Tuition and Financial Aid

2018–2019 tuition for all Grades, Pre-K–12: $50,590

Additional Fees

In both middle and upper divisions, students pay for books, supplies, and other expenses related to their courses. Lunch, the yearbook, and student accident insurance are already included in tuition.

Payment Plans

An optional 10-month payment plan is available to all families, regardless of financial aid award.


Financial Aid

We are deeply committed to making a quality education affordable to as many families as possible — in fact, we grant more than $14 million per year in financial aid, among the largest independent school aid programs.

The financial aid application will be available on October 2, 2018. Please go to https://www.solutionsbysss.com/parents/ for important information and resources regarding the financial aid application process.

Click here to apply for financial aid.

All financial aid materials must be submitted by December 15, 2018.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Victoria Daley, assistant director of financial aid, at vdaley@ecfs.org or 718-329-7341.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is financial aid? Financial aid is need-based tuition assistance given to qualified families to offset the cost of an Ethical Culture Fieldston School education. Unlike a student loan, financial aid does not need to be repaid.

Who can apply for financial aid? Families with students in Pre-K through 12th Grade may apply, although financial aid in Pre-K is limited.

Does applying for aid influence the eligibility for acceptance decision? Families are encouraged to apply for aid as early as possible because of limited funds. Financial aid grants are not made until after a student meets the qualifications for admission.

How is financial need determined? A family’s financial need is the difference between the tuition charged and the family’s ability to pay. We use School & Student Services (SSS) to help determine what a family is capable of contributing toward educational expenses. Families complete the SSS application form online. Once the application is processed, SSS provides us 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.

Is my financial information kept confidential? Yes. All information relating to the parents’ financial position will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. This information is used only to arrive at a fair determination of financial need.

Is financial aid automatically renewed each year? 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.

How do I know if I qualify for financial aid? The SSS 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.

Is there a repayment obligation when a family receives financial aid from ECFS? No. There is no obligation to repay financial aid grant money awarded by the school. Loans are distinct from financial aid grants. Any loans parents make with an independent party should be repaid according to the particular loan agreement.

Does Ethical Culture Fieldston School offer merit-based scholarships? No. All financial aid at ECFS is awarded on the basis of demonstrated need.

What percentage of the student body receives financial aid? Currently, 21 percent.

Are the costs of books and lunch included in the tuition? Are any other costs included as well? Lunch is included in our tuition, but books are not. Books are, on average, an additional $750 for middle and upper school students. If you receive financial aid, the same reduction will be applied to the cost of books.

Are there any additional costs? Yes. The school is trying to keep all costs at a minimum, but there are additional costs, especially in the upper school. The tuition and fees listed do not cover such costs as transportation, gym clothes, individual music lessons, required trips, athletic fees, and computers with Internet access.

Do you assign an income for parents who do not work? Yes. The Ethical Culture Fieldston School expects families to look at all of their own resources before requesting financial aid. We will impute a salary to the parent who is not earning income. Families who have children under the age of 5 are exempt from this policy.

Will tuition increase? 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.

What happens if a family who was admitted as a full-tuition family applies for financial aid? Families are asked to apply for financial aid by the December 15 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.

How do you treat divorce decrees in which one parent refuses to pay for independent school education? We expect 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 stepparents. We can appreciate that these are difficult times for families but require that each parent complete and submit an SSS application for financial aid. While the financial aid committee will consider the assets of both natural parents and stepparents in determining an award, we take into consideration the other obligations of that stepparent.

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