Flexible Tuition FAQ

List of 21 frequently asked questions.

  • What is Flexible Tuition?

    Flexible Tuition is a need-based tuition assistance program similar to those used by many private schools. This program allows families to apply for reduced tuition, taking their financial circumstances into account and making a Hawken education affordable to qualified students who could not otherwise join our school community.  Instead of “receiving financial aid,” families pay the amount of tuition that makes sense for their financial situation.  At no time will the amount of reduced tuition need to be repaid to Hawken.
  • Why does Hawken offer Flexible Tuition?

    At Hawken, we believe that to prepare students for the real world our community should mirror that world with a student body that is coeducational and representative of all ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. Socio-economic diversity is one of Hawken’s largest strategic priorities. To achieve this goal, Hawken is committed to providing a reduction in tuition to excellent students whose families demonstrate a financial need. Hawken has adopted a Flexible Tuition Program to ensure that student from all socio-economic backgrounds are represented.
  • Is my family eligible for Flexible Tuition?

    There is a wide range of families who qualify, from those who can afford only minimal tuition to those who can afford almost full tuition. Flexible Tuition is offered to students in Grades K - 12. Each year, Hawken School awards over $13 million to approximately 43% of the student body. The average income for families receiving Flexible Tuition is $142,589.

    We recognize that every family situation is different and that even a small amount of reduced tuition can make a critical difference for many families. Hawken encourages all families to apply for Flexible Tuition if they think they may qualify. In 2023-2024, Flexible Tuition amounts ranged from $1,500-$36,100.
  • Can my family receive a preliminary decision for Flexible Tuition prior to applying for admission or receiving our admission decision?

    No, Hawken does not provide preliminary decisions for Flexible Tuition. There are multiple factors taken into consideration when assessing a family’s situation, which includes grade level space, budget, timing of the application, among other factors. It is because of this that it is important to follow all deadlines for both the admission application and the Flexible Tuition application. 
  • How do we apply for the Flexible Tuition Program?

    Hawken partners with Clarity Tuition to process Flexible Tuition applications. Clarity Tuition is a service used by hundreds of private schools across the country and uses the highest level of security to safeguard family information. Families interested in applying for Flexible Tuition may begin the application process as early as September. 

    The need-based Flexible Tuition application is separate from the admission application but must be completed at the same time to receive consideration for a need-based reduction in tuition. Complete instructions are provided in the Flexible Tuition Application Procedures. Prospective families who complete the Flexible Tuition application process by the necessary deadlines will receive notification of a Flexible Tuition decision with their student’s admission decision. Current families will receive notification at the time they are asked to reenroll at Hawken. 

    While Hawken has a generous need-based Flexible Tuition budget, it is not unlimited. For that reason, families must follow the Flexible Tuition application deadlines to receive consideration for reduced tuition.
  • Are all students who are offered admission also offered Flexible Tuition if their parents qualify?

    Hawken does not have the resources to offer Flexible Tuition to every student who qualifies for both admission and a need-based Flexible Tuition reduction. A student may be admissible to the school but placed in the wait pool due to space availability. We will not offer a space if we recognize that our Flexible Tuition budget will not support a family’s demonstrated need. 
  • What factors are considered when determining Flexible Tuition?

    Hawken School uses the calculations provided by Clarity Tuition as a starting point in determining the demonstrated need of a family. Other factors considered include the information provided by tax forms, the number of children in tuition charging schools, and any extenuating circumstances. Additional criteria are used for those who are self-employed or own a business or farm, or if there is a non-working parent whose children are of school age.
  • If we pay a reduced tuition this year, will we pay the same amount in future years? Do we need to apply again?

    Families who are receiving a need-based Flexible Tuition assistance can expect to receive similar levels of funding each year if their financial circumstances remain the same. Every family must reapply for need-based Flexible Tuition each year and meet all stated deadlines. If the current financial picture for a family changes, the amount of the need-based tuition assistance may be adjusted accordingly or removed if the family no longer qualifies. Families who submit late applications may not be considered for Flexible Tuition.
  • Is there consideration for families with multiple children who attend tuition charging schools? 

    The Flexible Tuition Committee uses the Clarity Tuition methodology as the basis for its determination of what a family might reasonably expect to contribute toward educational expenses. The total amount available from a family for education costs is divided among all children attending tuition-charging schools, through the undergraduate degree level. It is Hawken’s policy that a family requesting need-based Flexible Tuition from Hawken will also apply for aid at all other tuition charging schools.
  • Are there other scholarships available at Hawken? 

    The majority of Hawken’s tuition reductions are based solely on a family’s demonstrated financial need. In addition, a highly selective group of new Upper School students entering ninth and tenth grade may be eligible for merit scholarships through the James A. Hawken Scholarship Program, based on the strength of their academic record, personal qualities and anticipated future contributions to Hawken School. Hawken does not offer athletic scholarships of any kind.
  • How do families with multiple households file for Flexible Tuition? 

    Each parent/guardian household must submit a separate Flexible Tuition application along with all required documents and forms to be considered for Flexible Tuition. 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 an industry best practice. As a result, Hawken is not bound by existing decrees, agreements or arrangements exempting a parent/guardian from financial responsibility for their student’s education. All financial information is kept strictly confidential and at no time will one household have access to the other’s information.

    If a parent/guardian is no longer involved in the life of the student in any way, please speak directly with the Director of Flexible Tuition at Hawken to determine how to proceed. Hawken awards a single Flexible Tuition award to the student, and it is the responsibility of the parents/guardians to determine a payment schedule structure.
  • If we receive a Flexible Tuition decision and feel we still cannot afford to send our child to Hawken, is there an appeal process?

    Families may appeal a Flexible Tuition decision by submitting a written appeal outlining the reasons why they feel the Flexible Tuition amount is not sufficient within one week of the Flexible Tuition decision being released to the family. Hawken expects that any family making an appeal will have reviewed their Flexible Tuition application prior to making an appeal to ensure all information is accurate and up to date. Hawken strives to make decisions that are fair and equitable for all families applying for need-based Flexible Tuition. 

    Families who apply for Flexible Tuition but do not qualify have several options, including a variety of payment plans.
  • What does Flexible Tuition cover?

    Flexible Tuition is applied to the published Tuition and Fees schedule for each grade level, which includes lunch, books for students in PS-8th grades, general technology fees, athletic physical education fees, class trips and Upper School intensive classes. Middle and Upper School families who pay reduced tuition will receive financial assistance in buying the required tablet computers, according to the purchase policy/ schedule established by the Technology Department. 
    Costs not included in tuition and fees include but are not limited to optional Hawken School transportation fees, instrument rentals, some incidental athletic fees (gym uniforms, personal athletic equipment, etc.), before and after care costs, club and activity fees, summer courses and books for students in Grades 9-12, and the Parent Association fee. Other costs may include Tuition Refund Insurance, which is dependent upon the payment plan option selected.
  • What about saving for college?

    Paying private school tuition at the primary and secondary school level is a commitment for all Hawken families. The methodology used expects a family to allocate only a portion of their discretionary income to tuition payments, allowing for some college savings as well.
    Colleges attended by Hawken graduates typically have extraordinarily strong financial aid programs to assist families in financing their child’s education at this next level. In addition, 60% of the Class of 2022 received merit scholarships totaling over $12.48 million, helping families to offset the costs of college.
  • Are there accommodations available for significant changes in income?

    Hawken School realizes that some families experience unexpected temporary financial stresses due to the sudden loss of a job, family illness, or other circumstances. Families are strongly encouraged to contact the Business Office and the Director of Flexible Tuition as soon as it becomes apparent that there is a change in circumstance. The Business Office is happy to work with families to develop a temporary payment plan during a time of difficulty.
  • Are the deadlines important?

    Yes. To make fair and equitable decisions, families are required to follow all stated deadlines to be considered for Flexible Tuition.  While Hawken’s ability to offer Flexible Tuition is significant, there is a limit to Hawken’s Flexible Tuition budget.  When a family is unable to obtain all necessary tax documents, a provisional Form 1040 may be submitted.  Of course, all awards are subject to verification of the official information when complete and awards may be adjusted as such.
  • If we do not qualify for need-based Flexible Tuition, what can we do?

    Families who apply for need-based Flexible Tuition but do not qualify have several options, including a variety of payment plans.
  • Will we be asked to contribute to the Annual Fund?

    Families will be asked to donate to the Annual Fund, as it is a vital link to the overall health of the school. Every gift to the Annual Fund, regardless of size, matters. As the parent or guardian of a Hawken student, you may be asked to give of your time, energy, or resources to the extent that you are able. For those with special talents and time, the School is always seeking volunteers to assist with the Family Association.
  • Will filing for Flexible Tuition diminish the chances of my child being accepted to Hawken?

    Admission applications and Flexible Tuition applications are reviewed separately and applying for Flexible Tuition has no bearing on an applicant’s admissibility. In addition, Flexible Tuition applications are confidential. Information is viewed only by the Flexible Tuition Committee, and only the Committee and the Business Office see the Flexible Tuition a family pays. All Flexible Tuition decisions are confidential agreements between Hawken School and the recipient family and should be treated in the same manner for families.  Faculty and administrators are not privy to any financial materials, nor are they aware of which families apply for or receive Flexible Tuition.
  • Is there a discount for siblings?

    No, Hawken School does not offer sibling discounts.  However, Hawken’s Flexible Tuition Program does consider the number of children from a family enrolled in tuition-charging schools.  We encourage any family with multiple children for whom paying full tuition may be a challenge to apply for Flexible Tuition.
  • Who will see my financial information?

    All financial information is treated as highly confidential.  Only the Flexible Tuition Committee will see this information, and only the Committee, Admission Office Coordinator, 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 Flexible Tuition.
An independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school, toddler through grade 12

Early Childhood, Lower, and Middle Schools, 5000 Clubside Rd, Lyndhurst, OH 44124
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