Financial Aid

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

Complete PFS online at www.sssbynais.org including all information, most recent IRS Federal Form 1040 and current W-2. Note, the Redwood Cooperative School SSS Code is 9078.

We review each application for financial aid by the same guidelines and evaluate individual family needs relative to others in our school. All financial aid awards are kept confidential and the Financial Aid Committee maintains all application materials in strict confidence.

Please note that a family’s assets are considered when awarding financial aid. Consequently, it is possible for a family with a modest income to qualify for little or no aid if they have significant savings, investments or home equity. Conversely, a family with few assets may qualify for more aid than a family with a similar (or lesser) income who has more assets. The number of children in tuition-charging schools is also considered. The school allocates awards based on each family’s demonstrated need.

FAQ’s

Do parents apply for financial aid just once?
Parents are required to apply for aid annually because tuition increases and changes in family resources may affect the amount of the awards. To be considered, parents must submit all forms and documentation on time.

How is a family’s need determined?
Redwood Cooperative School subscribes to the School and Student Service for Financial Aid (SSS) by NAIS. Families submit a Parents’ Financial Statement, one for each parent in the case of separated or divorced parents, providing detailed financial information to SSS. Then SSS evaluates the information based on a formula nationally accepted by independent schools. The result of the evaluation is printed on a Report of Family Contribution (RFC) and sent to Redwood Cooperative School. In processing applications, SSS takes many factors into account, such as:

  • Income (taxable and nontaxable)
  • Monetary gifts from grandparents, etc.
  • Assets (home equity, rental and vacation property, savings, stocks, bonds, etc.)
  • Unusual Expenses (medical, etc.)
  • Indebtedness (consumer indebtedness and current business debts are generally not allowable, while debts from a dissolved business are often allowable)
  • Family size
  • Age of parents (allows for retirement savings)
  • Number of children attending tuition-charging schools
  • Separated or divorced parents

SSS considers these factors and provides every family with a living allowance based on family size. This allowance protects a certain amount of income after a variety of expenses are already subtracted from a family’s income. SSS also caps home equity at three times the total income. This process helps determine a family’s “discretionary income.” A portion of this discretionary income is then suggested as the family contribution for education. The more discretionary income a family has the higher the family’s expected contribution for education.

There can be some variation between the SSS estimation of a family’s financial need and what Redwood Cooperative School actually awards. While SSS merely keys in the data provided on the PFS, our Director of Admissions and Financial Aid reviews and recalculates the family’s financial profile based on information gleaned from taxes and other documentation provided by the family. The Financial Aid Committee then meets to discuss each family’s situation and allocates awards accordingly.

Redwood Cooperative School endorses the recommended policy of the School and Student Service for Financial Aid stating that parents have the obligation to pay for the educational expenses of their children to the extent they are able, and that obligation takes precedence over the school’s responsibility to provide financial assistance. We believe the primary responsibility for a child’s education rests with both natural parents. We cannot be bound by the assertion that one parent has disclaimed responsibility for educational expenses. Financial aid is based on ability to pay, not willingness to pay. Therefore, we expect both parents to complete all steps in the application process. The income and assets of stepparents or domestic partners will also be included in calculations, always bearing in mind the obligation of that partner to his or her own natural children. It is the responsibility of the custodial parent to request additional forms for the non-custodial parent if they have not been mailed with the financial aid packet. We will waive the requirement for the non-custodial parent to complete the PFS and other forms if the location of the non-custodial parent is unknown or we have documented information that the non-custodial parent provides no support and is not in contact with the child. If extenuating circumstances might warrant waiving this requirement, written requests should be sent to the Financial Aid Committee.

Must both parents be employed to receive financial aid?
In general, both parents must be employed if all children in the family are beyond preschool age. For many of our families (those who receive aid and those who do not), both parents are employed so that they can provide an independent school education for their children. We also realize that in some families circumstances may make this impossible. Explaining the circumstances in your financial aid application and describing the non-working partner’s plans for eventual employment are important. In order to prevent penalizing dual-income families, we may impute a salary amount for non-working parents as an equalizer, unless extenuating circumstances prohibit a parent from working.

Cost to apply for aid
The fee to apply online is $42. SSS begins accepting applications on November 1, 2017 for the 2018-2019 school year.

Reminder: For separated or divorced parents, each parent (custodial and non-custodial) must submit all required forms on behalf of his or her household In certain cases, we may request that grandparents or other individuals who pay for most or all of a student’s tuition submit an application in lieu of or in addition to the parent(s) application.

Confidentiality
Financial information submitted by parents in support of aid applications is held in confidence by the Financial Aid Committee and is retained on file for only a limited time to document possible IRS or other regulatory auditing, after which the records are destroyed. Financial aid recipients are not identified at the school except as necessary to evaluate their performance.

Redwood Cooperative School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, gender or sexual orientation to all the rights privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, gender or sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, scholarship, and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.