Frequently Asked Questions
- What is financial aid?
- How are financial aid awards determined?
- Will the grade that my child is applying affect a financial aid decision?
- What about cases of divorce, separation, single parents and step-parents or live-in partners?
- What about stay at home parents?
- What if I own more than one property?
- How do I apply for financial aid?
- What are Named Scholarships?
- Do you have merit Scholarships?
- What is the deadline for the financial aid application, Named Scholarship application and Merit Scholarship application?
- Will our financial aid change from year to year?
- When will we be notified if we receive financial aid/or a merit scholarship?
- Are there outside scholarships?
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 31% 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.
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.
At Nichols, we do our best to accommodate all requests for financial aid. However, due to a limited budget, most financial aid awards are granted at the 5th and 9th grade entry points. Because returning students are prioritized when allocating awards, new candidates applying at other grade levels, who are eligible for assistance, may be placed in a wait pool until funding becomes available.
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.
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.
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 16.
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.
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.
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.
For more information and/or to apply online, visit https://oisheischolarship.smapply.io/prog/oishei_high_school_scholarship_/
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