Financial Aid FAQs

What is the investment of a Dawson education?

The Board of Trustees sets tuition each winter for the next academic year. For the 2014-15 academic year, tuition is: Lower School grades K-2, $17,650; Lower School grades 3-4, $20,650; Middle School, $21,900; Upper School, $22,300.  As part of the Dawson financial aid program, families receive awards toward fees in the same proportion as their tuition grant. In addition, charges for incidental expenses are billed to parents throughout the year.

Tuition is payable through three payment plans: 

100% tuition due on or before June 1

60% tuition due on or before June 1, 40% due November 1 payable by direct deposit.  Please note that tuition refund insurance is required to enroll in this plan.

10-month Payment Plan – June 1 through March 1, payable by direct deposit.  Please note that tuition refund insurance is required to enroll in this plan.

I have no idea if I’ll qualify for financial aid. Should I still apply?

Families have nothing to lose but the time it takes to complete the online application and the nominal application fee required by TADS, so unless you are reasonably sure you will not qualify, you are welcome to apply. If you are unsure about whether to apply, please contact the Admissions Office for further information.

How many Dawson students receive financial aid?

For the 2014-15 academic year, roughly 20% of our students receive some form of financial aid with the average award being $15,000.

How is financial aid determined?

Dawson School subscribes to the National Association of Independent School’s Principles of Good Practice for Financial Aid. The underlying assumption is that parents have an obligation to finance their children’s education to the extent that they are able. Several factors, including family income, assets, liabilities, the size of the family, the age of the parents, provisions for retirement, and extraordinary expenses must be considered when evaluating the family’s financial strength and the ability to contribute to educational expenses. While qualification for financial aid is based on all of the factors described above, the most important component of the needs analysis system is family income. The system seeks to treat all families equitably, taking into consideration differences in certain family circumstances that may be beyond its control. There is a distinction made between family expenditures that are made by choice and those of an obligatory nature.  TADS reports provide a point of departure for the Dawson Financial Aid Committee, which will make all decisions on financial aid amounts. TAD processes applications beginning in October and throughout the school year.  Please keep a copy of all forms in case of future need.

All awards will not be considered final until TADS receives a copy of the IRS Form 1040 (together with all schedules attached to the form), from the parents of the recipient. The Financial Aid Committee will review the tax information and has the right to make adjustments of awards after contacting the parents involved.
We strongly suggest that families submit their financial aid applications as early as possible, recognizing that funds are particularly limited after initial awards have been made.


Does Dawson give merit scholarships?

Dawson School does not offer merit scholarships to students.  All financial aid is need-based.

Will applying for financial aid affect my child’s chances for admission?

No. Admission decisions are made without consideration of the financial circumstances of the applicant. After the Admission Committee has reached its decisions, the Financial Aid Committee makes grants to admitted students who have submitted financial aid applications and have demonstrated need. While Dawson tries to meet the demonstrated need of most newly admitted students, it is possible to be admitted to Dawson but denied financial aid. Such students are offered a place on the financial aid waiting list.

What is the financial aid waiting list?

In a typical year, the number of qualified candidates for financial aid is greater than the amount of financial aid that we have available. As a result, it is possible to be offered admission to Dawson School but be denied financial aid because of a lack of available funds. In these cases, applicants are placed on our financial aid waiting list. We remove applicants from the financial aid waiting list when additional funds become available; it is not unusual for the financial aid waiting list to be active between April and August.

What about divorced or separated parents?

It is the position of the school that divorced or separated parents retain the obligation to contribute to the education of their children. Many divorce settlements stipulate the exact amount each parent must contribute toward educational costs, or which parent is responsible for costs and for how long. We consider such agreements but may also require each parent to contribute as much as our calculations show they can afford, regardless of the terms of a divorce settlement. In some instances this amount is less than the court’s decision; in others it is more.

The Financial Aid Committee will consider the resources of both natural parents, if living, before making an award. If either natural parent remarries, we will take into consideration the obligation of the parent to his or her new family. We will include in the calculations the resources of the step-parent, bearing in mind the obligation of the step parent to his or her natural children. Both natural parents must, therefore, provide the financial aid information by submitting a TADS application.

Do I have to re-apply for aid every year?

Yes. Each student’s need is recalculated annually. Parents are, therefore, required to submit a TADS application and tax forms each year. Unless there is a significant change in demonstrated financial need, a family can expect that grants will be renewed at the original level of funding. Any increase in tuition costs will typically be shared by the family and Dawson. Normally a family can expect that financial aid will be continued throughout the student’s enrollment, provided the financial need is substantiated yearly. Financial aid will not, however, be awarded to families who have delinquent accounts with the school.