Affording CFS

Financial Aid FAQs

List of 16 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. What is financial aid?

    Financial Aid is designated funds the school sets aside each year to make Cambridge Friends School accessible to families who could not otherwise afford tuition. Financial aid is designed to bridge the gap between the cost of a CFS education and a family’s ability to contribute toward it. All families who receive financial assistance must qualify for need-based aid according to the School and Student Service for Financial Aid (SSS) and the CFS Financial Aid Committee.
  • Q. Who can apply for financial aid and how is need determined?

    Anyone can apply for financial aid, and all applicants for aid will be initially evaluated by the Financial Aid Committee. Only those who qualify for assistance and have been accepted by the Admission Committee will be considered for a financial aid grant. We encourage families to apply for financial aid only after they have determined that, after considering all of their family and external resources (grandparents, other relatives, religious institutions, etc.), they will still be unable to pay the full cost of a CFS education.
    Your family’s qualification will be initially calculated by SSS and grants will be determined by the CFS Financial Aid Committee. The Committee uses the SSS Estimate of Parental Contribution and applies its own policies and practices to determine need.
  • Q. How do I apply for financial aid?

    You can apply for financial aid through the School and Student Service (SSS). Parents or guardians complete and submit the Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS) online. Additional documentation must also be submitted to SSS. Please visit our financial aid calendar for details.
  • Q. How many students receive financial aid at CFS?

    About 45% of our student body receives some form of assistance.
  • Q. Will applying for financial aid affect my child’s chances for admission?

    The admission and financial aid processes are separate. After the Admission Committee recommends students for acceptance, those students who have applied for aid are reviewed by the Financial Aid Committee. Only students who are deemed acceptable by the Admission Committee are considered for Financial Aid. In considering financial aid requests, the School is “need aware” and may decide to offer spaces only to those students to whom we can also offer aid. If financial need cannot be met or cannot come close to being met by CFS, we may place your child on an admission wait list. Thus, by applying for financial aid, a child is entering a more competitive segment of our applicant pool.
    We are fortunate to have many outstanding applicants for admission, and the financial need of those accepted for admission exceeds what we can afford to support. While our financial aid budget is significant, we are unable to award aid to all applicants who meet our admission criteria and who qualify for assistance. We encourage families to apply for financial aid only after they have determined that, after considering all of their family and external resources, they will still be unable to pay the full cost of a CFS education.
  • Q. If we are offered aid and decide to enroll at CFS, can we expect the same level of funding for the future?

    Families who receive a financial aid award in their first year at CFS will be asked to apply for aid each year they return. This allows the financial aid committee to determine if you are eligible for a similar aid award, or if it should be adjusted based on changes in family income, or changes to the school's tuition.  If your financial situation does not change, it is likely that you aid award will remain steady throughout your time at CFS. Families are asked to make Cambridge Friends School a financial priority, and as such most families are asked to pay at least part of the tuition increase each year.  
  • Q. If we decide to enroll at CFS without receiving financial aid, can we apply for assistance in future years? OR can a currently enrolled family not receiving aid apply for assistance?

    Yes, however, students who enter CFS without receiving financial assistance should not expect to receive it in future years unless there is significant change in their financial status, in which case, the family may request consideration for assistance by contacting the Admission Office to discuss the circumstances. Generally, CFS will use your ability to pay one year as an indicator that you will be able to pay in subsequent years. If there is a change in family circumstance, we encourage families to talk to us about the possibilities of financial aid, as returning families are our first priority.
  • Q. What particular policies/practices does CFS apply to the SSS calculation? How are financial aid awards and decisions made?

    Priority consideration for financial aid is given in the following order: returning students already receiving assistance, returning students whose family circumstances have significantly changed and are now requesting assistance, and new families. SSS uses calculations based on (but not limited to): household income, assets, debts, age(s) of the parent(s)/guardian(s), the number of dependents, and the number of children in tuition-charging schools.
    • What if I am self-employed or own a business or a farm?
    Questions on the Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS) will pertain to the ownership of your business or farm. We appreciate the most accurate numbers possible by our deadlines if you are self employed and report business income or loss on your 1040 and fill out a Schedule C or C-EZ. If your taxes are complete by our February deadline it helps us make the most informed decision possible. We also accept a draft of the 1040 and all schedules if this is not possible.
    • What if I have children at other schools where I pay tuition?
    SSS computes the total funds available for education (Estimated Parental Contribution) and divides this amount by the number of children attending tuition-charging schools. That number is what SSS deems appropriate per child. It is important to note that CFS may not consider day-care facilities as “tuition-charging.” CFS does not consider graduate students in the calculation. We expect that families will apply for aid at each of the institutions their children attend. Copies of enrollment verification as well as grant awards from other institutions (elementary through college) may be requested and must be sent to SSS.
    • What if I plan to return to graduate school or go into business for myself?
    Parents returning to graduate school, changing jobs, or starting a new business as a personal choice must realize that any decreases in income from this choice will not be subsidized by the financial aid budget at CFS. Choosing to reduce your household income will not make you eligible for an award or eligible for a larger award. In fact, a minimum income may be imputed for parents who do not work or who earn less than $15,000 per year.
    • In a two-parent/guardian household, what if one parent/guardian does not work?
    CFS believes that able-bodied adults in the household can contribute toward the household income. Therefore, CFS may impute a minimum income of $15,000 for each adult in the household. If one parent/guardian does not work because there are children in the household under five years-old, we do not impute an income. If one parent/guardian earns less than $15,000 per year, we impute the total of $15,000 as that parent/guardian’s yearly income. This will change the results of the initial SSS calculation.
    • What if I own additional property? Will this be considered in the application process?
    Yes, income from property (such as rental income), as well as the total value of the property, is considered in the calculation. In addition, the CFS Financial Aid Committee often adds depreciation from property and businesses back into the calculation as income. This will change the results of the initial SSS calculation.
    • My child has a trust set aside for college education. Is that money protected?
    Trust funds and other savings plans, investments, or other assets in a student’s name, held for the student for any reason, or restricted in any way, are taken into account for funding a CFS education. CFS follows the guidelines set by SSS which considers these assets over the number of years the child will be in school, including college. For example, if your child is applying for Pre-Kindergarten and has 18 years left of school and has a fund of $10,000, we would expect that 1/18th (or $556) of the fund could go toward the first year at CFS.
    • Is retirement taken into account in the SSS calculation?
    SSS factors in parent/guardian’s ages, therefore taking into account how close parents/guardians may be to retirement. The calculation will protect more income as parents get older. Pre-tax funds set aside for 401K, 403B, or other similar plans are calculated into non-taxable income and are not “protected.”
  • Q. Do I apply for financial aid each year?

    Yes. It is important that families fill out the Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS) and other required documents on time each year. Funds will not be reserved beyond the initial round of awards for those whose PFS or tax forms are received after the deadlines. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of submitting the required forms on time.
  • Q. How do I know my information is kept confidential?

    All awards are confidential agreements between the recipient family and the School. A family’s application is retained on file for a limited period of time to document possible regulatory auditing, after which the records are destroyed. Financial aid recipients are not publicly identified at the school by the administration or faculty. The Financial Aid Committee considers awards strictly confidential. Families may not discuss financial aid information or disclose award amounts with others. Failure to adhere to this guideline may jeopardize future financial assistance.

    Materials submitted to SSS are highly secure. Please see the SSS website for more information about securely uploading materials. You should blacken social security and/or bank routing numbers when submitting your tax and income information to SSS and/or CFS.
  • Q. Are there other payment options to finance a Cambridge Friends School education?

    Yes. Please view our payment options page for details. SSS also provides a list of other resources about scholarships or loan programs on their website.
  • Q. How are financial aid applications handled in situations where parents are separated, divorced, never married, re-married, or co-habitants?

    In the case of divorced or separated parents, we require all information from both parties. A separate PFS is required for each household, along with the additional required documents. In making grants to families with separated or divorced parents, we will not be governed by the terms of the separation or divorce agreement as to who is responsible for tuition. It is the parents’ responsibility to work out how the parent share is to be divided between them. If one parent refuses to file an application, the application may not be processed. If a parent is unavailable or uncooperative, the school may decide not to require his/her financial information provided a disinterested party (lawyer, clergy, etc.) can verify the relevant circumstances.
    If a parent has remarried or has a partner, we will consider the resources of that adult, bearing in mind the obligation s/he may have to his or her other children. In cases of co-habitation, we need and will include information from all adults in the household. CFS considers the entire household income, whatever the legal status of the family may be. Financial information will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared between divided families. All parties are expected to communicate with each other as necessary and participate in good faith in submitting information.
  • Q. What does financial aid cover?

    Financial aid covers the cost of the day tuition at CFS. Books, sports equipment, and most field trips are included in this tuition cost. Financial aid does not cover the cost of Extended Day Programs or Music and Dance Programs.
  • Q. What does financial aid not cover?

    Financial aid is not offered for our Extended Day Programs, including before or after-school, instrumental music or dance programs.
  • Q. Why do other schools offer different financial packages?

    Each school has different financial aid policies and therefore may re-calculate the initial SSS family contribution based on such policies. Schools may also have differing policies on how much need they can meet.

Financial Aid Calendar

List of 7 items.

  • November 1, 2018

    • The School and Student Services (SSS) opens the 2018-2019 processing year for the 2019-2020 academic year. Parents may start a Parents' Financial Statment (PFS).
    • SSS website is
    • CFS School Code: 2014
    • SSS Customer Service Center phone: 800.344.8328 or email:
  • December 10, 2018

    Financial Aid Information Session offered at CFS at 6:30 pm
  • January 14, 2019

    Financial Aid Information Session offered at CFS at 6:30 pm
  • January 15, 2019

    Personal Financial Statements are due for submission. PFS's submitted after the deadline will be considered in the order they are received.
  • February 1, 2019

    All supporting documents are due to SSS.
    Read More
  • March 8, 2019

    • Financial Aid decisions are released electronically to new students meeting our deadlines. Grant offers must be signed and returned to CFS by April 10, 2019.
  • April 15, 2019

    Read More
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