Financial Assistance FAQs

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much financial assistance is distributed?

For the 2014-15 school year, we allocated over $3.5 million in financial assistance to families with annual household incomes primarily between $13,550 to $183,000. Award grants ranged from $3,370 to $26,890 and averaged $17,244.

Can I find out if I qualify without going through the entire process?

Catlin Gabel’s financial assistance estimator is currently being updated; however, there is a Summary Chart of Reduced Family Contributions available for reference. This can help you understand what current families are contributing to tuition who have been awarded grants for the last five years.
Please consider applying for assistance if you feel that the cost of tuition would be out of reach, even after your family has adjusted its assets and spending habits to appropriately prioritize private school education. Please also see the available payment plans described at the end of this FAQ.

Is financial assistance available for all grades?

Yes, families from Preschool through grade 12 are eligible to apply for and receive need-based financial assistance.

Do I apply for financial assistance at the same time I am applying for admission?

Yes. The admission process and the financial assistance process happen simultaneously. We will deliver financial assistance and decisions to admitted families at the same time so they have time to consider their admission offer and meet enrollment contract deadlines.

Does applying for financial assistance affect admission decisions?

We are very proud that the vast majority of admission offers are made without considering an applicant’s need for financial assistance. Catlin Gabel employs a need-sensitive admission policy, which means that the school initially determines whether an applicant meets the standards for admission without regard to the family's need for financial assistance. However, with a comprehensive yet finite budget, financial need becomes a consideration when offers of admission are made. This process can be compared to how the limited number of available spaces or boy-to-girl ratio in a class also become considerations. Our advice to families in need of financial assistance is to apply to Catlin Gabel with confidence that their admission decision will be based on merit and if admitted, the school is committed to providing an appropriate level of funding to enable their child to attend.

Are grants automatically renewed each year?

No. Families must apply annually for need-based grants. However, as long as a family’s financial profile remains similar from year to year and can be demonstrated through the application process, financial assistance grants will be renewed.

Do grants cover the full cost of tuition?

Every family is expected to contribute to the cost of their child(ren)’s education to the extent they are able. In order to serve the most families, the school endeavors to meet an average of 85% of a family’s demonstrated need.

What if parents are divorced or maintain separate households?

Financial need is determined based on the student’s entire family’s ability to pay tuition; therefore, Catlin Gabel requires both parents and their spouses or domestic partners, if any, to participate in the financial assistance application process. Each household must complete a separate Parent Financial Statement and provide required tax documentation. Exceptions to this policy will be considered only for extraordinary circumstances and on a case-by-case basis. Neither the school nor SSS will share confidential information between households.

Is financial assistance available for expenses beyond tuition?

Yes. So that students may fully experience all that Catlin Gabel offers, financial assistance is available for laptops (Upper School only), textbooks, school trips, bus service, clubs and enrichment programs, outdoor education, and global education. Funds are generally calculated and awarded at the same percentage as tuition assistance.

We do not complete or file our taxes until April 15 or later. How will that affect my application for financial assistance?

SSS must receive the Parent Financial Statement and all tax forms by the dates specified in Apply for Assistance before an application can be considered. If your taxes are not completed by the deadline, you may submit a draft or estimate of your taxes with “draft” clearly noted. The committee will be able to provide a preliminary financial assistance decision that will be finalized upon receipt of your completed taxes. The preliminary award may change if there is a wide variance between the draft and completed taxes.

What if our family is still unable to pay the tuition even after receiving financial assistance?

If you review the financial aid decision and still feel that the tuition is not affordable, you may appeal the decision. Please send your request in writing to Sara Nordhoff, director of admission and financial aid, within 15 days of receiving your award. Appeals must include new information that was not available to the committee during the initial review of your application for financial assistance. The committee will then review the appeal and decide, provided funds remain available, if an adjustment is warranted.
If, after completing the appeals process, you feel that you are still unable to meet the family contribution, please let the admissions office know as soon as possible in which case any deposits paid will be refunded.

What payment plans are available?

Every family pays a deposit of 10% of their net tuition when returning the enrollment contract(s) to Catlin Gabel. There are several ways to pay the remaining tuition contribution. The plans outlined below are available to all families at Catlin Gabel.
  1. Single payment: remaining 90% of tuition due July 1. The 10% deposit will also be applied at that time. A 0.5% discount will be applied to the 90% tuition amount due.
  2. Three payments: 30% of tuition due July 1; 30% due October 1; remaining 30% of tuition due January 1. The 10% deposit will be applied to the final billing.
  3. Ten monthly payments: installments due monthly beginning May 1. The 10% deposit will be applied to the final billing which is due January 1. Families receiving financial assistance are exempt from the 2% service charge for monthly billing.

Contact Mary Ann Rogers in the business office for more information or to set up a special payment plan.

Will my information be kept confidential? Who will see my information?

The committee safeguards the confidentiality of all financial information supplied by families. Documents are closely tracked and locked away daily. The school's IT office ensures that our online and network systems are protected by the latest processes and methodologies avialable. SSS also has security protocols that can be found on their website underInformation Security.

Who should I contact if I have more questions?

Sara Nordhoff, director of admissions and financial aid, or Mary Yacob, financial aid coordinator.
For help with your Parent Financial Statement, please contact the PFS helpline directly at 800-344-8328 or email Their hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.