The Ethical Culture Fieldston School was founded by Felix Adler with the goal of educating working-class children from New York City. Today we have one of the strongest and most comprehensive financial aid programs of any independent school in the country. Currently, 22 percent of our student body receives financial aid awards totaling in excess of $13,000,000.
ECFS’s strategic plan calls for an increase in the endowment for financial aid, establishing the school as a leader in preserving affordability for all admitted families, regardless of economic status. There are many reasons why families choose an independent school for their children, including small class size, rich curriculum, individual attention, and extracurricular opportunities. Elementary and secondary school years are where the foundations and skills for lifelong learning are acquired, and ethical values are gained and nurtured. We are committed to making this education affordable to all academically qualified students who might otherwise not be able to attend.
- What is financial aid?
- Who can apply for financial aid?
- Does applying for aid influence the eligibility for acceptance decision?
- How is financial need determined?
- Is my financial information kept confidential?
- Is financial aid automatically renewed each year?
- How do I know if I qualify for financial aid?
- Is there a repayment obligation when a family receives financial aid from ECFS?
- Does Ethical Culture Fieldston School offer merit-based scholarships?
- What percentage of the student body receives financial aid?
- Are the costs of books and lunch included in the tuition? Are any other costs included as well?
- Are there any additional costs?
- Do you assign an income for parents who do not work?
- Will tuition increase?
- What happens if a family who was admitted as a full-tuition family applies for financial aid?
- How do you treat divorce decrees in which one parent refuses to pay for independent school education?
A family’s financial need is the difference between the tuition charged and the family’s ability to pay. We use Tuition Aid Data Services (TADS) to help determine what a family is capable of contributing toward educational expenses. Families complete the Tuition Aid Data Services (TADS) application form online, or they can mail in a hard copy directly to them for processing. The application form is then forwarded to the Ethical Culture Fieldston School and provides the school with a general recommendation on a family's ability to pay for education. The financial aid office uses the assessment as a guide in allocating financial aid awards. Other factors are also used when determining the financial need of a family, such as the number of children in tuition-charging schools, all sources of income, savings, investments, and assets.
ECFS requires families receiving aid to re-apply each year. Understanding that it is the family’s obligation to make sure all accounts with the school's business office are current, if a family is in arrears and has not made special arrangements with the business office, the financial aid office may not allocate aid for the following year. If your financial status changes, you may be awarded more or less aid in any given year.
The Tuition Aid Data Services (TADS) application process ensures that each family's needs can be measured fairly and equitably. If you believe that your resources are not sufficient to meet the total costs of an ECFS education, you are encouraged to apply for aid. You are always welcome to contact the financial aid office to discuss this process further.
Yes. The ECFS board of trustees meets every January to review the tuition figures for the next academic year. Tuition revenues cover only about 82 percent of the school’s annual operating expenses; the remainder comes principally from annual giving and endowment income. As the school's operating costs increase over time, so does tuition, in an attempt to close the gap.
Families are asked to apply for financial aid by the December 1 deadline. If you did not apply for financial aid during the admission year that your child was admitted to the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, you will not be awarded aid. The only time an exception may be made is in the event of a significant change in your circumstances, such as loss of a job, death of a parent, additional child entering a tuition-charging school, or an illness that prevents a parent from earning income.
Ethical Culture Fieldston School expects that separated or divorced parents will contribute to the cost of their child’s education, regardless of whether or not there is legal obligation for them to do so. In the cases of divorce or separation, ECFS requires information from both natural parents and step-parents. We can appreciate that these are difficult times for families but require that each parent complete and submit a Tuition Aid Data Services (TADS) application. While the financial aid committee will consider the assets of both natural parents and step-parents in determining an award, we take into consideration the other obligations of that step-parent.