Affording Northwest

Affording Northwest

At The Northwest School, we believe that a great education should be available to everyone and that we all benefit from a community that includes a range of socio-economic diversity. Our financial aid process is designed to help us achieve this goal as equitably as possible.

Financial aid and admissions decisions are separate processes, though communicated to each family at the same time. If we are unable to provide funds to an admissible student, they will be placed on our waitlist until funds become available.

We provide financial aid and scholarships to help families meet the tuition costs, and we also have an Experience Fund to help cover additional expenses, such as books and transportation. Families and students have the optional opportunity to participate in Financial Aid Affinity Groups.

The Northwest Experience Fund

We are proud to be the only school that offers a program to cover all additional fees for every family receiving financial aid, at all levels of aid.  We call this program The Northwest Experience Fund.  We believe that the contribution your family is making towards tuition is the maximum contribution you can afford.  We believe every student should have the opportunity to participate fully in the life of the school, regardless of family income. The Experience Fund is a priority that is made possible by fundraising and the generosity of our donors.

2023–2024 Tuition, Fees & Expenses

Tuition Lunch* Total Cost
Middle School (Grades 6 - 8) $42,475 $1,600 $44,075
Upper School (Grades 9 - 12) $44,950 $1,600 $46,550

Boarding Fees (5-day): $19,500**

Boarding Fees (7-day): $24,000**

* Lunch is a required fee. 

**Meals outside of lunch, such as breakfast and dinner, are included in boarding fees.

Additional Expenses: Families can anticipate costs in addition to tuition, some of which apply to all students while others would depend on opt-ins. Examples include books, grade-level and outdoor program trips, study abroad, summit fees, upper school athletic fees, after school program, and transportation.

Will We Qualify For Financial Aid?

Income and assets are the primary factors in determining tuition amounts. Below are a few examples of what tuition might look like for your family in addition to data on our financial aid program.

financial aid distributed for 2022‑23
total students receiving financial aid
average award amount 

Sample Family A:

Household Income $85,000
Total Assets $25,000
Family Contribution $0
Cost for books, trips, transportation, athletic fees, outdoor program, etc. $0

Sample Family B:

Household Income $150,000
Total Assets $200,000
Family Contribution $14,510
Cost for books, trips, transportation, athletic fees, outdoor program, etc. $0

Sample Family C:

Household Income $200,000
Total Assets $300,000
Family Contribution $30,415
Cost for books, trips, transportation, athletic fees, outdoor program, etc. $0

Financial Aid

All financial aid at The Northwest School is based on a family’s demonstrated financial need and, as such, is primarily awarded to students who have verifiable financial documentation. To be considered for financial aid a family must first fill out the application for financial aid, either via SSS or Clarity. Awards can cover up to the full cost of tuition. Every family receiving financial aid is also eligible for The Northwest Experience Fund, which covers 100% of all additional fees beyond tuition, including textbooks, trips, and more. Most financial aid is awarded at the primary entry points of 6th grade and 9th grade.

Dorm Student Scholarships 

Scholarships are available to exceptional students who apply to live in the NWS Dormitory and do not require the family to fill out the application for financial aid. 

The awarding of scholarships will happen at the time of admission and does not require any action on the part of the family. These scholarships are intended for exceptional students who embody The Northwest School’s core values and contribute to the school community. Typically, scholarships do not exceed 30% of the cost of attendance and families receiving scholarships are not eligible for The Northwest Experience Fund. The scholarships are awarded for the duration of study provided the student maintains good academic and disciplinary standing.

Applying for Financial Aid

The Northwest School awards financial aid based on the calculated need of the family. Awards range from a few thousand dollars to the full cost of tuition, with an average amount of $32,286.

You can begin the process for applying for financial aid on October 1, 2023. financial aid applications and supporting documents are due February 2, 2024.

Follow These Steps

Step 1. Submit the Financial Aid Application

Submit a financial aid application through SSS or Clarity. Based on the financial information you provide, our office estimates the amount your family can contribute to educational expenses. This helps us make fair and objective financial aid decisions. Please allow up to 30 minutes to complete either application.

Apply via SSS

Northwest’s SSS code is 1557. There is a $60 application fee due at the time of submission.*

Apply via Clarity

This application is mobile-friendly and available in English and Spanish. There is a $60 application fee due at the time of submission.*

*If the application fee presents a burden, please reach out to the admissions team.

Step 2. Submit Supporting Documentation

If possible, we ask for your 2023 W2 as part of the application process. If you are applying via SSS, you will need to submit these through its online portal. If you are applying via Clarity, the system will automatically ask your permission to access your 2022 tax documents directly from the IRS. If you expect your 2023 or 2024 finances to be significantly different from the 2022 taxes, please submit an explanation of the anticipated changes in income.

Financial Aid Fund Established in 2007

In 2007, The Paul Raymond Endowed Financial Aid Fund was established in honor of Cofounder Paul Raymond shortly following his death. Over the years as the remaining Cofounders retire, the fund is renamed the Raymond Taussig Terry (RTT) Financial Aid Endowment Fund. The RTT Endowment Fund's purpose is to increase access to The Northwest School education through tuition assistance, and to expand the economic diversity of the school's community.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is a financial aid award determined?

We ask families to fill out an online application and include supporting materials such as W2s and prior year’s tax returns. We then review all of the materials focusing first on income, then on assets. Multiple variables are considered, such as the family’s size, parents’ ages, number of children attending tuition-charging schools, any unusual circumstances, etc. Ultimately, we calculate the number that we believe the family is capable of paying for educational costs for all of their children. Financial aid represents the difference between that number and our tuition.

When will families learn if they have received financial aid or a scholarship?

At the same time they learn if their student is admitted to Northwest.

Do returning families need to reapply for financial aid?

Priority for financial aid goes to returning students who received financial aid in the preceding school year. However, all families who receive aid must resubmit their current financial information each year so the financial aid committee can verify the award amount. 

What can our family expect regarding additional expenses?

Families can anticipate costs in addition to tuition, some of which apply to all students while others would depend on an individual student’s opt-ins.

  • Books ~$200*
  • Grade-level trips ~$90 per trip*
  • Outdoor program ~$100 per trip
  • Upper school athletic fees ~$125 per season
  • After-school program ~$15 per day
  • Transportation

*Required fees that apply to all students

If parents are divorced, separated, remarried, or living in a domestic partnership, how is financial aid information submitted?

The school considers the income and assets of all parents and guardians when evaluating the need for financial aid. If either parent has remarried or has a domestic partner, we also consider the income and assets of the stepparent or domestic partner (bearing in mind the obligation of that stepparent or domestic partner to their own children). It is the responsibility of the parent filling out the financial aid application to ensure that all the required adults who are described above are included in the application and that they each submit the appropriate tax forms and schedules.

What about unemployed or nonworking parents?

In general, all parents/guardians must be employed to receive financial aid from The Northwest School. We also realize, however, that certain circumstances may make it impossible for this to occur. Please explain any such circumstances in your financial aid application and describe the nonworking parent/guardian’s circumstances and plans.

What if my family’s financial situation changes after enrollment?

If your financial situation changes after your student is enrolled and the full cost of tuition presents a hardship to your family, you may apply for financial aid as a returning family regardless of whether you previously received financial aid. Please contact the financial aid office to request information. Your contract may be revised if you qualify for financial aid and funds are available.

What is the financial aid waitlist?

Each year, we have more applicants who are qualified for both admission and financial aid than we can fund from our financial aid budget. Students who are admissible and qualify for financial aid but whom we are unable to fund will be placed on our waitlist.

What about late applications and students in the wait pool?

Because financial aid is awarded with priority to families who meet our deadlines, it is unlikely that financial aid will become available after our deadline. This includes families who apply for aid after their child has enrolled in the school, as well as students accepted from the wait pool, and applicants who apply after the application and/or financial aid deadlines.

Do you have an appeal process?

Yes, we do. If you are offered a financial aid award and find that you cannot afford the tuition with the amount of assistance awarded, we encourage you to ask for an appeal. You will be asked to provide additional information to allow the financial aid committee to evaluate an adjustment to the award amount, including a list of monthly expenses, copies of recent paystubs and information about any unusual expenses that may not have been included in the original application.

What is the Experience Fund?

The Experience Fund (X-Fund) was established to provide additional financial assistance to families receiving financial aid. The aim of the fund is to ensure that all students have the full experience of opportunities available at Northwest.

The X-Fund covers costs associated with additional expenses, including transportation for families of financial aid. Unanticipated expenses unique to each student (e.g., cleats for soccer) are also covered.

What are Financial Aid Affinity Groups?

We offer optional opportunities for both families and students to participate in Financial Aid Affinity Groups, which meet throughout the year.

These groups provide an opportunity for families receiving financial aid to connect across shared experiences. For more information, please reach out to our director of financial aid, Jonathan Hochberg.

Additional Financial Aid Questions?

Contact Jonathan Hochberg, director of financial aid, at 206-816-6210 or by email.

Financial Aid Information Evening (virtual)

Recorded January 9, 2024

The Northwest School's director of financial aid, Jonathan Hochberg, meets with prospective families to discuss Northwest's financial aid process. The evening follows a Q&A format, and viewers are encouraged to contact Jonathan directly if they have further questions.

Closed captions are available in English.