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When it comes to education, independent schools have their own advantages: better student-to-teacher ratio, smaller class sizes, and curriculums designed to develop leadership skills and independence. But sometimes the cost of tuition can be out of reach for families seeking to afford the best education for their children. Enter the Pay What You Can model.
Elite institutions across the country are implementing new forms of financial aid that tailor tuition to a level that a family can afford, to ensure that a household income is not an obstacle between bright students and elite education. These models can be known as Pay What You Can, Flexible Tuition or Indexed Tuition.
Under these models, institutions will review a family’s financial information, abilities, needs, and circumstances using reports from third party companies like School and Student Services (SSS). Based on the report, they will determine the tuition cost. Sometimes that can be as low as 10%, or lower in some cases, depending on the family’s circumstances.
To help families calculate tuition costs, some schools offer fill-out forms on their websites. Miss Hall’s School, a selective independent school for girls in grades 9–12 located in Pittsfield, MA, for examples uses a “tuition calculator” feature that can provide an estimate** based on the student type, assets, household income, number of enrolled students, and family size. The figure is broken down per month and yearly.
Note: Tuition cost might fall above or below the estimated figure, pending completion of the SSS financial survey and submission of supporting documents.
We have compiled a list of independent schools that use similar tuition models. For specific information regarding tuition costs and estimations, we have linked the school’s financial aid page, along with their contact information.
Miss Hall’s School: Website
Located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, Miss Hall’s School is an independent, college preparatory, boarding and day school for girls in grades 9–12.492
Holmes Road Pittsfield, MA 01201 | Phone: 413-443-6401 | [email protected]
Manlius Pebble Hill School: Website
The Manlius Pebble Hill School is a non-sectarian, coeducational, independent, pre-K through 12 school in DeWitt, New York. It is one of 5,000 independent schools in the United States accredited by NYSAIS and a member of NAIS.
5300 Jamesville Road Syracuse, NY 13214 | 315.446.2452 | Contact
The Harley School: Website
Founded in 1917, The Harley School is a private, independent school in Rochester, NY offering a college preparatory program for approximately 500 students in Nursery through Grade 12.
1981 Clover Street Rochester, NY 14618 | (585) 442-1770 | [email protected]
Nichols School: Website
Nichols School is a nationally recognized coed college preparatory school for grades 5-12. Founded in 1892, Nichols is located in Buffalo, N.Y., and non-denominational, with over 550 students from across Western New York and Southern Ontario, as well as several international students.
1250 Amherst Street, Buffalo New York 14216 United States | (716) 332-6300 | Contact
The Albany Academies: Website
The Albany Academies-Albany Academy for Girls & The Albany Academy are Preschool to Grade 12 independent college-preparatory single-gender schools located in Albany, NY.
The Albany Academy – 135 Academy Road, Albany, NY 12208 | 518.429.2300 | Contact
The Albany Academy For Girls – 140 Academy Road, Albany, NY 12208 | 518.429.2300
Millbrook School is a coeducational boarding school which offers its 310 students in grades 9-12 a rigorous college preparatory curriculum that integrates academics, service, athletics, arts, and leadership.
The Dalton School: Website
The Dalton School, originally the Children’s University School, is a private, coeducational college preparatory school in New York City and a member of both the Ivy Preparatory School League and the New York Interschool. The school is located in four buildings within the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
(K-3) 53 East 91st Street, New York, NY 10128 | (4-12) 108 East 89th Street, New York, NY | 10128 212.423.5200 | [email protected]
Riverdale Country School: Website
Riverdale Country School is a co-educational, independent, college-preparatory day school in New York City serving pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. It is located on two campuses covering more than 27 acres in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York. | Contact
Lower School – 1 Spaulding Lane Bronx, NY 10471 | 718.549.7780
Middle & Upper School – 5250 Fieldston Road Bronx, NY 10471 | 718.549.8810
The Spence School: Website
The Spence School, a private all-girls school located on the Upper East Side of New York City, offers a rigorous liberal arts study for diverse students in Grades K-12.
Middle & Upper School – 22 East 91st Street New York, NY 10128 | 212-289-5940 | Contact
Lower School – 56 East 93rd Street New York, NY 10128