Tuition and Additional Costs

Tuition Assistance Process, FAQs

Can't make it to the Open House? Contact us to schedule a tour.
Tours of campus take place during the academic day from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Call or email to arrange your visit.


Dawson has a robust Tuition Assistance program that creates opportunities for students from various economic backgrounds to experience the value of a Dawson education. The Tuition Assistance program is need-based. Dawson does not offer merit or athletic scholarships. 

Dawson partners with TADS - - in the tuition assistance process. Families apply for assistance directly through the TADS website. After completing the TADS audit, Dawson’s Tuition Assistance Committee reviews all applications. A family’s financial need is based on TADS computations, applicable documentation, and the Tuition Assistance Committee’s guidelines. 

The Tuition Assistance application process is separate from the admissions process, and the need for assistance is not a factor in the admissions review and decision. However, prospective Dawson families are encouraged to contact Scott Schneider, Director of Tuition Assistance, to discuss an interest in the Tuition Assistance program. 

Families may begin the tuition assistance application process online with TADS at as early as November. Most applications are completed by the end of January once all relevant documents have been uploaded and audited by TADS. 

The TADS application will request relevant financial documents such as Tax Returns, W2s, 1099s, pay stubs, and other relevant financial records. Therefore, it is advantageous for families to file income taxes as soon as possible after receiving annual W2s.

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


Tuition Assistance FAQs

List of 11 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. 

    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. 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 tuition assistance waiting list. We remove applicants from the tuition assistance waiting list if additional funds become available.
  • 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. What is Dawson's philosophy with regard to tuition assistance?

    Dawson School is committed to providing 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 the tuition assistance program is to give 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, separated, or non-married 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. 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.

  • Q. How many Dawson students receive tuition assistance?

    Typically, nearly 20% of Dawson students receive some measure of tuition assistance.