Student Aid Information
As a NEW family to Waldron Mercy Academy, how do we apply for financial aid?
As a CURRENT Waldron Mercy Academy family, how do we apply for financial aid?
There are two steps which must be completed by the stated deadline in order to be considered for financial aid. Even if you have applied for aid in the past, you must reapply each year.
What if my federal tax return information is not available when I file my SSS application?
If you have not yet completed your federal tax return when you file your SSS application, then you should estimate the information on your PFS. As soon as your tax return is available, upload or mail it to SSS in order to complete your application. Your award does not become official and cannot be applied to your student billing account until your tax return is verified against your SSS application.
Do current families receive preference with regard to financial aid awards?
Yes, the school gives preference to current families when determining financial aid awards, including returning families who have not applied for aid in the past.
As a new family to Waldron Mercy Academy, what factors may impact an award?
For new families, several factors may impact the school’s ability to offer an award including demonstrated financial need, availability of funding, and the number of families who have applied for assistance. Waldron Mercy does give priority to new students in our upper grades.
Who makes financial aid award decisions and how is confidentiality safeguarded?
All award decisions are made by Waldron Mercy’s Financial Aid Committee. Faculty and other administrators have no involvement in the financial aid process. All records are stored securely for use only by the committee. The school expects parents to be equally respectful of privacy and to refrain from discussing financial aid matters with anyone but a member of the committee.
What criteria are used in awarding financial aid?
Financial aid is awarded, based on a family’s demonstrated need, to students with proven ability and respect for Waldron Mercy’s mission and values. The Financial Aid Committee determines eligibility based upon its evaluation of the PFS and review of the family’s current federal income tax documents. In evaluating this information, the Financial Aid Committee considers the number, ages and schools of children, as well as additional dependents, assets, and all sources of income. Other considerations include debts, expenses, and spending priorities. Waldron Mercy recognizes that families bear the primary responsibility for financing their child’s education and expects a family to exhaust all available resources before requesting aid from the school.
How does the SSS program calculate my family’s ability to pay?
In calculating your family’s estimated contribution or ability to pay, the SSS formula considers your total household income, what you own (your house and other investments), what you owe (your mortgage and other debts), the size of your family, and how many members of your family attend tuition-charging schools or colleges. After making allowances for basic necessities, taxes, and certain other expenses, SSS calculates what portion of your remaining discretionary income is available to pay school costs. This number is given to the school as a recommendation on ability to pay. However, final determination always comes from the school, not SSS.
Once my family has received a financial aid award, what level of assistance can we expect to receive in future years?
Historically, what is the level of assistance that Waldron Mercy Academy has been able to offer?
If my family receives an award, then when will I be notified?
The Financial Aid Committee meets throughout the month of April to review all financial aid applications. Families whose applications are complete will be notified by mail by April 30 of the amount awarded, if any, and they have two weeks to accept the award by signing and returning a copy of the award letter to the school. Your award does not become official and cannot be credited to your student billing account until your tax documents are verified against your SSS application. There is a formal review process for families who wish to request additional funding, which requires a written appeal and a second meeting of the Financial Aid Committee. We cannot guarantee that funds will be available for applicants whose files are not complete by the stated deadline.
What if one parent does not work outside of the home?
Waldron Mercy has the right to impute an income for a non-working parent who does not have young children at home or other burdens necessitating a parent to be at home. This policy attempts to adjust the level of need by accounting for the minimum income that the parent could earn if he or she chose to return to work.
If parents are divorced, separated, were never married or have remarried, then who must complete a PFS?
We require both natural parents and/or legal guardians to complete a PFS and submit federal income tax documents. If the child resides with a step-parent, then we require an additional PFS from the step-parent unless parent and step-parent are filing taxes together and both are included on the PFS. Waldron Mercy is not bound by any decrees, agreements or legal documents excusing a parent from financial responsibility for his or her child’s education. If a natural parent is no longer involved in the life of the student applicant, you should make note of this on your PFS.
Can financial aid be canceled during the school year once it is awarded?
Yes. If a family’s financial obligations fall in arrears, or if a student is asked to leave the school for academic or disciplinary reasons, then the financial aid award can be canceled. All families are required to adhere to the tuition payment policies that have been approved by our board of trustees.
If we apply and qualify for financial aid, then are we guaranteed an award?
No. Applying for financial aid does not guarantee that you will be eligible for financial aid, nor does being eligible guarantee that there will be financial aid available. In some instances, a student may be offered less than they qualify for in aid. The amount of aid offered depends not only on your family’s financial circumstances, but also on the availability of funds and the number of families who have applied for assistance. We do give preference to currently enrolled students and to new students in our upper grades.
Waldron Mercy Academy strives to be financially available to all families interested in providing a quality Mercy education for their children. Our financial aid program provides monetary assistance for families who demonstrate financial need. Need is defined as the difference between educational expenses and the family’s ability to pay those expenses.
There is no specific income level at which a family is no longer eligible for aid. Eligibility is based on many factors, so you may want to consider applying for financial aid if you feel you cannot pay all of the costs yourself. Waldron Mercy recognizes that families bear the primary responsibility for financing their child’s education and expects a family to exhaust all available resources before requesting aid from the school.
WMA uses School and Student Services (“SSS”), a service of the National Association of Independent Schools (“NAIS”), to process financial aid applications. Based on the financial information you provide in your application, SSS calculates an estimate of the amount your family can contribute toward educational expenses. This enables us to make fair and objective financial aid decisions.
Whom should I contact if I have further questions or concerns?
For more information, please feel free to contact Mark Murray, director of finance and operations, or call him at 610-664-9847, ext. 115.
Complete the Parents’ Financial Statement (“PFS”) online through SSS any time between November 1 and March 31 for the following school year.
Submit a copy of your most recent federal tax return to SSS by April 15, including all W2s and supporting schedules (These documents are for the tax year prior to the school year for which you are applying).