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Financial Assistance Policy

Introduction 

Financial Assistance has a long tradition at Crofton House School, and since 2015, it has been a central part of its Strategic Plan Extraordinary Possibilities. The strategic role of Financial Aid reflects the importance that the School places on community as one of its defining features. 

The aims of the Financial Assistance program is twofold: 

  1. To create a diverse student body from a socio-economic perspective by removing financial barriers for Grade 8 applicants who could thrive in the CHS community but do not have sufficient means to meet the School’s fees. 
  2. To ensure short-term continuity of learning for existing students already at the School whose families’ circumstances deteriorate since their enrolment in a way that could not have been anticipated at the time they enrolled. 

Four principles underpin the program: sustainability, fairness, opportunity and compassion.

The Financial Assistance (FA) program is funded from a variety of funds (named and endowed) held in the School and CHS Foundation, as well as from donations from parents, past parents, alumnae, staff, and Board members received via the Annual Fund or via specific initiatives such as Golf Tournaments or Galas, which will vary from time to time. 

Types of Financial Assistance 

The school shall award two types of Financial Assistance: 

  1. Entrance Financial Assistance: available to new students applying to come into the school in Grade 8, includes a tuition discount and a waiving of the “New Student Entrance Fee”. Section 3.0 provides more details on Entrance Financial Assistance.
  2. Hardship Financial Assistance: available to or any families in SK to Grade 12  whose circumstances change unexpectedly. Section 4.0 provides more details on Hardship Financial Assistance.

In both cases, financial assistance will provide a discount of up to 98% of the annual tuition fee. Further, assistance will be available for some additional incidental and discretionary expenses costs including uniform purchases, overnight curricular and co-curricular excursions, and costs associated with co-curricular activities. 

Please note that recipients of both Entrance FA and Hardship FA have to reapply on an annual basis to ensure that the level of support for the student is appropriate throughout their time at the School. The School reserves the right to vary the amount awarded each year depending on material changes to family circumstances. 

Entrance Financial Assistance

Entrance FA is discretionary and available to new students 

  1. who meet the School’s entrance requirements as assessed through the Admissions process, 
  2. where family financial resources are insufficient to meet school fees,
  3. where an application for support is made to the School and 
  4. where there are sufficient funds to award.  

At the start of the admissions process, an assessment of the School’s available finances will be made and the scale and scope of the Entrance FA program for the next academic year will be set out for the Admissions team by the Director of Finance. The School will award Entrance FA to a number of applicants per year which shall depend on the funds available. Where there are more applicants than funds available, applicants with the strongest performance through the admission process will be given preference.

To gain entrance to the School, FA applicants must be successful through the admissions process and show that they meet the CHS entrance requirements as assessed through interview, in-school assessments, confidential reference, SAT scores and school reports. Further details are available in the Admissions Policy. 

Entrance FA will be offered to pupils entering the School in Grade 8, and will be generally designed to last for the student’s entire academic career at the School.  Typically, decisions about Grade 8 admissions and Entrance FA will be communicated to the families in late February, after the Board approved tuition. Entrance FA applicants who do not secure an FA award may be waitlisted for an Entrance FA award or offered a place at the school without Entrance FA. 

Entrance FA must be renewed by families annually by submitting an application to Apple Financial by December 1st. This process is to ensure that the level of support remains appropriate to the needs of the student throughout her time at school. The School has the right to vary the Entrance FA award depending on material changes to family circumstances. The renewal of Entrance FA is not linked to academic performance or extracurricular involvement. 

Hardship Financial Assistance

Hardship Financial Assistance will be awarded annually based on demonstrated financial need to existing families with children in SK to Grade 12 whose circumstances have deteriorated markedly since their enrolment at the School in a way that could not have been foreseen. 

Hardship FA will be considered a short term measure (typically up to 3 years), necessary while the family’s situation improves. In exceptional circumstances, hardship bursaries may be extended beyond 3 years at the sole discretion of the Head of School. Closeness to graduation or to a natural transition point in school (such as moving from Grade 5 to Middle School, from Grade 7 to Senior School or from Grade 9 into the graduation program years) will be some of the factors taken into account when considering an extension of Hardship Financial Assistance beyond 3 years. 

Families will be notified of their hardship FA awards after the Board approved tuition is communicated, usually by late February or early March.

Hardship FA must be renewed annually by submitting an application to Apple Financials by December 1st. The amount awarded each year may vary depending on changes to family circumstances. 

Families applying for hardship FA for their daughter/s and who also have children at other independent schools where FA is available must be applying to and /or receiving FA at those schools as well.

Families on Hardship FA cannot transfer to the Entrance FA program. 

Responsibilities of families applying for FA

The School sees families as close partners in the Financial Assistance application process. As such, families will be expected to: 

  1. seek to apply for assistance only after it has determined that its own resources are insufficient to cover School costs and has exhausted the potential resources and options available to it.
  2. be proactive in seeking information and answers to questions related to the Financial Assistance process directly from the School. 
  3. submit true and accurate documentation as required by the application process.
  4. adhere to school deadlines and documentation submission requirements and is responsive to School requests for additional information to support the application.
  5. understand that the School is not obligated to provide Financial Assistance, even if the family demonstrates eligibility.
  6. use School-established channels for accepting, turning down, or appealing a Financial Assistance decision. 
  7. work to the best of its ability to arrange its financial resources to pay the determined family contribution in the timeline prescribed by the school.
  8. understand that the FA amount may change from year to year.
  9. respect the confidentiality of FA awards. 

Use of a Third-Party Provider 

All applications shall be submitted using a third-party provider (Apple Financial) selected by the School to impartially and consistently evaluate all FA Applications. Apple Financial will take into consideration total levels of income, assets and expenditure and will treat applications in a manner that protects applicants’ privacy. 

For details on how to submit an Entrance FA application, please refer to the Financial Assistance page on the CHS website.

For details on how to submit a Hardship FA application, please refer to the Financial Assistance page on the My CHS parent portal.  

Application Review Process

The School shall restrict the individuals who receive the data from Apple Financial and ensure these individuals are skilled at interpreting the information provided. 

The FA Review Group, which consists of the Head of School, Director of Finance and Director of Admissions where appropriate, shall impartially evaluate Apple Financial's FA's recommendation in light of consistent and transparent school-based priorities and availability of financial resources. 

When further information is required to adequately evaluate either the information provided to Apple Financial or their recommendation, the School shall seek clarification prior to a decision.

The FA Review Group shall make all decisions regarding FA awards and these will be communicated to the families in mid February. 

Appealing an FA award decisions

Families wishing to appeal a FA award decision must do so in writing to the Head within 10 days of receipt of the award. The reasons for the appeal must be clearly stipulated and any additional evidence provided. 

The Head will review appeals with the Director of Finance and another Senior Administrator not involved in the initial decision a decision will be made within 10 working days of receipt of the appeal. The decision of the Head will be final. Any further appeals must be made to the ISABC ombudsman.

Considerations on Affordability 

The School recognizes that judgements about what sacrifices a family should make to pay school fees will be personal, however, the following factors will also be taken into consideration when reviewing financial assistance applications:

  1. The ability to improve the financial position or earning power of the family - where there are two partners, both would be expected to be employed unless one is prevented from doing so through incapacity or the need to care for children under school age or other dependents.
  2. Opportunities to release capital - significant capital savings and investments would be expected to be used for the payment of school fees, as well as equity value in property.
  3. In cases of separation, the contribution made by the absent parent.
  4. Contribution to household costs by other family members.
  5. Where fees are being paid to other schools or universities or for extracurricular activities. 

It is considered that the following would not typically be consistent with the receipt of financial assistance:

  1. Unreasonable expenditure on extracurricular activities
  2. Unreasonable expenditure on one or more vacations/year
  3. One or more new or luxury cars
  4. Investment in significant home improvements 
  5. Significant financial investments
  6. A vacation property/land holdings

Considerations on Fairness, Withdrawal and Repayments

The aims and principles of the FA program outline clearly that this is a program based on a demonstrated financial need to ensure the opportunity for new entrants and compassion for existing families. The School reserves the right to investigate elements of the FA application and to use other alternative methods to assess the affordability of fees should it become apparent that a family’s lifestyle is inconsistent with the level of the financial assistance award sought or provided.

The following circumstances may lead to an FA award, either Entrance or Hardship, being withdrawn, reduced or in some exceptional cases, having to be repaid:

  1. the applicant has knowingly and/or negligently provided false and/or partial information;
  2. the applicant has failed to produce any additional information required by the School to evidence their financial circumstances;
  3. the applicant has failed to report immediately any material change in their financial position; 
  4. the School’s resources are insufficient to maintain the level of the award; or
  5. there is a breach of the School’s Terms and Conditions attached to the acceptance of a place at the School.

Confidentiality 

The School abides by BC’s Personal Information Protection Act regulations and as such all information obtained as part of an FA application will be treated as confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone beyond the small team of senior administrators involved in the FA awards process (the FA Awards Review Group). This includes the Head of School, Director of Finance, and where appropriate, the Director of Admissions. 

The School will respect the confidentiality of FA awards made to families and expects the recipient to do likewise.

Board oversight 

The Board will appoint annually two Board members to act as FA liaison. These members will provide oversight of the FA process and support the school with the ongoing review of guidelines. 

The results of the FA process, in terms of the total number of recipients and funds awarded, will be presented to the Board annually in June as part of the annual report from the Director of Admissions. No personal details or information will be shared with the Board.