At Oakland Hebrew Day School, we appreciate the long-term investment that parents make in choosing to give their children the gift of a Jewish education. We know that each family is doing everything possible to make a meaningful contribution towards tuition and appreciate that families often make significant sacrifices to do so.
OHDS is committed to an excellent creative, integrated dual Jewish and General studies curriculum with a focus on 21st century learning, community building and Jewish values (middot). We are also committed to the diversity of our community along multiple dimensions, including socio-economic diversity. We want every family to be able to offer their child the gift of an exemplary Jewish day school education.
For these reasons, we have our Flexible Tuition Program. Flexible Tuition allows families to apply for a tuition that meets their individual financial needs. Over the next few pages, we have highlighted parents’ most frequently asked questions.
HOW TO APPLY FOR FLEXIBLE TUITION
Step 1: Submit your family’s Personal Financial Statement (PF S) online with Student and School Services/National Association of Independent Schools. Go to www.sssbynais.org to submit the Personal Financial Statement (PFS) form. Be sure to enter the OHDS code 5505. You will be given a password. Save the password so you can access your PFS if you need to complete it at a later time. Your personal information will be safely managed with a high level of security. (To read more about SSS’s document security, go to sss.nais.org).
Step 2: Submit 2014 Tax Forms to OHDS Business Office. Copies of your 2014 tax forms (1040 and W-2), as well as a signed IRS Form 4506T are required and must be submitted to Oakland Hebrew Day School upon completion of the SSS application. Consideration cannot be given until both are received. We also require your 2015 tax form as soon as it has been filed.
What is Flexible Tuition?
Flexible Tuition is a program that helps to ensure access to a Jewish Day School education for all and to help ensure continued socio-economic diversity of the school’s student body. The Flexible Tuition Program allows families to apply for reduced tuition, in contrast to applying for a “grant” or “award.”
While every family is expected to contribute to the cost of tuition and fees and to support the community to the extent individual family circumstances allow, the school does not expect all families to pay tuition at the same level.
How is Flexible Tuition Different from Financial Aid?
The Flexible Tuition model has a different approach to Financial Aid. Rather than focusing on a tuition grant or aid, the focus is on: What level of tuition can my family afford to pay?
We are determined to keep the school accessible to families from a wide range of economic backgrounds, and as such we have decided it makes strategic sense to offer a wide range of tuition level options.
How Does the Flexible Tuition Program Work?
OHDS uses a neutral, third party entity as a starting point to calculate the Flexible Tuition Program level. That organization is the School and Student Services (SSS), a service of the National Association of Independent Schools that is used by more than 2,400 K-12 schools and organizations across the country to help assess a family’s ability to pay for independent education and to help families feel confident that their request for assistance is being evaluated objectively and professionally.
How Can a Family Know if They Are Elgible for the Flexible Tuition Program?
Every family may apply for Flexible Tuition. Families must apply through the School and Student Services (SSS)/National Association of Independent Schools and complete the Parent Financial Statement (PFS) to determine if they are eligible for flexible tuition and at what level. A wide range of families will qualify with widely varying circumstances. Families with similar incomes may have different financial needs due to differences in financial circumstances other than income.
The formula used to calculate the tuition level considers many factors that affect a family’s ability to pay, including: income, assets, family size, cost of living, unusual expenses, number of independent school or college tuitions currently being supported, and other discretionary costs.
We are happy to work with you to determine a level of tuition that meets your family’s needs. In order for the school to determine the level of tuition for which a family qualifies, it is imperative that the entire Parent Financial Statement (PFS) application is completed online at www.nais.org/financialaid/sss and submitted to SSS beginning in January each year. Each family’s financial situation is considered thoroughly and confidentially on an individual basis to ensure attention to special circumstances.
How is Flexible Tuition Handled in Situations Where Parents are Separated, Divorced, Remarried or Cohabitants?
In the case of parents/guardians who do not live together (e.g. divorced, separated, never married), each parent/guardian household must submit a PFS along with all prior year tax returns to be considered for Flexible Tuition. It is expected that both parents and all adults financially responsible for a student contribute to the cost of a student’s education regardless of legal agreements. OHDS determines ability to pay by factoring in all available resources from both parents and stepparents, regardless of custody or other legal issues. Families who are not able to submit all required documentation should contact us to determine if they can be considered for Flexible Tuition.
Who Determines a Family’s Flexible Tuition Level and How is it Calculated?
The School and Student Services (SSS) of the NAIS first determines a family’s tuition level. Then the Flexible Tuition Committee (which has no board or parent members to preserve confidentiality) looks at the data provided by the SSS on a name-blind, case- by-case basis and further refines the Flexible Tuition level for the family based on all available data.
Who Has Access to My Financial Information?
The school is committed to protecting the privacy of its families. All financial information received by the school is held in the strictest confidence. Only the Flexible Tuition Committee has access to a family’s application materials. Once a Flexible Tuition level is determined, the Business Office is made aware of the tuition for that family.
Does Every ODHS Family Need to Apply For Flexible Tuition?
All families are invited to submit financial information to determine the tuition level for which they are eligible. Families who elect not to submit financial forms will pay the higher tuition rate.
The upper tuition limit is:
Lower School (K-5): $24,076
Middle School (6-8): $25,110
How Can the School Afford to Offer Flexible Tuition?
We are able to offer Flexible Tuition as a result of income generated by fundraising, the school’s investments (reserves, endowment, and Scholarship Fund), and operating income.
What is the Flexible Tuition Timeline?
All flexible tuition applications for new families applying to OHDS should be submitted no later than January 22, 2016. All required documents, including Federal tax returns, should be included with the submitted application.
It is important that the Flexible Tuition Committee has all information on which to base its allocation decisions. Adhering to all deadline dates is essential. Failure to provide tax information may result in the Committee’s inability to determine or recommend a reduced tuition. Flexible Tuition will not be awarded unless we have received all required paperwork and tax returns. Flexible Tuition applications received after the deadline will be processed only after all on-time applications. Reduced tuition may not be available for late applicants. For students newly accepted to OHDS, tuition levels will be indicated on the enrollment agreements sent on March 11, 2016. For currently enrolled families, Flexible Tuition application options will be indicated on students’ re-enrollment contracts, which are mailed in January.
What if My Flexible Tuition is Higher Than I Believe I Can Afford?
You may request a review of your application by writing to the OHDS Flexible Tuition Committee. Every effort will be made to understand and incorporate a family’s particular circumstance. Keep in mind, while we have a significant amount of reduced tuition contemplated in our annual budget, the amount is not unlimited. As a consequence OHDS must prioritize and allocate these funds. Where possible, the School will assist families seeking additional financial support by directing them to other outside resources and agencies.
Does Flexible Tuition Continue Throughout A Student’s Year at OHDS?
OHDS asks families to resubmit financial information each year so that tuition levels can be adjusted as needed based on changing circumstances.
Who Handles Questions Regarding Flexible Tuition?
Questions about Flexible Tuition should be addressed to the Business Manager: email@example.com or 510-531-8600 ext. 14. If you have any questions about completing the PFS form, please contact SSS directly at 1-800-344-8328.