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Access & Affordability

The Wheeler Tuition Assistance Program

The Wheeler School makes Tuition Assistance considerations on the basis of financial assessments conducted by School and Student Services (SSS), a subsidiary of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Families confidentially submit documentation to SSS, and Wheeler’s Tuition Assistance Committee carefully reviews the organization’s recommendation before considering a Tuition Assistance package.

Your investment in a Wheeler education for your family is among the most important decisions you will make. We recognize the thought and time you devote to choosing the best education available, and through the admission process, it is our aim to build a school environment that is both accessible and affordable for everyone.

As a welcoming, inclusive community, Wheeler embraces and celebrates the commonalities and differences of our school and the wider world. We believe that a meaningful, purposeful life includes learning from all people — all genders, ethnicities, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds. We know that the best standards of education — and our own school values — find that children build higher levels of empathy and achievement in a diverse environment. Wheeler’s commitment to access and affordability extends through all of our academic divisions and meets your family’s educational investment with an understanding of how Wheeler can contribute depending on each family situation.

To support families in making this investment, Wheeler’s Board of Trustees allocates a percentage of each year’s annual operating budget to providing tuition assistance. In addition, a legacy of alumni, parent and grandparent donors also make student tuition assistance a priority in their endowment and annual giving to the School, helping to ensure that children from all walks of life learn together. As a result, Wheeler commits more than $4 million dollars to tuition assistance to approximately 200 students each year.

The process for applying is below, along with a set of Frequently Asked Questions. We also invite you to speak with Anna Curtis, our Enrollment Director, to ask for any additional information or more detailed questions.

Tuition Assistance FAQs

List of 11 frequently asked questions.

  • How do I apply for Tuition Assistance?

    In order to apply for Tuition Assistance at The Wheeler School you must complete these steps:

    • Complete the Parents' Financial Statement (PFS) (due December 31, 2018)
    • Submit your 2017 1040 Form and related schedules (due December 31, 2018)
    • Submit your 2018 W-2 Form(s) (Due February 1, 2019).
    • As soon as your 2018 1040 Form is complete, upload to SSS.

    All of these documents must be submitted online through the School and Student Service for Financial Aid ( Applications for Tuition Assistance are not consid­ered until 2017 1040’s and the PFS are submitted to SSS.

    The SSS code number for The Wheeler School is 8170. This number should be entered in item 7A of the PFS.
  • Who should apply for Tuition Assistance?

    Wheeler encourages families to apply for Tuition Assistance if they are unable to meet the full cost of tuition but are able to make some contribution to their child’s educational investment.
  • Are deadlines for applying important?

    Because requests for Tuition Assistance often exceed the funds available, it is important to submit required materials in a timely fashion. PFS Forms filed after the final deadline of December 31 may well be excluded from consideration by the Tuition Assistance Committee.
    NOTE: If materials are not received by the deadline, new and returning families will be placed on a Tuition Assistance waitlist.
    Returning families must be in good financial standing with the Business Office before being reconsidered for Tuition Assistance for the next school year.  
  • How is a family contribution determined?

    All contributions are guided by the assessment conducted by the School and Student Services (SSS), a subsidiary of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Included in this assessment are the major factors affecting financial need, including the family’s net income and assets, the number of dependents in the household, and the number of children attending tui­tion-charging schools and colleges. Allowances are made for certain taxes, medical costs, and unusual expenses, as well as other adjustments which are recognized by the Internal Revenue Service. Financial assistance required is determined by subtracting from the total educational expenses the amount of money a family can contribute based on the above criteria.
  • Can you provide examples of how SSS might calculate a family contribution?

    The following examples below reflect scenarios entered into SSS and the results of the process. While every family’s situation will be slightly different, these scenarios may help guide you to understand the range of tuition assistance awarded. For more questions, please contact the Admissions Office.
    1. An applicant for ninth grade lives with their family, including two siblings, also attending tuition-based schools.  Her family income totals $350,000. The family owns a home and has $50,000 in savings.
    Total Tuition: $36,270
    Family contribution: $23,859
    1. An applicant for fifth grade lives with their single parent.  The family income is $35,000. The family does not own a home and currently has no savings.
    Total Tuition: $33,055
    Family Contribution: $1,000

        3. An applicant to sixth grade lives with their family, including one sibling who does not attend a tuition-based school.  The family income is $125,000. The family owns a home and has started saving for retirement.    

    Total Tuition: $36,270
    Family Contribution: $12,207

        4. An applicant to ninth grade lives with their family, including one sibling who also attends a tuition-based school.  One parent works outside of the home, making a salary of $350,000.  The family owns a home and has $50,000 in savings.  

    Total Tuition: $36,270
    Family Contribution: $36,270
  • What if parents are divorced or separated?

    Each parent/guardian household must submit a separate SSS application to be considered for Tuition Assistance. Consideration of all available resources from both parents/guardians and their spouses or live-in partners will be based upon the belief that a family’s contribution for education is a reflection of “the ability to contribute, not the willingness to contribute” which is standard NAIS/SSS policy. All financial information is kept strictly confidential and at no time will one household have access to the others’ information.

    If a parent is no longer involved in the life of the child in any way, please speak directly with the Admission Office to determine how to proceed. Wheeler awards a single grant to the student and it is the responsibility of the parents to determine a payment schedule structure.
  • Do families need to apply each year?

    Yes. Families are required to update their financial information through SSS each year by December 31.
  • If we receive tuition assistance this year, will the family contribution amount remain the same in future years?

    Current families who receive tuition assistance can expect to receive similar levels of funding each year if their financial circumstances remain the same. However, every family must reapply for tuition assistance each year and meet all stated deadlines. If the current financial picture for a family changes, the amount of tuition assistance may be adjusted accordingly.
  • What expenses are covered by Tuition Assistance?

    Tuition Assistance covers the cost of tuition. If a family contribution is 40% or less of the full cost of tuition, families are also eligible for a percentage of assistance to cover the cost of student fees and textbooks in all grades.
  • What is the range of Tuition Assistance?

    The family contribution ranges from $1,000 - $31,000.
  • Will Tuition Assistance information be confidential?

    All financial information is treated as highly confidential.  Only the Tuition Assistance Committee will see this information, and only the Committee, Admission Office, and Business Office will see the award.  Division Heads and faculty members are not privy to any financial materials, nor are they aware of which families receive tuition assistance.
Visit the SSS website to begin the financial aid process by completing the Parent Financial Statement (PFS) for the 2019-20 school year. After completing the PFS you'll need to upload your 2017 taxes and your 2018 W-2 forms to complete the application process.
216 Hope Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02906-2246
Phone: (401) 421-8100
FAX: (401) 751-7674

Founded 1889

The Wheeler School is an independent coeducational college preparatory day school for Nursery, Pre-K, K-Grade 12 serving Providence, RI, Greater Providence and Greater Boston. The Hamilton School welcomes Grades 1-8 with language-based learning differences.