Tuition Assistance FAQs

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Tuition Assistance

What types of tuition assistance does Bear Creek offer?

Direct Grant - A grant is an award from the school that does not need to be repaid. It is the most common form of tuition assistance.

How is tuition assistance determined?

The Bear Creek School's tuition assistance program is administered following the guidelines of the School & Student Services (SSS) by National Association of Independent School's (NAIS). SSS is a national financial aid reviewing organization for independent schools. Tuition assistance is awarded based upon availability of The Bear Creek School funds. The Bear Creek School does not receive federal money and relies on fundraising efforts to increase available dollars for tuition assistance. All tuition assistance awards are confidentially and discreetly administered by The Bear Creek School tuition assistance committee.

We use the Parents' Financial Statement designed by the School and Student Service for Financial Aid (SSS) to help us determine a family's contribution to educational expenses. Parents complete the online financial aid application by logging in to the Family Portal on the School & Student Services by NAIS website.

The Tuition Assistance Committee at Bear Creek uses the standardized calculation derived by the SSS as an initial guide in allocating assistance. This system considers gross taxable and non-taxable income, assets, liabilities, family size and the number of students in tuition-charging schools or colleges. After an allowance for basic necessities and required taxes, the remaining funds are considered available for education on a sliding scale by SSS. In addition to SSS calculations, The Bear Creek School applies a cost of living adjustment.

Should I apply for assistance?

Although Bear Creek works to keep tuition at a reasonable level, most families adjust their spending priorities, maximize both parents' earnings, and carefully manage assets to afford tuition. Although we would like to provide guidelines to help parents decide whether to apply for assistance, we have found that each family's circumstance is unique. The most helpful guideline comes from a parent's own knowledge of their family's finances.

Will I receive the same tuition assistance next year?

A family must reapply for tuition assistance each academic year. If the family's financial circumstances remain the same, the school will make every effort to provide assistance at the same level of aid as the previous year. All tuition and fees must be current to be considered for the upcoming year's tuition assistance.

How do I begin the process?

Complete the online financial aid application by logging in to the Family Portal on the School & Student Services by NAIS website. Our school code is 1165.

What forms must we complete?

An award of tuition assistance is dependent upon timely cooperation from the family to provide all required information. This information includes the SSS form mentioned above, W2 forms, tax returns and all schedules or accompanying documents, financial statements, trust agreements, business tax returns and schedules (also IRS Form 4506), and other documents that might be helpful in fairly determining level of need. Tuition assistance may not be available if the required forms have not been submitted by the stated deadlines.

What additional documentation is required to complete the tuition assistance application?

  • A copy of your final tax returns for previous two years including all schedules and attachments for both parents or sets of parents.
  • A copy of your W-2 form(s) for previous two years for both parent(s) or sets of parents.
  • A copy of student(s) tax return (if applicable).
  • A copy of student(s) trust fund agreement(s) (if applicable).
  • A copy of business/farm income tax forms if you are a sole proprietor or are involved in a partnership(s) (if applicable).
  • Additional information as requested.

Please upload these documents to the NAIS website per their instructions with your SSS application. Your final award is dependent on receiving these required documents.

Whom may I call for help?

Please call the Business Office at 425-898-1720 ext. 307 if you need help in completing the Parents' Financial Statement or have questions about any part of the tuition assistance process.

When will I receive notification of my tuition assistance award?

Tuition assistance awards are included with your online (re)enrollment by the Office of Admissions and are reflected on your child(ren)'s enrollment contract.

What if I have other children applying to or attending tuition-charging institutions? Must I apply for tuition assistance from those schools also?

Yes. We assume that a family applying for tuition assistance from Bear Creek will apply for tuition assistance from all tuition-charging institutions their other children may be attending. If another school does not have a tuition assistance program, please note that on the Parents' Financial Statement. In addition, we will ask for verification of the tuition assistance awards from the other schools.

I have decided to go back to school while my child is at Bear Creek. Will it affect my tuition assistance?

This will be considered on an individual basis.

I am an international student, am I eligible for tuition assistance?

No. Bear Creek's tuition assistance program is available only to domestic students in grades K – 12.

I am divorced or no longer living with my child's other parent. Will Bear Creek still expect both parents to be a part of the application for tuition assistance?

Yes. We ask both parents to complete a financial statement to provide a realistic picture of all family resources. We are aware that circumstances differ widely among separated or divorced parents and urge you to contact the Business Office if there is difficulty in providing the requested information.

What if my family has experienced a unique hardship?

If your family has experienced any unique hardship, please submit an email summarizing your circumstances to The tuition assistance committee will consider your situation and make any appropriate adjustments to your application and award.

I may remarry or establish a permanent relationship with another adult. Will that person's financial circumstances be considered in the tuition assistance allocation for my child?

Yes. The addition of another adult into a household generally changes a family's financial picture to a considerable extent. The Parents' Financial Statement must be completed together, providing information pertinent to the new family unit and appropriate tax documentation.

What if my student must withdraw from school?

In the event of student withdrawal, tuition assistance recipients are required to pay the balance as stated in the tuition and fee schedule. We recommend that tuition insurance be purchased to provide coverage for this contingency.

What is the process for paying the remaining tuition balance?

Families of students receiving tuition assistance may choose to pay their portion of tuition in ten payments as stated in the enrollment contract.

What if my number of children attending Bear Creek or another tuition charging institution changes?

If a family is awarded tuition assistance based on multiple siblings attending Bear Creek or other tuition charging institutions and one or more of the siblings decides to enroll elsewhere; the family contribution of financial support must be recalculated based on these changed circumstances. If the Tuition Assistance Committee becomes aware of information that suggests that the family's ability to contribute to educational costs may be at a different level than previously determined (including gifts, inheritances, etc.), then the award will be re-evaluated. This re-evaluation may occur at any time throughout the year, before or after the granting of an award. Should it be determined, at any time, that a family or applicant knowingly did not disclose significant income or assets, and that this failure to disclose resulted in a larger award of tuition assistance, then the award and the enrollment will be reviewed and decisions re-evaluated.