Financial Aid Policies

Our Philosophy

The Northwest School is committed to educating a socio-economically diverse student body. Our financial aid process is designed to help us achieve this goal as fairly as possible.

Independent school education is a choice, which the school and families make significant financial sacrifices to support. Our policies ensure that we apply uniform guidelines to every family that applies for aid.

We maintain an admissions process that is need-blind as possible. The financial aid and admissions decisions will be processed and made separately, but communicated to the family at the same time.


  • New Families
    Families should evaluate their capacity to pay tuition at the time they apply to the school for admission, and apply for financial aid at that time if needed. This allows the school to be informed of how many families will actually be in need of aid and budget for these needs accordingly. Financial aid funds that are allocated for new families are awarded at the time of admission to the school.
  • Waitpool and Late Applications
    Because the financial aid funds we have to award to new families are distributed at the time of admission, it is not possible to make additional awards later in the year. This includes families that only apply for aid after their child has enrolled in the school, as well as students accepted from the waitpool, and late or second-round applications.
  • Returning Families
    Priority for financial aid goes to returning students who received financial aid in the preceding school year. However, all families that receive aid must resubmit their current financial information each year so the financial aid committee can verify the award amount.If your family qualifies for aid at the time of admission but there is no funding available, you can enroll as a full-pay student and reapply for financial aid the following year as a current family.
  • Changes in Financial Situation
    If your financial situation changes after you enroll in the school and you find you can no longer afford the full tuition, you may apply for financial aid as a returning family. Please contact the financial aid office to request information. Your contract may be revised if you qualify for financial aid, and there are funds available.

Financial Aid Waitlist

Each year, we have more applicants who are qualified for both admission and financial aid than we are able to fund from our financial aid budget.

Our policy is to accept students based on the decision of the admission committee, regardless of the availability of financial aid. Some students will receive a letter of acceptance without a financial aid award, in which case they can opt to be placed on a financial aid waitlist.

Other Considerations

    • Separated or Divorced Parents
      The school considers the assets of both natural parents when evaluating the need for financial aid, regardless of any assertion that one parent has disclaimed responsibility for educational expenses.If either parent has remarried or has a domestic living relationship with another adult, we will also consider the assets of the stepparent or domestic partner, also bearing in mind the obligation of that stepparent or domestic partner to his or her own natural children.Both natural parents and their current spouses or domestic partners, if any, complete a financial aid application and return all appropriate tax forms and schedules. It is the responsibility of the parent applying to The Northwest School to ensure that all required adults as described above are completing a financial aid application.
    • Other Children in Tuition-Charging Institutions
      If you are applying for financial aid at The Northwest School, you must also apply for financial aid at other tuition –charging institutions that any other children in your family are attending, or to which they are applying. If the other school does not have a financial aid program, please note that in your Parents’ Financial Statement.
    • Unemployed or Non-working Parents
      In general, both parents must be employed to receive financial aid from The Northwest School. We also realize, however, that certain circumstances may make it impossible for this to occur. Please explain any such circumstances in your financial aid application, and describe the non-working parent’s plans for eventual employment.
    • Parents in School
      The Northwest School’s financial aid program is unable to either increase a family’s financial aid award, or give financial aid, due to a parent attending graduate school. We assume that any parent enrolled in graduate school will continue to earn income.

    Appeal Process

    If you are offered a financial aid award, and find that you cannot afford the tuition with the amount of assistance awarded, please ask for an appeal.

    You will be asked to provide additional information to allow the financial aid committee to evaluate an adjustment to the award amount, including a list of monthly expenses, copies of recent paystubs, and information about any unusual expenses that may not have been included in the original application.

    At times, we find that families have not included some information that would help the award committee determine a greater amount of need. At other times, unfortunately, the award decision cannot be adjusted.