Tuition Assistance

Students sitting on the ground huddled around the teacher in class

We recognize that investing in your child's education is one of the most significant financial decisions you will make as a family.

It is our goal to help you navigate this process and provide support throughout.

Please review the responses to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) we have provided below, and don't hesitate to reach out at any point with questions: or 208.622.3960, ext. 117.

Tuition Assistance FAQs

Our Tuition Assistance Policy

Sun Valley Community School has a need-based tuition assistance policy. For a school our size, we award a substantial amount of tuition assistance each year. Our admission decisions are made need-blind, without regard to a family's financial situation. We believe no qualified student should be denied enrollment because his or her family cannot afford tuition. It is also important to remember that an independent school education is a choice for families. Both the school and the families make significant financial sacrifices to support this choice. We review each application for tuition assistance by the same guidelines and evaluate individual family needs relative to others in our school.

Should our family apply for tuition assistance?

Few families find it easy to pay private school tuition. Most families adjust their spending priorities, maximize both parents' earnings, and carefully manage assets to do so. We would like to provide firm guidelines to help you decide whether to apply for assistance, but we have found that each family's circumstance is unique. The most helpful guideline comes from your own knowledge of your family's finances. A good rule of thumb is, if in doubt, apply.

How is our family’s financial need determined?

The School and Student Services for Financial Aid (SSS) processes the information you provide on the Parent Financial Statement (PFS) according to their standard methodology to assess the resources your family has available to contribute towards your student’s educational expenses. The result of this evaluation is printed on a Report of Family Contribution (RFC) and sent to Sun Valley Community School. Some factors that SSS takes into account are: income (both taxable and nontaxable), assets (home equity, savings, bonds, etc.), expenses, indebtedness, family size, age of parents/guardians (to allow for retirement savings), and the number of students attending tuition-charging schools.

There can be some variation between the SSS estimation of a family's financial need and what Sun Valley Community School actually awards. While SSS merely keys in the data provided on the PFS, our Business Office Manager reviews and recalculates the family's financial profile based on information gleaned from taxes and other documentation provided by the family. The Tuition Assistance Committee then meets to discuss each family's situation and allocates awards accordingly. Our committee also considers the reality that we live in a high cost area.

Understanding Your SSS Family Report

After your Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS) has been received and processed, you can view your Family Report in the Parents’ Financial Statement Online. The Family Report shows you how SSS estimates the amount your family can contribute to educational expenses (your “Estimated Family Contribution”). Reviewing the Family Report can help you understand the information that schools may reference as they make tuition assistance decisions. Click here to learn how SSS estimates your family contribution.

If our student receives tuition assistance for one year, will we automatically receive assistance each of the following years?

Parents are required to apply for tuition assistance annually because tuition increases and changes in family resources may affect the amount of the awards. As long as your family’s financial situation does not change drastically, you should continue to qualify for a similar level of assistance.

Who will see the information in our tuition assistance application?

Only the members of the school’s Tuition Assistance Committee see this information. We strictly maintain the confidentiality of all financial materials you provide.

How much does it cost to apply for tuition assistance?

The fee to apply online is $51. SSS begins accepting applications on October 2, 2019 for the 2019-20 school year. There are limited fee waivers available if applying for tuition assistance is a strain on your budget. Please contact Julie Siegel in the Business Office.

Is tuition assistance available for Outdoor Program trips?

For students who qualify for tuition assistance, parents may request trip assistance on a case-by-case basis. Parents should submit the trip invoice with a written request for trip assistance to the Business Office. The Tuition Assistance Committee then awards assistance based on availability of funds and the family's demonstrated need. The amount of assistance you may receive for any given trip will not exceed the percentage of assistance you receive.

How many students receive tuition assistance?

For the 2019-20 school year, Sun Valley Community School will provide 37 percent of our students with some form of tuition assistance.

While tuition can be a stretch, financially, our decision to invest in our son's education has been worth every penny. The school could not be more appropriately named—we feel the care and support of this community in Luke's life as he makes his way in the world.


Todd Osborn, Former Parent


1-2-3: Financial Aid Steps

Sun Valley Community School uses School and Student Services (SSS) in combination with our own Financial Aid application to process financial aid applications. Please follow the steps below to ensure you submit all the necessary information to provide a thorough and accurate picture of your family's financial need.

1. Visit the SSS website and complete your Parent Financial Statement. This form about the SSS process provides instructions and information that will be helpful.

2. As part of your SSS application, upload your two most-recent tax returns.

3. Complete the Sun Valley Community School Tuition Assistance Application and upload to the SSS site.

Due Date

  • Current Families: Please submit all materials by January 31, 2020.
  • New Families: Please submit all materials by February 21, 2020.