Anytime we receive questions, they are very typically something all schools would want to know. Here are a few have been asked in recent weeks:
QUESTION: Do you know what a school's tuition rate is when figuring out what a family can pay toward their tuition, or do you use a formula for that?
ANSWER: We do not interact with a school's tuition amount. Our system is designed to assess the financial situation of the parents, and the remaining income they should have available at the end of each month is then sent through a formula that determines a percentage of remaining income that should be reasonably available for tuition payments. This is typically around 40-60% of their remaining income.
QUESTION: Is the FACT Report indicating the amount a family can pay for one child or all their enrolled children?
ANSWER: The FACT Report indicates the amount the family can reasonably be asked to pay toward a monthly tuition bill for ALL their children enrolled in ALL private K-12 schools. If they have one child in your school and one child in another private school, the FACT Report would be the amount they could pay for both children combined, not just to your school.
QUESTION: In the information on the FACT Report, I see that expenses are broken down into 12 categories. Is there any thought taken into account for expenses that do not fit into one of those categories? For example, expenses that come with purchasing a home and the needed repairs, fixes that are needed when purchasing a home, etc, or are those expenses calculated into the mortgage/rent category? Additionally what about gas expenses for vehicles or auto repairs?
ANSWER: Since our aim is to “even the playing field” for all applicants, it is nearly impossible, and potentially ill-advised, to include options for expenses that are not necessarily typical for all our applicants. For this reason, we have the current listed expenses narrowed down to what we deem necessary and common to almost all applicants. Since we only consider a portion of income to be available to pay for tuition, some of these other expenses that families may incur should be covered by the rest of their income.
In January, parents may ask if they should submit their 2018 taxes since they have not yet completed their 2019 taxes? Additionally, they may wonder if they need to resubmit their 2018 again (assuming they have not completed taxes for 2019) when applying for aid for the upcoming school year. In both of these instances the answer is "yes." We do not keep copies of tax returns from year to year, and are unable to append a tax return from one application year to another. Once again, this is a part of the process to treat every applicant in the exact same manner. If a parent applies for aid for 2020-21 and submits their 2018 taxes, you may request that as soon as they complete their 2019 taxes they send those to us, as well. Please let me know if you have any questions about this process, or if there is any confusion.
It is not unusual for us to receive one of those salmon colored slips in our post office box with the dreaded words, "Postage Due." When parents mail us documents they must make sure that the affixed postage is sufficient to cover the cost of the mailing. While this might seem obvious, what likely is happening is an assumption on their part that a "Forever Stamp" will cover the cost. This is one very typical reason that processing can be delayed. In most instances, the due amount is minimal and we will pay for it. However, items are returned if the due amount exceeds $1.00. As always, the quickest method of sending documents to us is by email or fax.
This actually happens more often than you might think it would. A parent wonders why their application has not been processed or if the school has made a decision yet on their financial aid award. When you check the status of their application if shows, "awaiting verification." This typically happens because we are still awaiting one of more requested documents.
DELAYS CAUSED BY MAILING DOCUMENTS
OTHER POTENTIAL REASONS FOR DELAY
If you have parents asking questions, you can possibly help them. Access your admin portal and then select "View Fact Reports > View Reports > (select proper year All Reports) > find the applicant name, then "View Requested Items" from the drop down options. A list will pop up indicating the requested items. If an item is unchecked, we have either not received it or have yet to add it to their file. Reminder: If an icon next to the family name is green, their application has been processed, and verified.
If you or the parent have concerns regarding the timeliness of the processing, never hesitate to contact us so we figure out what might be holding up the process.
How often have you had a family approach you and ask, "do you think I will qualify for aid?" What has been your response? We recommend that you tell the family that they should apply for aid and let the CFS process help make that determination. However, if you feel that you must provide a basic response, here is one simple rule of thumb that you may find helpful:
If your school is like most schools, you give away a lot of money in financial aid - mostly to families with multiple children enrolled, families who are employed at the school, or to pastor's families. All families wanting to apply for aid should be reminded that tuition aid will be awarded only to those who have demonstrated an actual need.
As a reminder: Once CFS vets a family's finances, the school has the sole discretion on who receives aid and the amount they will receive. Awards should never be granted by one person but a committee of 3 or more. School's should always have a written and published financial aid policy for families to read. If you would like a sample policy statement, please contact us.