Frequently Asked Questions

What is financial aid?

Financial aid is a grant that bridges the gap between the demonstrated need of a family and the tuition and fees required to enroll at Nichols School. Approximately 30% of our families receive assistance through our financial aid program. The School expects parents, both custodial and non-custodial, to make every effort possible to meet the cost of their child’s education. Parents should request financial assistance only after they have pursued other options.

How are financial aid awards determined?

All awards are granted on the basis of demonstrated need. To determine need, we have enlisted the help of the School and Student Service program by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). NAIS's SSS does not decide whether financial assistance will be given or how much to give. Rather, SSS provides a need-based financial aid analysis service. SSS provides the School with a report based on your submission of income and expenses. The report will include a recommendation of what a family should reasonably contribute toward tuition. The difference between this amount and a student's anticipated tuition and fees is the amount of demonstrated need. We do our best to meet 80% to 100% of the need established.

What factors are considered when determining need?

Major factors in determining financial need include, but are not limited to, income, assets (including home equity, college funds and investments), family size, and the number of children attending tuition-charging schools.

What about cases of divorce, separation, single parents and step-parents or live-in partners?

All households responsible for the child are expected to contribute to the child's education. It is up to all parties involved to communicate and participate in good faith toward these responsibilities. Each household must complete a SSS application, and the partner's income must be reported. Verification documents from all parties (Federal and State taxes and W2s or any other proof of income) must also be submitted to SSS for the application to be considered complete. While we do not hold a stepparent (or live-in partner) directly responsible for tuition, we recognize that this additional income contributes to running the household. Since a determination of need considers the entire financial picture, this information is necessary.

My child has a trust or savings account set aside for college education. Is this money considered?

Trust funds and other savings plans can be considered a piece of what your family can be expected to contribute. However, we look at your long term educational obligations when reviewing your application and consider all reasonable savings efforts.

What about stay at home parents?

In the interest of equity, if one parent elects to stay at home and not seek employment, the Committee may impute a basic income of based on minimum wage for the non-working parent. (An exception may be made if the parent is at home caring for a non-school age child or an elderly parent.)

What if I own more than one property?

The net home equity on a second home or investment real estate (e.g. rental property) should be reported as an asset on the SSS form.

  • Generally, rental property is reported as an investment asset, not a business asset. To qualify as a business asset, the rental property would have to be a part of a formal business that provides additional services. Rental property and the income or loss of income derived from this venture will be considered in the need-based formula.
  • Other additional property e.g. vacation home, will need to be addressed on a case-by-case basis during a preliminary review of the application. In most cases, families who own a second property of this nature will not qualify for financial aid when using a need based formula.

How do I apply for financial aid?

If you wish to be considered for financial aid, you must apply online at www.sssbynais.org/parents after October. 1. Once you have completed your online application, you must upload your verification documents to SSS directly. Verification documents include any proof of income, i.e. tax returns, W2s, business forms. All financial aid applications for returning families must be completed, including submission of tax returns, by December 1 each year. New families must submit their applications by December 15.

Does Nichols offer merit or athletic scholarships?

No. All financial aid is based on need as determined by the financial aid application and committee review.

What are Named Scholarships?

Nichols is fortunate that alumni, parents and foundations have donated funds to support our financial aid program. Many of these funds are categorized as Named Scholarships. Students who are designated Named Scholars are chosen because of their demonstrated need, intellectual pursuits and potential. For a complete list of named scholarships please click here.

What is the deadline for financial aid and any Named Scholarships?

The deadline is December 15.

Do you offer aid to all applicants who qualify?

Unfortunately, we often have more students who qualify for aid than we can accommodate. In determining who should be granted aid, we must consider the School’s overall enrollment goals.

What is the Financial Aid Wait Pool?

Financial aid funds are limited. Applicants whose needs cannot be met will be placed in a wait pool. If funds become available at a later time, they will be granted to applicants who qualify. The Financial Aid Committee will decide on grants as funds become available.

Can applying for aid affect my child's admissions decision?

No. We have a need-blind admissions policy. Members of the Admissions Committee are not aware of a candidate’s financial status.

Will our financial aid change from year to year?

Families of students receiving financial aid must reapply every year. All financial aid awards are reviewed annually to ensure that recipients contribute positively to the life of the School and require financial assistance. If there is little change in a family’s circumstances, one can expect that grants will be renewed at similar levels. When there are dramatic changes in a family’s financial situation, we will do all that we can to make it possible for the child to receive the financial assistance needed to continue at Nichols. At the same time, we expect a family in this situation to make other adjustments to their family expenditures, in addition to seeking financial aid, to help cover the costs of private education. Likewise, when a family’s financial situation improves greatly, the annual grant will be adjusted to reflect the positive gain.

What payment plans are available for those seeking financial aid?

Nichols offers three payment plans for all families; however, families who receive financial assistance must participate in the direct debit program. This plan automatically deducts tuition payments from your bank account to Nichols School.

Can I pay tuition by credit card?

No. We do not accept credit cards for tuition payments.

When will we be notified if we receive financial aid?

Admission and financial aid decision letters are mailed together the third week of January.

How does Nichols School maintain the confidentiality of financial aid applicants and recipients?

The Admission Committee is unaware of applicants’ financial aid status. Only members of the Financial Aid Committee have any knowledge of a student’s financial status.

Are there outside scholarships?

OUTSIDE SCHOLARSHIPS

BISON Scholarship

The BISON Scholarship Fund is a privately funded program outside of Nichols School that offers tuition assistance to low income families applying to private grammar schools. It is now available to eight counties in Western New York.

For more information and/or to apply online, visit www.bisonfund.com/apply.html

Oishei Foundation Scholarship

Established by the Oishei Foundation, the Oishei Scholarship Program assits Buffalo area students of color who desire to obtain an education at a private high school. This four-year full tuition scholarship is awarded to one incoming freshman, based up on consideration of need, merit and potential for success.

Please check later for a link to the 2018 Oishei Scholarship application.

Cullen Foundation Scholarship

The Cullen Foundation believes that access to high quality education is critical for an individual and a community's success. To this end, we are providing an opportunity to a select group of high-performing students entering grades 5 and 9 to attend a private school in the BISON Scholarship Fund or Education Collaborative of WNY networks. Cullen Scholars also participate in Buffalo Prep, which offers students arts-integrated, academic enrichment experiences throughout the year.

Our program provides access to private schools with preference given to students of color. We offer this opportunity to high-achieving students while increasing the diversity of expreience for all private school students. Cullen Scholars will be selected based on academic achievement, financial need and character. Please visit the Cullen Foundation website for more information about the scholarship: http://www.thecullenfoundation.org/scholars

Contact Admissions

716.332.6325

admissions@nicholsschool.org

Fast facts
Average Class Size: 14
Student/Teacher Ratio: 8:1
Acres: 30
Founded: 1892
Average Enrollment: 570
Boy/Girl Ratio: 50% / 50%
Endowment: $25 million
AP Classes: 20


UPCOMING EVENTS

October

  • Sunday, October 1: All-School Open House, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 19: Middle School See Us in Action, 8-10 a.m.
  • Saturday, October 21: Admissions Test, 9-11:30 a.m.
  • Friday, October 27: Upper School See Us in Action, 7:45-9:45 a.m.

November

  • Thursday, November 9th - Upper School See Us In Action, 7:45 - 9:45 a.m.
  • Friday, November 10th - Admissions Test and Financial Aid Workshop, 9:00 - 11:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, November 14th - Middle School See Us In Action, 8:00 - 10:00 a.m.
  • Saturday, November 18th - Young Scholars' Workshop, 9:00 - 11:30 a.m.