Tuition, Costs, Tuition Assistance

Financial Aid Process, FAQs

Dawson Admissions would love to hear from you.

Call:  303-665-6679
Fax:  303-381-0415
The process of applying for tuition assistance is done online through TADS –  Dawson School determines a family’s need for tuition assistance based on TADS computations, applicable tax returns, and the Tuition Assistance Committee’s guidelines. Computations at TADS are based on financial estimations for the upcoming year so your most recent tax forms are not necessary to complete the application.

Dawson is proud to allocate over $1.3 million in need-based assistance each year to new and returning families.  However, due to limited funds, tuition assistance is not guaranteed to all qualified applicants.

In order to ensure that the Tuition Assistance Committee can allocate tuition assistance in a timely manner, we ask that you follow the timeline below:

October 19

Families may begin tuition assistance application process online with TADS at
Fill out the Parent Tuition Assistance Application

January 1 - Spring

When the tuition assistance process opens in October, TADS will ask families to fill out a financial statement for the tax year.  Because the financial data that families provide is based on estimates, you do not need tax forms to submit.  Upon receipt of all W-2’s, file your income taxes as soon as possible.  Once taxes are filed, you will send all tax documents to TADS, not Dawson. Dawson does not accept hard copies of families’ income taxes.

Once a family’s application is completed by TADS and all forms have been submitted and audited, the Dawson Tuition Assistance Committee reviews and allocates awards. 

Dawson begins processing and allocating new tuition assistance applications in February and will allocate tuition assistance until the budget is exhausted.  As such, available funds decrease over time.

* In the event that financial forms and/or information are missing, families will be contacted by TADS no more than three times.  If after three times information is not obtained your application will be considered incomplete by the Tuition Assistance Committee.

Financial Aid FAQs

List of 12 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. How is tuition assistance 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 tuition assistance 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 Tuition Assistance Committee, which will make all decisions on tuition assistance 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 Tuition Assistance 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 tuition assistance applications as early as possible, recognizing that funds are particularly limited after initial awards have been made.
  • Q. Does Dawson give merit scholarships?

    Dawson School does not offer merit scholarships to students.  All tuition assistance is need-based.
  • Q. Will applying for tuition assistance 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 Tuition Assistance Committee makes grants to admitted students who have submitted tuition assistance 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 tuition assistance. Such students are offered a place on the tuition assistance waiting list.
  • Q. I have no idea if I’ll qualify for tuition assistance. 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.
  • Q. How many Dawson students receive tuition assistance?

    For the 2015-16 academic year, 17% of our students received some form of tuition assistance with the average award being $14,500.
  • Q. What is the investment of a Dawson education?

    The Board of Trustees sets tuition each winter for the next academic year. For the 2016-17 academic year, tuition is: Lower School grades K-2, $18,450; Lower School grades 3-4, $21,950; Middle School, $23,350; Upper School, $23,950.  As part of the Dawson tuition assistance 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.
  • Q. What is the tuition assistance waiting list?

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

    Dawson School is committed to providing over $1.3 million of need-based tuition assistance each year to new and returning families.  We understand that a Dawson education is a significant investment, and the mission behind financial aid to give all families, regardless of their ability to pay, the opportunity to attend.  Because the money allocated to families is not a loan, we do not ask for repayment. 

    The tuition assistance program at Dawson School is guided by the belief that parents have an obligation to pay the educational expenses of their children to the extent that they are able.  A tuition assistance budget exists to fill the gap between the actual cost of tuition and what a family can realistically be expected to pay toward this cost. The methodology used to determine the parental contribution considers many factors, including, but not limited to, assets, liabilities, age of parents and children, family size, and the number of students in tuition-charging schools.
  • Q. What is Dawson's policy on aid confidentiality?

    Dawson School understands that tuition assistance is a sensitive issue for families and the School.  As such, Dawson adheres to strict guidelines safeguarding awards, families’ income taxes, and relative information.  The expectation is that families who receive a tuition assistance award will do the same and keep all information private – by not doing so, families run the risk of losing their award.
  • Q. 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 Tuition Assistance 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 tuition assistance information by submitting a TADS application.
  • Q. Why do I have to re-apply for assistance every year?

    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 tuition assistance will be continued throughout the student’s enrollment, provided the financial need is substantiated yearly. Tuition assistance will not, however, be awarded to families who have delinquent accounts with the school.
  • Q. What is Dawson's methodology in determining awarding tuition assistance?

    Dawson School and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) work within defined principles of good practice.  In these principles, independent schools are given latitude as to what guidelines inform and determine tuition assistance decisions. There are specific tuition assistance guidelines that Dawson has established in order to keep family contributions equitable and consistent. Dawson’s guidelines consist of the following:

    To qualify and receive tuition assistance, both parents must be employed—unless it is not medically possible, there are extenuating circumstances, or if the parent(s) has/have a child under the age of six. If a parent chooses not to work, the School will impute an income for that individual.

    Business owners are required to complete all necessary forms required by TADS. Please note that TADS will ask for all supporting tax information, as these forms are part of the tuition assistance process.

    In the case of tuition assistance, the matter of divorce or separation of parents is a difficult one. Dawson will consider the assets and obligations of both natural parents, if living, before making any award. If either parent has remarried, Dawson will consider also the assets and obligations of the step-parent, always bearing in mind the obligation of that step-parent to his or her own natural children. In view of this policy, it is necessary for both biological parents and their current spouses, if any, to fill out a separate TADS tuition assistance form, and it is the responsibility of the custodial parent to ask the non-custodial parent to fill out this form.