Signature Programs

Tuition Assistance

Tuition Assistance

Tuition AssistanceWestmark School's Board of Trustees is committed to providing need-based tuition assistance. We use the online service of FAST (Financial Aid for School Tuition) to process applications. FAST is the standard submission format for all tuition assistance applications.


Applications for tuition assistance should be completed by January 15 of the current school year. In addition, your current tax returns must be sent to FAST on or before March 30. Families wishing to apply after January 15 should contact Steve Taylor in the Business Office.

Policies

PoliciesThe purpose of Westmark School’s tuition assistance program is to support and welcome a diverse group of qualified students from various socio-economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds who would otherwise be unable to attend Westmark.

All students currently enrolled as well as all new students to the school are welcome to apply. Our Tuition Assistance Committee awards aid based on each family’s demonstrated need. To assist the committee in reviewing financial need, every family must complete an application with FAST (Financial Aid for School Tuition). FAST is an independent resource service which makes recommendations on what each family may be able to contribute toward their child’s educational expenses based on the information evaluated.

Our program supports families across a wide range of incomes, with the amount of tuition assistance dependent on financial need. The school understands there are expenses beyond tuition for your child’s education. Therefore, the school will consider requests for assistance with supplemental expenses such as transportation, field trips, and other incidentals.

Westmark believes the primary responsibility of funding a student’s education lies with the family. This would include both natural parents regardless of any living, custodial, or support arrangements. Therefore, both parents, if living, must submit a complete tuition assistance application in order for a student to be considered for tuition assistance. Westmark will waive the information requirement from a non-custodial parent provided one of the following circumstances is met:

Documented information is provided that states the location of the non-custodial parent is unknown;

Or, documented information is provided that the non-custodial parent has given no support AND has had no contact with the family for at least two years.

For clarification, documentation will be accepted from a doctor, lawyer, minister, or any such person outside the immediate family.

All tuition assistance information will be kept strictly confidential.

A Tuition Assistance Committee has been established to review tuition assistance applications and determine award amounts. In all cases the decision of the committee will be final.

A request for tuition assistance will not influence the decision on whether to accept a student. Admission and tuition assistance decisions are done separately and no decision on tuition assistance will be made until a student has been accepted to Westmark.

Standards of Best Practices

Standards of Best Practices
Westmark School’s Tuition Assistance Policy is administered and guided by the National Association of Independent School’s (NAIS) Standards of Good Practice.

1. The school adheres to local, state, and federal laws and regulations that require non-discriminatory practice in the administration of its tuition assistance policies.

2. The school operates within the context of both short and long-range tuition assistance budget and policy goals.

3. The school uses objective research to measure the effectiveness of its progress towards its goals, and communicates the outcomes as appropriate.

4. The school provides outreach, education, and guidance to students and families on all aspects of its tuition assistance process and options.

5. The school determines eligibility for admission without regard to a student’s application for tuition assistance.

6. To the extent of its allocated budget, the school commits to providing tuition assistance dollars to applicants who demonstrate their family resources are insufficient to meet all or part of the total educational cost of a Westmark School education.

7. Although all families are required to reapply each year, the school continues to provide support to students as long as financial need is demonstrated.

8. The school maintains the same standards of behavior and academic performance for recipients of tuition assistance as it does for non-recipients.

9. The school enacts documented procedures that ensure a fair, consistent, and equitable assessment of each family’s ability to contribute toward educational expenses.

10. The school makes and communicates tuition assistance decisions in a manner that allows families to make careful and fully informed enrollment decisions.

11. The school establishes administrative and accounting procedures that distinguish Westmark’s need-based tuition assistance program from other types of student loan companies and scholarships.

12. The school safeguards the confidentiality of tuition assistance applications, records, and decisions.

13. The school shall refrain from and discourage others from making any public announcement of the amount of tuition assistance awarded to a student.

14. The school supports collaboration between the tuition assistance office and other offices within the school in administering and developing policies and procedures.

Procedures & Administration

Procedures & Administration The Tuition Assistance Committee is responsible for establishing the school’s tuition assistance procedures and determining awards each year. Tuition Assistance procedures are regularly reviewed to ensure validity of policies and that they are in line with the school’s mission and philosophy. All meetings, correspondence, and records will be kept strictly confidential.

The Director of Finance and Operations is the chair of the Tuition Assistance Committee and is responsible for:

  • Overseeing the tuition assistance budget
  • Maintaining records and files
  • Corresponding and meeting with families
  • Preparing reports
  • Recommending policy and procedure changes
  • Tuition Assistance Application Process

Each December the school will announce it is taking tuition assistance applications along with the application deadline for requesting tuition assistance. This announcement will be posted on our web site and communicated to parents via the school’s current communication methods. Families interested in applying for tuition assistance should begin the process by clicking on the FAST link.

Tuition Assistance Appeal Process

As stated, all decisions are final. Families who are denied tuition assistance, or who receive an award they question, may address their concerns in writing to the Chair of the Tuition Assistance Committee. Once received, a response will be provided within two weeks.

Guidelines

GuidelinesWestmark relies primarily on the “Estimated Family Contribution for Student” as calculated by FAST in addition to any supplemental information provided by each family. However, Westmark recognizes that each family’s situation is unique and the recommended contribution as suggested by FAST provides the Tuition Assistance committee a base line starting point in determining each family’s financial need. Financial need will be determined after reviewing a family’s entire financial situation taking into account FAST’s recommendation as well as information gathered during the tuition assistance process.

There are a variety of circumstances which affect a family’s ability to contribute to their child’s education. To maintain a fair and equal distribution of tuition assistance funds, Westmark will adhere to the following guidelines in reviewing a family’s request for tuition assistance.

Divorced or Separated Parents

Westmark believes that both parents should share in the cost of their child’s education and requires BOTH parents to submit financial information REGARDLESS of any divorce or custody agreements. Parents who have remarried must include their spouse’s financial information when applying for tuition assistance. In cases of extraordinary circumstances, the school may, at its sole discretion, waive this requirement.

Non-Working Parents

In line with our philosophy of parent responsibility for tuition, Westmark expects both parents to contribute financially toward their child’s education. However, the school also recognizes extenuating circumstances may preclude both parents from working. Based on each family’s individual situation, should a parent choose not to work the school reserves the right to impute a yearly salary for any non-working parent after the youngest child reaches first grade. The salary imputed will be equal to the yearly salary of a minimum wage job.

College Fund and Student Assets

Westmark will take into account any college fund or student assets when determining financial need.

Parent Starting a New Business

If the primary reason for assistance is due to the start up of a new business, the school may consider providing some type of assistance for up to two years. Thereafter, a yearly salary will be imputed based on the minimum wage.

Parent Returning to School

If a parent has chosen to continue his/her education, Westmark may provide some type of assistance to the family for a limited period of time. Consideration of the type of schooling the parent is utilizing (weekends, nights, or via the internet) will be factored into Westmark’s decision. A yearly salary based on a full time minimum wage job may be imputed by the school.

Legal Guardianships

The school will look first at the assets of the student, but may require the legal guardian to submit a tuition assistance application.

Tax Returns

Tax returns, along with, confirmation of filing, must be submitted to FAST in order for your application to be considered. FAST will notify of the tax return year they require.

Calculation of Parental Assets

The following items will be taken into account when determining a family’s financial need:

  • Home equity
  • Family trusts
  • Other assets
  • Assistance from relatives and friends
  • Pension and retirement contributions and accounts
  • Discretionary spending

FAST

For more information regarding tuition assistance, visit the FAST website.

Steve Taylor
Director of Finance and Operations

(818) 986-5045 ext. 324
staylor@westmarkschool.org

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