. The good news is that you only have to fill out the financial aid application once for every school you apply to that uses the SSS program!

For The White Mountain School, we ask for the Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS) to be completed by January 31, 2015. All supporting tax documentation needs to be uploaded by March 1, 2015. You may assign us to receive your information by looking up our school name or entering our school code: 8194. Finally, remember, all Financial Aid offices want to help families complete the forms accurately. Always ask for help, that’s what we are here for!! SSS has created a message center where you can contact specific schools and/or the SSS help desk right in the system.

I look forward to partnering with many families in the upcoming admissions cycle!
—Sarah Catlin
Director of Financial Aid

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