List of 21 frequently asked questions.

  • Should I apply for financial aid or not?

    First, consider the true cost of an independent school education. Tuition in 2013-14 is $24,800 for DK-5 and $28,350 for 6-8. This means roughly $30,000-32,000 including trips lunches, transportation, and other costs.

    Calculate your ability to cover these costs. If you cannot cover expenses out of income and judicious use of assets, consider your other options: If you are counting on gifts from relatives, it is important to discuss with them whether or not they can maintain that help over the course of your child’s career at The Willows. Loans can be difficult to obtain in the current economic climate and drawing heavily on equity is risky.

    If you need financial aid, now is the time to apply. This is critical.
  • It would be tough for us to afford The Willows Community School.  Should I use up savings and/or borrow to make things work without aid for a year or two and then request aid if I cannot?

    The school strongly discourages this approach. When a family submits a “full-pay” application to the school, this communicates that the family will be capable of covering all educational costs for the upcoming year and the foreseeable future. The School budgets in reliance upon this and commits its limited financial aid funds to other families.

    Although the School maintains modest emergency funds for families that request aid subsequent to admission, those funds are strictly reserved for families that encounter dramatic, unforeseeable financial reversals after The Willows Community School matriculation. (Modest aid may also be available for families whose income growth has not kept pace with that of tuition and other school expenses.)

    No funds are available for families with pre-existing needs not disclosed at the time of admission. Such undisclosed need may thus lead to student withdrawal and should be avoided at all costs.
  • Does applying for financial aid reduce chances of admission?

    The Admission Committee reviews candidates for admission without knowing whether or not they are applying for aid. This is therefore called a “need-blind” meeting. The Financial Aid Committee then meets to consider those who have been rated highly by the full committee, accepting as many compelling candidates into the class as possible. We again consider those candidates on the basis of qualities, but also try to spread our grants across a wide spectrum of families with different levels of need. While there is a sizeable aid budget, in the end there is a finite amount of aid available. Because financial aid students must also be selected in this second round, the reality is that it is more difficult to be admitted with financial aid.
  • What expenses are covered by financial aid at The Willows Community School?

    In addition to the financial aid, The Willows Community School financial aid package automatically includes partial coverage of most of the necessary expenses that your child will incur at the school equal to the percent of financial aid awarded. This includes student fees, school trips and t-shirts.
  • Does The Willows offer fee waivers for SSS?

    No, SSS has implemented a new automated and equitable approach to fee waivers that simplifies the process for schools while reaching more families than ever before.

    SSS uses the income and asset information in the PFS financial aid application itself to assess the family situation and automatically applies a waiver if the family qualifies. Qualifying families simply bypass all payment screens when their PFS is complete. To be waiver-eligible, the family must meet all of the following criteria:

    • The parents' total assets must be less than $25,000
    • The family must qualify for the federal free lunch program
    • Parents must be US or US territory residents (i.e., international families are not eligible)
    • Neither parent owns or shares ownership in a business or farm

    If you have any other questions, please go to FAQ for Parents
  • Do I need to reapply for aid each year?

    Yes. We will ask you to file a new PFS and submit your tax declarations each year. The school will continue to award a level of aid appropriate for your level of demonstrated need until your child graduates.
  • What if parents are divorced or separated?

    We consider that both parents have an obligation to contribute to the extent they can to their children’s educational expenses. We take into account the assets and income of both natural parents. We cannot be bound by the assertion that one parent has disclaimed legally or otherwise any responsibility for educational expenses. If either parent has remarried we will consider the income of the stepparent, keeping in mind the obligation of that stepparent to his or her natural children. If either parent lives in a household with another adult, we may consider the assets and income of that person, depending on circumstances. In view of this, both natural parents and their current spouses need to fill out a separate PFS form.
  • Are there exceptions to the above policy?

    Requests to consider extenuating circumstances (such as a missing parent or one who has not provided support and has not been in contact with the family for a lengthy period) should be explained in writing in a letter to the Financial Aid Office.
  • I already have a full-pay child at the school, but do not have the resources to pay for a younger sibling. What do I do?

     You must apply for aid at the time the younger sibling applies for admission. The financial aid application must be for both children, and if the younger child is admitted and you qualify for aid, both children will receive financial aid.
  • What if I have children at other tuition-charging schools?

    Other K-12tuitions you pay are figured into our calculations of need, but in order to receive aid from us you must apply for aid at all schools your children attend. You should note that college tuition money is regarded as investment rather than educational expense, in that it rapidly pays for itself in higher income levels. With this in mind, both parents and students frequently take out federally subsidized loans, in addition to the direct aid that is available at the college level.
  • When would I be notified of my award?

    Admission decisions will be sent out in March. Financial aid awards will be announced at that time.
  • Are there payment plans available?

    The school has a plan that allows financial aid families to spread the cost over ten payments at no additional charge.
  • Who may apply for financial assistance?

    Anyone may apply for assistance. Financial assistance is based solely on demonstrated need. Applying for assistance, however, does not guarantee a grant will be offered.
  • How is “demonstrated need” determined?

    Need is determined by The Willows Community School Financial Assistance Committee, which uses tax returns, confidential statements, and the School and Student Service (SSS) for Financial Aid as a tool to help in the decision making process.
  • How and when do I apply for financial assistance?

    Upon completion of The Willows student application portion requesting financial assistance please visit the Forms and Due Dates webpage under the Financial Assistance area in the Admissions section of our website. There you will find instructions and due dates for the various forms needed, as well as links to those forms.
  • Will applying for financial assistance affect my child’s chances for admission?

    No. It is important to note that applying for financial assistance has no bearing upon the admission committee’s assessment and decision. Decisions regarding admission to the school and eligibility for financial assistance are made independently of one another.
  • How confidential is the financial assistance application process?

    All applications for financial assistance are held in strict confidence.
  • How will our family be notified of our financial assistance award?

    You will be notified of the financial awards in a letter to be included in the enrollment contract packet. This letter will advise you of your deposit and fees due along with the signed enrollment contract. These amounts will be different than the required fees stated in the enrollment contract.
  • Does our family have to repay the financial award?

    No. Financial assistance is an outright award used to offset the cost of tuition at The Willows Community School.
  • Does our family have any other options?

    Families may also choose to utilize outside financial plans such as Key Education Resources - Achiever Loan Program. This low interest loan plan offers credit-worthy families a flexible repayment term up to 15 years to pay for 1 to 4 years of education. Please contact the business office to receive information regarding this program.
  • What do I do if I have additional questions?

    Contact the Business Office at (310) 815-0411 or email financialaid@thewillows.org.  We will do our best to help.

More Questions?

For questions or more information regarding financial assistance, please contact:

The Business Office
Gladys Trejo

Business Office Phone:
(310) 815-0411 Ext. 1301


The Willows  |  A DK-8 independent school serving greater Los Angeles.
8509 HIGUERA STREET
CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA 90232
PHONE 310 815 0411 FAX 310 815 0425