Tuition Assistance FAQs

Affording Brandeis Marin

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT TUITION ASSISTANCE

What is Tuition Assistance?

Central to the mission of Brandeis Marin is a commitment to provide outstanding education to a diverse population of qualified students. In order to remain accessible to families from a wide range of economic backgrounds, Brandeis Marin designates a substantial amount of money for tuition assistance to qualifying families on a yearly basis. We are proud of this tradition, which allows us to serve our families and assure a dynamic and diverse student population.

While every family is expected to contribute to the cost of tuition and fees and to support the community to the extent individual family circumstances permit, the school does not expect all families to pay tuition at the highest level. Tuition is set based on each family’s unique financial situation. We encourage families who have concerns about their ability to afford full tuition to apply for tuition assistance. The program operates with strict confidentiality between school and recipient families.

Please remember that Brandeis Marin families must reapply for tuition assistance every year.

Determination of tuition assistance is completely separate from the admission process. Families should not hesitate to submit a request for reduced tuition due to this concern.

What is tuition for the 2017-18 school year?

Tuition ranges are established by the board of trustees and announced in February. For currently enrolled Brandeis Marin families, tuition assistance levels will be indicated on the students’ re-enrollment contracts mailed in February as tuition assistance decisions are made. For students newly accepted to Brandeis Marin, tuition assistance levels will be indicated on the enrollment agreements enclosed with admission decision letters sent in March. At that time, many families will be offered tuition assistance, some families will be notified that they do not qualify for tuition assistance, while others will be added to a tuition assistance waitlist. A waitlist designation means that a student will be considered for tuition assistance if additional funding becomes available.


What is the tuition payment schedule?

A non-refundable reservation deposit of $1,500 will be required with all enrollment contracts, pro-rated for tuition assistance agreements, to reserve your child’s enrollment for 2017-18. The deposit is due one week after you receive your enrollment contract in February. The deposit will be applied to the 2017-18 tuition due. The school offers three payment plans: one, two and ten payments. For the one payment plan, the tuition and fees are due on June 1, 2017. For the two-payment plan, 60 percent of the tuition and all fees are due June 1, 2017, and 40 percent of the tuition is due December 1, 2017. For the ten-payment plan, payments are due June 19, 2017 through March 21, 2018. For the two or ten payment plans, the family must enroll and pay their tuition through FACTS Tuition Management; this program automatically deducts your payments from an account you designate. No interest is charged for this service but there is a one-time $100 administrative fee per student.

Tuition refund insurance is available through A.W.G. Dewar Inc. This plan provides partial insurance coverage in the event of a separation or withdrawal from Brandeis Marin. Families using the two and ten payment plan will be required to purchase tuition refund insurance payable in June 2017.

How do I know if my family is eligible for tuition assistance?

Brandeis Marin uses School and Student Services (SSS), a service of the National Association of Independent Schools, to process tuition assistance applications. Based on the financial information you provide in the Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS), SSS gives us a recommended amount your family can contribute to educational expenses. The SSS formula considers a wide range of variables specific to each family, including income, assets, family size, expenses, discretionary costs and the number of children enrolled in tuition charging schools. Along with the family’s federal tax return documents, Brandeis considers the PFS information and SSS recommendation, adjusts for the Bay Area cost of living, to help us make fair and equitable tuition assistance decisions. Brandeis applies consistent tuition assistance eligibility criteria for all families. Due to the complexity of the SSS formula, it is not possible for the school, or for the family, to determine the level of tuition for which they qualify unless the entire tuition assistance application is completed.

Does the amount of tuition my family can contribute change with the number of number of children my family sends to tuition-charging schools?

Yes, and in some instances dramatically. The SSS formula gives us a recommended amount your family can contribute to educational expenses. We then apply our criteria to the formula, for instance we allow

for a very high cost of living allowance because the cost of living in the Bay Area is quite high. The final

figure is your ability to pay for tuition and then that figure is divided by the number of children you have

in tuition charging schools. We do not consider or make adjustments based upon the actual cost of

tuition at each school; we simply divide the figure by the number of children in tuition charging schools.

As an example, if during one academic year your family has two children in tuition-charging schools and

then one student graduates and goes on to attend a public school, the figure that is determined as your

ability to pay for tuition will then be applied to the one student remaining in tuition charging school.

Again, by way of example, if the amount you can contribute to educational expenses is $20,000 and you

have two children in tuition charging schools, then each student will be expected to pay tuition of

$10,000. If/when a student graduates and will attend public school, then the one remaining student in

tuition charging school is expected to pay $20,000.

Does every family submit financial information?

All families are invited to submit financial information to determine the tuition level for which they are

eligible. Families who elect not to submit financial forms will pay full tuition.

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If a family enters Brandeis with tuition assistance, does the student continue to receive tuition

assistance until graduation?

Brandeis requires families to reapply every year. Provided family circumstances remain the same, the

school’s resources can continue to support the program to the same extent, and the student is in good

academic and social standing, the school intends to fund this student for all the years he or she is

enrolled at Brandeis.

Are all students who are offered admission also offered tuition assistance if their parents qualify?

Because the number of accepted students whose families qualify for tuition assistance usually exceeds

the school’s budget, the school does not guarantee funding for, nor is able to fund, all deserving

students. Priority consideration is given to returning Brandeis students, siblings of current Brandeis

students, and children of Brandeis faculty and staff. Most years, however, tuition assistance is offered to

a high percentage of accepted students whose families demonstrate need.

What happens if we’re a current Brandeis family paying full tuition and we need to apply for tuition

assistance?

We will do our best to meet the needs of current families who are requesting tuition assistance for the

first time due to a changed financial situation. However, we cannot guarantee that the school will be

able to meet the financial need of these families. It is our expectation that families who begin at

Brandeis paying full tuition will continue to do so unless there is a significant change in family finances.

What are the major components that define the tuition assistance range?

The formula used by School and Student Service for Financial Aid (SSS) to calculate the exact tuition level

is complex and considers many factors that affect a family’s ability to pay. The information that follows

is designed to give families a general idea of some of the major factors that influence where a family

may fall within our tuition assistance. It is impossible for the school, or the family, to determine the

exact level of tuition unless the entire tuition assistance application is completed.

• Income: Income means pre-tax income from wages, business or investments. The formula that

determines a family’s ability to pay considers different expenses than the IRS uses to calculate

taxable income. Therefore, all tax schedules must be submitted. If parents reside in separate

households, the income and expenses of both households are considered in the calculation.

• Assets: If a family has major assets, savings, and/or investments, the formula computes an

income supplement that is added to the gross income. Should the student have assets (savings,

trust accounts, etc.), these assets are considered in the amount that parents can pay. The

income assumed to be generated by assets also takes parent age into account with respect to

consideration of retirement savings.

• Family size: Living-allowance estimates take into account the number of people in a student’s

household(s) and bases estimated necessary expenditures for housing, food, medical needs, etc.

on this number. Income is adjusted by these expenses to calculate the available discretionary

income.

• Unusual expenses: The formula for determining the family contribution for educational

expenditures takes into account certain “unusual expenses” such as expenses for the care of an

aging grandparent, parent educational loan payments and a number of other expenses listed in

the application instructions for the Parent Financial Statement (PFS).

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• Other discretionary costs: The formula expects a family to allocate only a portion of

discretionary income to tuition payments.

• Number of independent school or college tuitions currently being supported: The ability to pay

is divided by the number of tuition-paying family members at any elementary school, high

school or undergraduate college to determine the tuition for any one student.

• Cost of living adjustment: Brandeis makes a cost-of-living adjustment for San Francisco to

reflect a Bay Area family’s ability to afford an independent school education. The report that a

family receives from SSS does not include this adjustment.

Do both parents need to be employed to receive tuition assistance?

All parents are expected to earn a minimum level of income to receive tuition assistance. The cost of

one tuition imputed for non-working parents and for parents who work but do not earn the expected

minimum level of income. Brandeis recognizes the importance of full-time parenting, especially for

young children. Once all children in the household have entered preschool and kindergarten, it is

generally expected that both parents are employed and earn a minimum level of income to receive

tuition assistance. In some cases it may be impossible for a parent to be employed outside the home, or

to earn the minimum level of income, and we encourage you to explain your specific situation in writing

to Brandeis.

What about divorced, separated, or never-married parents?

Tuition assistance is based on the family’s ability to pay as demonstrated by the information submitted

in the Parent Financial Statement (PFS). Both custodial and non-custodial parents (regardless of legal

settlements) who are divorced, separated or never married are expected to contribute to educational

costs and are required to submit the PFS. In exceptional cases where one parent cannot comply, the

custodial parent should submit a written explanation. Lack of information from either parent may

prevent determination of eligibility for tuition assistance or significantly affect the tuition amount.

What if my tuition assistance is higher than I believe I can afford?

If you feel that you have omitted or need to clarify specific financial information, or if you have new

information to communicate, you may request a review of your tuition assistance decision by contacting

the tuition assistance manager, MJ McGaughey. Every effort will be made to understand and

incorporate a family’s particular circumstance. Keep in mind, the funds available for tuition assistance,

while significant, are limited. As a consequence the school must prioritize and allocate these funds.

Where possible, the school will assist families seeking additional financial support by directing them to

other outside resources and agencies.

If we have questions regarding tuition assistance, who should we call?

We are available to answer your questions. Prospective families with general questions about tuition

assistance should contact Director of Admissions Tania Lowenthal at tlowenthal@sfbrandeis.org or 415-

406-1035 ext. 1007. Current Brandeis families should contact MJ McGaughey at

mmcgaughey@sfbrandeis.org or 415-406- 1035.

Important Tuition Assistance Dates:

For returning Brandeis Marin families, the deadline to submit financial information to SSS is Friday, January 15, 2016. For prospective families, our deadline to submit financial information to SSS is Friday, February 12, 2016.

Tuition Assistance Application Instructions:

You may start applying for Tuition Assistance on November 2, 2015.

To submit a Parent Financial Statement (PFS) online, please go to http://sssbynais.org/parents/. The school code for Brandeis Marin is 900212.

Upload a copy of your 2014 federal tax return, including all schedules, W-2s, and 1099s by Tuesday, January 15, 2016 (returning families) or by Friday, February 12, 2016 (prospective families). As soon as available, upload a copy of your 2015 W-2s and filed tax return.

If you are part of a partnership or S-Corporation, we ask that you provide your 2014 returns and all K-1s by the applicable deadline, and your 2015 return as soon as the tax documents are filed.

Upload IRS Form 4506-T signed but not dated by the application deadline.

All returning families applying for tuition assistance for the 2016-17 school year must have uploaded their FY 2014 tax documents. FY 2015 tax documents must be submitted as soon as they are filed – on or about April 15, 2016. A tuition assistance application cannot be reviewed unless the FY 2014 tax documents have been submitted. It is not necessary to re-submit FY 2014 taxes if they have been filed as part of the prior year's application. When uploading tax documents, please include the tax filing year in the name of the file.

Importantly, tuition determinations are not final until you have submitted tax information for 2015. If the information on your 2015 return differs significantly from your PFS, tuition may be adjusted accordingly.

Notification of tuition determinations will be mailed on the same schedule as admission decision letters – in February and March for returning Brandeis families, and in March for prospective families.

You can submit documents online or by mail. Your application will not be complete until you pay the application fee to SSS NAIS. When submitting documents by mail, be sure to include the Required Documents Cover Sheet from SSS. For assistance, contact the SSS Service Center for Parents at 800-344-8328 or sss@nais.org.