Financial Aid FAQ

May 26, 2016
What is the Overlake School’s financial aid policy?

The Overlake School has a philosophical commitment to educating a socio-economically diverse student body. Our financial aid program is designed to help us achieve this diversity. The Overlake School Financial Aid committee offers aid to qualified students on the basis of financial need and the availability of funds.

Are there any special obligations for student who receive financial aid?

The Overlake School maintains the same standards of behavior and academic performance for recipients of financial aid as it does for students not receiving financial aid.

How do I start the financial aid application process?

Visit the NAIS website to read the instructions and file an online application (available November 1st).

A “Parents’ Financial Statement” (PFS) should be completed online at School and Student Service (SSS) for Financial Aid no later than January 12, 2017. Copies of your 2015 and 2016 tax returns, all supporting schedules, and your 2015 W-2s should be uploaded to SSS by February 13, 2017. If your 2015 tax return is not prepared by the deadline, please estimate your tax information on the PFS and submit the most recent tax return available. As soon as your current year Income Tax Return is complete, we ask that you upload a copy to SSS as soon as it is ready.

If you own a business or a farm, you must complete the Business and Farm Statement, available electronically on the NAIS website.

If parents are divorced or separated, who must file a financial statement?

Overlake endorses the recommended policy of the School and Student Service for Financial Aid (SSS). This policy states that parents have an obligation to pay for the educational expenses of their children to the extent they are able and that takes precedence over the school’s responsibility to provide financial assistance. While the remarriage of either parent creates a new family unit with new relationships, the natural (or adoptive) parents still have responsibility for educational expenses despite any legal agreements to the contrary. Therefore, the resources of the entire new family unit are considered pertinent.

Each parent submits a Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS) and follows the procedures listed above. We will waive the requirement for financial information from a non-custodial parent if the location of the non-custodial parent is unknown or we have documented information that the non-custodial parent provides no support and has not been in contact with the student for two years. If there are other extenuating circumstances that might warrant waiving this requirement, written requests should be sent to the Overlake financial aid office.

How is financial aid determined?

Financial aid awards are determined through analysis of each family’s financial resources, including income, assets, financial obligations, unusual expenses, family size, and other children attending independent schools or colleges. To determine fair and equitable awards, Overlake subscribes to the principles and needs analysis system of the School and Student Service by NAIS (SSS). Families submit a Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS) for processing to SSS which then forwards the results to Overlake. In addition, families are required to submit photocopies of their completed 2015 and 2016 tax returns with all schedules and W-2s to SSS. Using individual information and uniform guidelines, the financial aid committee makes decisions about financial aid awards. There is often some variation between the Service’s estimation of a family’s financial need and what Overlake actually awards. This is because SSS merely keys in information, while Overlake’s Financial Aid officer reviews and recalculates each family’s financial profile.

Will my financial aid application be kept confidential?

Yes. All financial information and awards are kept in strict confidence. Only the Financial Aid officer has access to the financial forms you submit and only the financial aid committee will be aware of your request for financial assistance. In the case of separated and/or divorced parents, no information will be given by the school to either parent regarding the other parent’s financial disclosures.

What happens if we miss the deadlines?

Meeting the deadlines is imperative. We do not reserve funds beyond the initial round of awards allocated in February and March. Late applicants and families whose Parents’ Financial Statement and/or tax forms are received after stated deadlines may find that funding is not available. Families applying late should contact the financial aid office to discuss funding availability.

If my student receives an award for the first year at Overlake, will the amount change in subsequent years?

Parents are required to apply for aid annually because changes in family resources may affect the size of the awards. The student will continue to receive tuition assistance from year to year, provided the student’s family demonstrates financial need and the student continues to meet the required academic and behavioral standards of the school. Although changes in tuition and student population may affect the amount of funding available in the financial aid budget, Overlake strives to fund a student at the same level through graduation assuming a family’s calculated need does not change.

Is financial assistance available for expenses beyond tuition?

Yes. A percentage of the student’s total award is placed in the student’s account to be used for additional educational expenses such as textbooks and Project Week expenses. The amount of the funding for educational expenses will change from year to year depending on available funds and the number of recipients.

Are there any endowed scholarships available?

Yes, we offer the following endowed scholarships:

Should I spend limited financial resources on elementary/secondary school or college?

Whether to spend limited financial resources on secondary school or college education can be a difficult choice for families. At the college level there is considerable financial aid and federal funding relief available. As all family and student assets, in addition to income, are taken into strict account when determining college-level financial aid packages, an argument can be made that overweighting the use of limited assets in favor of a strong preparatory education can prove to be a thoughtful, reasonable, and wise decision. With the reality that all independent schools, unsupported by tax dollars, are expensive for virtually every family, it is increasingly common for parents and grandparents to share the costs of financing a student's education.

To whom can I talk if I have questions?

For questions related to the PFS and uploading documents, contact the SSS Customer Service Center at 800-344-8328 or online.

For application and award decision questions, contact Brenda Draper in the Overlake School Financial Aid Office:

Lou Sabino
Director of Admission and Financial Aid
Email: lsabino@overlake.org
Phone: 425-868-6191, ext. 616
 
The Overlake School welcomes students of any race,
religion, national or ethnic origin, socio-economic status,
gender, sexual orientation, or disability.