How do we apply?

Families are to contact the Head of School to receive additional paperwork and instruction for applying for Financial Assistance. All applicants and applications are strictly confidential. Upon receiving this paperwork families will be instructed to apply online through FAST (Financial Aid for Student Tuition) operated by Independent School Management. New families must have already had a tour and interview for their students before being considered eligible to apply for Financial Assistance. The online application is not complete until FAST receives copies of the most recent tax year’s W-2 statements and completed income tax return.

How is financial need determined?

Financial need is defined most simply as the difference between Charlotte Academy’s tuition and what a family can reasonable contribute. To be consistent, objective, and equitable, Charlotte Academy, like many independent schools, relies on a needs analysis provided by the Financial Aid for Student Tuition (FAST) program operated by Independent School Management. FAST takes many factors into account when estimating a family’s financial contribution. The most significant of these is family income, but others include: Assets (investments, home equity, automobile, etc.), Family size, number of children attending tuition charging institutions, current debt (credit cards, mortgages, other loans, etc.). After an allowance for basic living expenses and taxes, the remaining funds are considered discretionary income, a portion of which is available for education. Recognizing that other factors not evaluated by FAST may influence the amount of discretionary income available for education, we require that additional information be submitted directly to FAST as part of the financial assistance application. Therefore, Charlotte Academy’s calculated parental contribution may differ from the FAST calculation. For example, Charlotte Academy will add a full-time income for a parent able but not currently working, and will disallow losses attributable to second homes, investment properties, hobby businesses, and certain types of depreciation. Charlotte Academy may also allow certain expenses that are disallowed in the FAST calculation. We recognize that numbers on paper are not always an accurate financial picture. If you believe that is the case, we encourage you to include that information in the open letter section of the application.

Should we apply for Financial Assistance?

Few families find it easy to pay independent school tuition. Most adjust their spending priorities, maximize parent earnings, and carefully manage assets to do so. There is no specific income level at which a family does or does not qualify for Financial Assistance. Though we would like to provide firm guidelines to help you decide whether or not to apply for assistance, each family’s combination of circumstances is unique. The most helpful guideline comes from your own knowledge of your family’s finances. A guideline is, if in doubt, apply. Charlotte Academy does not guarantee awards in any amount to any family.

What will my family contribution be?

Given the many variables that effect an award decision, it is impossible to accurately predict a family’s contribution based solely on family income. Charlotte Academy strives to help as many families as possible, while maintaining its fiduciary responsibility to all families.

Will support continue in future years?

If difficult circumstances do not change, it is likely financial assistance will awarded from year to year. Priority for Financial Assistance goes to returning students who currently receive assistance. However, each year we do ask all families receiving assistance to reapply because a family’s circumstances can change.

If we pay full tuition initially, can we apply for Financial Assistance in subsequent years?

The expectation is that families paying full tuition will continue to do so in future years. Unless there has been a significant, unanticipated change in your family’s circumstances, it is unlikely that your application will be considered.

What about separated, divorced, or never-married parents?

Charlotte Academy considers the income and assets of any adult who plays a significant role in a student’s life. All adults (mothers, fathers, step parents, guardians, etc.) are required to submit all forms to FAST.

Will my application for Financial Assistance affect child’s chances for admission?

No. Charlotte Academy maintains a need-blind admissions policy; that is, students are admitted on the basis of individual merit, not on the basis of ability to pay.

Are any other sources of Financial Assistance available?

Charlotte Academy encourages families meeting lower family income levels to apply for the state corporate tax credit scholarship program called Step-Up for Students*.  Visit www.stepupforstudents.org to learn more, or inquire at Charlotte Academy.

Charlotte Academy also accepts McKay Scholarships*. The John M. McKay Scholarship Program allows parents of students with disabilities to choose the best learning environment for their children. The parent of a Florida public school student who is dissatisfied with the student’s progress may request a McKay Scholarship to enroll in and attend a private school or choose another public school that better suits the student’s needs. The scholarship is equal to the amount of state generated funding the student would have received or the cost of the private schools tuition and fees, whichever is less. If parents choose to enroll their child in a private school, McKay funds will be mailed directly to the private school four times a year. The parents will then endorse the payment over to the private school. The McKay Program puts the power back into the parent’s hands. Visit www.mckayscholarship.com to learn more, or inquire at Charlotte Academy.

*All prospective new students must follow the Charlotte Academy Admission Procedure. Qualifying for a scholarship does not guarantee admission. Parents/Guardians are responsible for determining their student’s eligibility and applying for scholarships.