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 Financial Aid Policy

Sun Valley Community School has a need-based financial aid policy. For a school our size, we award a substantial amount of financial aid 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 financial aid by the same guidelines and evaluate individual family needs relative to others in our school.

Should our family apply for financial aid (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 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 Financial Aid 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 financial aid for one year, will we automatically receive aid each of the following years?

Parents are required to apply for aid 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 financial aid application?

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

How much does it cost to apply for aid?

The fee to apply online is $49. SSS begins accepting applications on October 2, 2018 for the 2018-19 school year. There are limited fee waivers available if applying for financial aid is a strain on your budget. Please contact Julie Siegel in the Business Office.

Is financial aid available for Outdoor Program trips?

For students who qualify for financial aid, parents may request trip aid on a case-by-case basis. Parents should submit the trip invoice with a written request for trip aid to the Business Office. The Financial Aid Committee then awards aid 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?

In 2017-18 school year, Sun Valley Community School provided 37 percent of our students with some form of tuition assistance.

Upper School Scholarship 2019-20

Sun Valley Community School
9th Grade Full (or Half) Scholarship
(Beginning in the 2019-20 school year)

Sun Valley Community School is committed to offering the highest quality education and one that is accessible to all motivated students. Based on the generosity of an anonymous donor, the school has the opportunity to award either one full tuition scholarship (or two half tuition scholarships) to an incoming 9th grade student for the 2019-20 Academic Year. This scholarship will be renewed each year through his/her Upper School years provided that the student meets the following criteria: 

  • Consistent and solid attendance
  • Strong academic standing with a GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • Record of good citizenship

The scholarship applies to tuition only, and does not apply to the Activity Fee (Outdoor Program trip costs, book billings, and other smaller fees), the Learning Specialist Program, or Summer School.  

Scholarship Qualifications:
The purpose of this generous scholarship is to give one student (or at most two) the opportunity to attend Sun Valley Community School who otherwise may not be able to afford an independent school education. The award will be granted to an applicant based on academic achievement, strength of character, the potential to make a significant positive impact at Sun Valley Community School, and demonstrated financial need. The school seeks students who want to contribute to the school community and enjoy the full Sun Valley Community School experience.

  • Strong candidates for this scholarship will demonstrate:
  • High academic achievement (3.5 GPA or higher)
  • Strong character (empathy, inclusiveness, and courage)
  • Outstanding citizenship
  • Involvement in extracurricular activities outside of the classroom
  • Financial need demonstrated through the Tuition Assistance Process

We expect all scholarship recipients to uphold the characteristics exemplified in Sun Valley Community School’s mission:
Think Critically • Engage Confidently • Embrace Challenges • Lead Impactful, Purposeful Lives

Selection Process:
The Admissions Team will recommend candidates based upon their applications to the school, and the finalist will be selected from a pool of candidates by the Upper School Admissions Committee with approval from the Head of School. The Admissions Team will also reach out to local teachers, counselors, and school officials for recommendations of local students who would be strong candidates and will encourage those families to apply to the school.

Who is Eligible?
Rising ninth grade applicants and new ninth grade applicants to Sun Valley Community School will be considered for this scholarship. Students need to have all application materials in by the February 25th admissions deadline and must qualify for need-based financial aid to be eligible. The recipient will be notified in mid-March when admissions notifications are sent to families.

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, Current 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 Community School Financial Aid Application and upload to the SSS site.

Due Date

  • Current Families: Please submit all materials by January 31, 2019.
  • New Families: Please submit all materials by February 25, 2019.