Friends School of Minnesota is committed to an economically diverse student body. We provide financial support to families who need it to help send their children to the school. As a Quaker school, we will always be an independent, tuition- based institution, but we work hard to ensure that tuition is not a barrier to attending FSM. The school expects families to finance their children’s education to the extent that they can. All of our families do extraordinary things to make FSM a priority in their lives.
Families who cannot afford full tuition fill out a financial statement each year with an outside service (School & Student Services of the National Association of Independent Schools). Every family’s financial picture is different so we use the standardized and complex SSS formula to help determine need. SSS takes into account many factors, including a family’s size, income, expenses, assets, debts, and special circumstances. You can learn more about SSS and this process at http://sss.nais.org.
The FSM Tuition Aid Committee considers each application carefully and works to make aid awards that are fair and in balance with the greater community. Returning families’ need is met first. Then we turn to new admissions, working to balance the socioeconomic diversity of each class as best as we can. Requests always exceed our budget, but we have been able to meet the school’s goal of providing assistance to nearly a third of our students.
In recent years, we have also been able to provide additional contingency aid to currently enrolled families experiencing unexpected, temporary changes such as job loss. Many of our families have struggled with the downturn of the economy, and the school has worked to help our them continue to afford FSM.
We have been fortunate to have continuing strong enrollment, low attrition, and robust contributions and fundraisers, all of which make it possible for our tuition aid budget to meeting the needs of our families. Our wonderful Plant Sale provides an amount equivalent to about half of the tuition aid budget each year. For a small school, we give an extraordinary amount of tuition aid.
About 20% (over $500,000) of our gross tuition is devoted to tuition aid and that money currently supports over a third of our student body. The average aid award this last year (2015-16) was $9,573 or around 60% of a student’s tuition. Unlike many smaller independent schools, we are able to provide grants of up to 90% of tuition. This greatly increases the socioeconomic diversity of our student body.
If you have any questions about tuition aid at Friends School of Minnesota, the tuition aid committee members (Shane Zack, Susan Nagel, Melanie Spewock, Garth Morrisette) would be pleased to talk with you. We are very proud of the school’s continuing commitment to keeping FSM financially accessible!
Here is a pdf of the PowerPoint notes about tuition aid at FSM. (1.5 MB)