Mission Statement

Catlin Gabel is committed to making its education affordable and encourages families to apply for admission regardless of financial circumstances. Although families bear the primary responsibility for financing their child's education to the extent that they are able, the school provides need-based assistance to help bridge the gap between a family's resources and a child's total educational experience.


Financial assistance is distributed as grants which do not have to be repaid to Catlin Gabel. Grants are based on a family's demonstrated need as calculated by School and Student Services (SSS), a division of National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Parents complete the online Parent Financial Statement (PFS). Then SSS produces a Report of Family Contribution, estimating the amount a family can contribute toward the cost of their child(ren)'s tuition. The SSS methodology considers many aspects of a family's financial situation including the incomes of both parents (taxable and non-taxable), assets held by the family, number of dependents, age of both parents, and the number of children attending tuition-charging schools. Allowances are made for living expenses, retirement, taxes, medical costs, unusual expenses, debts, and a modest standard of living.

Catlin Gabel reviews the Report of Family Contribution and, if necessary, makes adjustments upon review of final tax documents, consideration of special circumstances, and other professional judgement guidelines chosen by the school. We then calculate and allocate grants as the difference between the total tuition amount and the expected family contribution (EFC). Our financial assistance budget is finite, therefor our goal is to meet at least 85% to 90% of demonstrated need in order to serve as many families as possible.

For example:

Tuition $25,000
Less SSS EFC -$15,000 (per child)
Demonstrated need $10,000 (per child)
Assistance grant $8,500 (85% of $10,000 need)
Family contribution $16,500 payment plans available, see FAQ

Allocation of Grants

A financial assistance committee appointed by the head of school decides and finalizes all grant decisions. This committee prioritizes the allocation of grants as follows:

  1. First to students currently enrolled with financial assistance. This is to provide families in the program assurance that funds will be available for them each year as long as they continue to qualify or until their child(ren) graduate or withdraw. Extraordinary changes in income, family status, or the number of children in tuition-charging institutions may increase or decrease grants from year to year.
  2. If funds remain, the committee then reviews current students who have newly applied for assistance due to hardship or qualifying change in circumstances (see examples below).
  3. Finally new incoming families are given consideration for financial assistance. New students entering ninth grade who qualify may also apply for the Palma Scholars Program, which is administered separately and is merit-based. A student is eligible to receive both need-based assistance and the Palma Scholarship.
Familes are expected to fully disclose all assets and income each year so that any significant increases or decreases in a family's ability to pay can be reevaluated annually by the financial assistance committee. This allows our limited funds to be allocated where the need is the greatest. The committee endeavors to keep each family's level of assistance as consistent as possible and notify families of pending changes.

Families are expected to continue paying the same level of tuition for the duration of enrollment. New applications for or increases in financial assistance in subsequent years will be considered if there is a qualifying change in circumstances. Limited assistance may be available for families facing a temporary unexpected financial hardship. Families who feel they are able to afford only the first year or two of a Catlin Gabel education should review their financial situation with the Director of Admission & Financial Assistance prior to enrolling.

Examples of a qualifying change of circumstances include but are not limited to:

  • Enrolling additional children at Catlin Gabel or another tuition-charging school or institution. The School will consider outside daycare/school programs for a younger sibling only if it allows both parents to work. The school will also consider up to four years of undergraduate school for an older sibling.
  • Change in family size.
  • Parent becoming disabled.

Examples of a temporary financial hardship include but are not limited to:

  • Loss or reduction of employment.
  • Extraordinary medical expenses to injury or illness.
  • Caring for sick/aging grandparents who need financial or other assistance. Family must show payments to nursing care, hospital/doctor bills, and/or reduced work capacity.

Employment Requirements

Catlin Gabel expects both parents to earn income beginning when all children in the household reach first grade. At this point, if one parent chooses not to work or decides to return to school, an annual income based on a 40-hour work week at the current Oregon minimum wage will be applied to the application. Exceptions are made in the case of disability, for which documentation must be provided, as well as sudden or unexpected job loss where the parent is actively seeking employment. We evaluate other unique situations individually.

Divorced Parents or Separate Households

Financial need is determined based on the student's entire family's ability to pay tuition; therefore, Catlin Gabel required both parents and their spouses or domestic partners, if any, to participate in the financial assistance application process. Each household must complete a separate PFS 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.

Additional Resources