Financial Aid or Financial Judgment

by NYC Firm Schools on April 24, 2009

Attacking Difficult Questions
Creative Commons License photo credit: CarbonNYC

As some NYC Private and Public Schools have found, Financial Aid applications are one of the most common requests for the upcoming school year. For those of you who feel the pain of filling out the PFS, we have a story that will make you feel downright lucky about the experience.

The Standard Financial Aid Process
For many schools, there is a series of forms requested when applying for FA, including what is commonly known as The Parent’s Financial Statement. Many NYC Firm Schools request that their families apply for financial aid through the School and Student Service for Financial Aid, or SSS, using the Parent’s Financial Statement.

The PFS collects data on your family, income and expenses. You will be asked to answer questions such as family size, total income, savings, investments, debt, medical and dental expenses, as well as any other trusts or educational savings accounts.

Parents universally dread filling out the PFS, but Rachel Hallote, in an article in the New York Jewish Weekly, has a story that makes the PFS look good.

Rachel Hallote details some of the questions asked on a recent Financial Aid form at her child’s day school.

Our day school claims, as most do, that it does not expect families to impoverish themselves to be able to send their children to school. But everyone who applies for financial aid engages in a weighing and balancing act. Applicants are required to not only provide their tax information, but to answer a series of personal questions as well:

Do you take vacations? Where have you gone, and what did it cost?
Have you had work done in your house in the last two years, and if so, what sort of work (i.e. was it essential or non-essential)?
Do you have babysitters? Housekeepers
? Have relatives helped with tuition costs in the past (meaning is it likely that they will again)?

How long and detailed should my supplementary letter be — is it clear that the furnace needed to be replaced because it was broken beyond repair, or should we explain why we had to purchase an expensive model instead of the stock one?

After reading the author’s story and the financial aid questions that allude to a complete judgment of personal financial decisions and choices, the standard FA application may be seen in a whole new light.

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