Tuition and Assistance
Tuition at Shepherd Valley Waldorf School covers approximately 80% of the school's expenses. The remaining revenue comes from fundraising and donations. The school does not receive funds from outside sources, but rather manages all assistance as forgiven tuition.
While expenses are not fully covered by tuition revenue, we are committed to making Waldorf Education available to as many families as possible. We believe in and work towards the ideal that finances not be the reason a child does not receive a Waldorf Education.
In that spirit, and recognizing the value of diversity of all kinds, we offer Tuition Assistance, and are pleased to announce our new Shepherd Valley Waldorf School One Action, Boulder County Scholarship.
Tuition AssistanceWhether or not you receive a grant, the TA program affects our entire school community in several important ways. We hope the following overview of our TA program is of interest to all families, and addresses questions of families considering applying for grants.
This program allows us to welcome children into our classrooms who would otherwise not be able to enroll due to financial barriers. It also impacts all families in our community, however, by allowing greater socioeconomic diversity and creating fuller classroom environments. In this partnership, every family contributes their unique value to the school. Through the TA program, the needs of the school and of each individual family are balanced.
In the words of Rudolf Steiner, in Anthroposophy and the Social Question,
“And if any man works for the community, he must perceive and feel the meaning and value of this community, and what it is as a living, organic whole. He can only do this when the community is something other and quite different from a more or less indefinite totality of individual men. It must be informed by an actual spirit in which each single person has his part ... The whole communal body must have a spiritual mission, and each individual of it must have the will to contribute towards the fulfilling of this mission. In every single member down to the least, this Spirit of Community must be alive and active.”
Overview of Our Tuition Assistance Program
Grants are determined on the basis of demonstrated financial need of families. The program is administered by the Tuition Assistance Committee, which operates under the supervision of the Board of Trustees. The TA Committee includes members of the parent body and is assisted by administrative staff. Grants are available to students in every class at the school and reduce the tuition due from parents who are grant recipients.
Shepherd Valley uses the Grant & Aid Assessment program of FACTS Management Company. FACTS provides the school with a standardized assessment of a family’s finances and recommends an amount for their contribution to educational expenses. The FACTS analysis is based on the prior year’s income and expenses as well as family assets. Families are required to include all cash income, gift income, and any other sources of income - whether or not reported on the tax return - in the application field "Other nontaxable income (i.e. Clergy/Pastoral/Military Housing Allowance, Foster Care Allowance, VA Benefits, etc.)." Also, if your family income has increased, this information should also be reported to the TA committee directly. The TA Committee then reviews the recommendations, requests any additional information needed, and makes grant decisions. Though FACTS provides a standardized assessment, the TA Committee understands that each application is unique and requires individual consideration.
FACTS may take up to two weeks to return the grant recommendation, and the TA Committee typically reviews the recommendations within one to two weeks, if possible.
Materials Fees and Enrollment Deposits are not covered under the grants and must be paid in full.
The amount of grants distributed by the school varies every year, but is usually around 18% to 20% of our total tuition income. Independent school standards are around 14%. At Shepherd Valley Waldorf School, we are committed to finding ways to make this education affordable for many families. Should tuition assistance grants surpass our targeted amount, reductions in operating expenses such as salaries, benefits and programs might need to be taken. Families are asked to be mindful of this delicate balance when applying for tuition assistance grants.
Grant decisions require a certain amount of social standard setting. Just as Shepherd Valley stretches to offer an excellent education with limited financial and human resources, we ask parents to stretch too, and be willing to place Waldorf education in a place of high priority within their finances. There are no hard and fast rules, but the grant decisions will reflect what the TA Committee sees of the priorities a family sets. Many families forego new cars, investments, vacations, summer camps and house cleaners, in addition to choosing to live in places with a lower cost of living in order to focus on supporting their children’s education. We cannot ignore the impact of parents’ choices on their ability to pay tuition. We generally try to support families who genuinely cannot afford to pay full tuition. However, we do not want to subsidize lifestyle choices.
Additionally, we encourage parents to think long term and begin to plan how they will be able to increase the percentage of tuition they pay each year.
Because of Shepherd Valley's limited resources, we do require both parents to contribute towards tuition, whether from one or more households. For example, in separated or divorced families, in order for the family to be considered for Tuition Assistance, we require that either a) both parents complete the FACTS paperwork, or b) the single parent provide legal verification of his/her status as sole financial provider.
We make every effort to support families when their income is lower than it could be because one parent stays at home with a young child. However, when all the children in the home are in First through Eighth Grade, the expectation is that both parents make a meaningful contribution to the family’s income. Barring extenuating circumstances, the TA Committee will make a standard income adjustment in cases where there is not a second income in a family with two healthy, capable parents.Applying for Tuition Assistance
Applicants are expected to apply online, at FACTS for the 2012-2013 or 2013-2014 school year. For FACTS instructions, check http://www.shepherdvalley.org/TA_Info.pdf. The following steps are necessary:
The following tool is provided to help parents look at their finances. It is not required, but may be helpful in looking at your budget.
Applicants who have extenuating circumstances that may not be apparent in the FACTS application are encouraged to submit a personal letter to the TA Committee describing their situation. A FACTS application should be completed for each household, as indicated above in the Social Standards.