The deadline for completing the financial aid application for the 2024—2025 academic year, including relevant supplemental documents, is December 15, 2023. 

Introducing Clarity

In an effort to provide our community with the most up-to-date, streamlined, and time-saving financial aid application process, the Ethical Culture Fieldston School (ECFS) will transition to Clarity as our third-party processor for financial aid applications. We are eager to begin utilizing this new system. If you have questions or comments, please contact Victoria Daley at [email protected]

To get started, please visit the Clarity website and create an account before starting an application. The application typically takes less than 30 minutes to complete. The Clarity application is also mobile-friendly so you may complete it from anywhere. You are also able to save your progress and return at any time. At the end of the application, there is a $60 fee to submit, and you can share your application with additional schools that accept the Clarity application for no additional charge. Simply use the dropdown menu in the application to select those schools. 

After completing and submitting your Clarity application, please remember to return to the dashboard, as ECFS requires you to upload a copy of your current pay statement.

If you need assistance during the application process, Clarity provides in-app support available through the “Help” button on the bottom left of the screen, as well as email and phone support at [email protected] or 206-210-3752 in both English and Spanish. The application itself is also available in Spanish.

Please refer to the links below for additional helpful information:


2024–2025 tuition for all grades, Pre-K–12th: $65,540

Additional fees

In both Fieldston Middle and Fieldston Upper, 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.

Group of ECFS students gather on Upper Field during Homecoming posing with the Fieldston Eagle mascot.

Financial aid

At ECFS, we believe in providing children with access to the finest possible progressive and ethical education — one that enlarges their humanity, informs their sense of personal agency, and empowers them to leverage intellect, imagination, creativity, and moral will to serve the common good.

Understanding that virtue is a habit and not a state of being, we endeavor to help our students find the meaning and purpose in what they love to do and in what they must do — as both are essential to fulfillment and to the difference between making a living and making a life.

Like our Founder Felix Adler, who first named our School the Workingman’s School, we also embrace equity and inclusion. We aim for our student body to reflect the demographics of our city — culturally, economically, racially, and geographically — which is why we attract students from 138 zip codes across metropolitan New York and commit over 17 million dollars annually to financial assistance, granting awards to one in five students ranging from $5,000-$60,000 dollars. We celebrate diversity in its many forms as essential to educational excellence.

Our goal is to make an ECFS education affordable to as many families as possible and to ensure that the process of allocating funds is fair and equitable.

Please click here for important information and resources regarding the financial aid application process (for a Spanish version, click here). You do not need to include 2022 1040s and W2s. They will be automatically pulled from the IRS if you indicate that you file United States taxes. However, you will need to upload a copy of a current pay statement. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Victoria Daley, Director of Financial Aid, at [email protected] or 718-329-7341.

Ethical Culture Fieldston School Middle School students work together to build a wind powered experiment

Frequently asked questions

What is financial aid?

Financial aid is need-based tuition assistance given to qualified families to offset the cost of an ECFS 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 Clarity to help determine what a family is capable of contributing toward educational expenses. Families complete the Clarity application form online. Once the application is processed, Clarity 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 Clarity 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 ECFS 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, 22%.

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 Fieldston Middle and Fieldston Upper 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 at Fieldston Upper. 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. ECFS 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 85% 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 ECFS 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 a 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 a Clarity 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.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Victoria Daley, Director of Financial Aid, at [email protected] or 718-329-7341.

Fieldston Lower students practice writing letters with their language specialist.