For most families, an independent school education is a significant investment that requires careful financial planning. Lake Ridge Academy is committed to enrolling a culturally and socioeconomically diverse student body, as we believe this diversity enriches the educational experience for all of our students. In fact, 70% of Lake Ridge Academy students receive financial assistance.
FIT: Tuition Tailored to You
At Lake Ridge Academy, we understand that every family’s financial picture is unique. We offer a need-based tuition assistance program called Family Individualized Tuition or FIT. This program determines an individualized tuition for your child(ren) based upon your family's specific financial circumstances and ability to pay. We encourage any family interested in receiving financial assistance to apply for FIT.
In general, FIT can reduce tuition up to 60% of the maximum published tuition and can be combined with any of our scholarships available to qualifying students in grades 6-12.
FIT stands for Family Individualized Tuition. FIT is an indexed tuition model that considers discretionary income when determining a family's unique tuition. FIT allows us to equitably and transparently consider financial need in determining tuition.
FIT identifies a portion of a family's discretionary income (usually 25-30%) for educational expenses. FIT then adjusts for the number of children currently in tuition-charging schools. This allows us to make a Lake Ridge Academy education within reach for families of all sizes, and in many different circumstances.
New families will be considered for FIT after their child has been admitted to Lake Ridge Academy. Once their FIT application has been submitted by completing the Parents' Financial Statement via SSS, new families can expect to get their FIT tution in fewer than 10 days.
School and Student Services (SSS) is the leading independent third-party financial services company that is provided by the NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools). Lake Ridge Academy has used SSS to support financial aid determinations for several years. Under FIT, we will continue to use SSS and its online Parent Financial Statement application system. If you have questions about using SSS, please view their website.
Under FIT, we do not have a standard tuition. Instead, we consider a family's discretionary income and demonstrated financial need when determining a family's individualized tuition. Tuition is assessed within a broad range based on each family's unique circumstances.
No, because FIT already considers the financial need of each family when making its individualized FIT determination.
Yes! Families can apply for FIT along with need-based and merit-based scholarships.
Expected FIT increases occur each year as your child moves through the grades (called step increases) along with inflationary increases. We work hard to keep both step and inflationary increases as small as possible. Because your FIT is determined primarily based on your discretionary income, any significant increases or decreases to your discretionary income could cause a subsequent increase or decrease in FIT. Examples could include a spouse returning to work, a significant job change, or enrolling another child in a tuition-charging school.
Families who choose not to apply for FIT will receive the maximum tuition for each child.
We have a small FIT and Scholarship Committee that meets weekly to determine tuition in a highly confidential manner based on your application and the calculations by SSS.
SSS does a great job at providing an accurate analysis of your financial situation and subsequent estimate of the tuition amount that your family can pay. However, we feel there can be more to a family's financial picture that isn't part of the SSS review. Our FIT Committee reviews the SSS determination but then extends the process to include a review of additional documents not requested by SSS that might highlight other significant discretionary income factors. As a result, families receive individualized tuition rates that are most often lower than the SSS determination and make more sense for their financial circumstances. If you feel that you have significant family expenses that are not asked by SSS, please submit your additional documentation to Mark Charvat when you complete your SSS online application.
FIT has helped numerous families make tuition at Lake Ridge Academy work for their families, including the following examples:
Tim has one child, a 5th grader at Lake Ridge Academy. Tim's total income is $58,000. His annual discretionary income is $27,000. Tim's FIT is $9,900, the minimum FIT tuition for a 5th grade student in 2019-20.
Deepak and Nidhi
Deepak and Nidhi have two children at Lake Ridge Academy. One is in 9th grade, one is 6th grade. The couple's total income is $223,500. The couple’s discretionary income is $98,000. Deepak and Nidhi's FIT for their 9th grader and 6th grader combined is $27,000.
Donnea and Hugo
Donnea and Hugo have three children in tuition-charging schools. One is in 9th grade at Lake Ridge Academy, one is in 6th grade at Lake Ridge Academy, and one is a senior in college. The couple's total income is $265,000. The couple's discretionary income is $162,000.
Donnea and Hugo's FIT for their 9th grader and 6th grader combined is $32,500. Next year, when their eldest child graduates from college, Donnea and Hugo's FIT will increase because they will no longer have three children in tuition-charging schools.
Kara and Taylor
Kara and Taylor have one child, a kindergartener at Lake Ridge Academy. The couple's total income is $340,000. The couple's discretionary income is $192,500. Kara and Taylor's FIT is $19,750, the maximum tuition for a kindergartner in 2019-20.
Kim and Dan
Kim and Dan have two children, one who is entering kindergarten and one who is in third grade at Lake Ridge Academy. The couple’s total income is $158,000. The couple’s discretionary income is $58,500. Kim and Dan’s FIT for their kindergartner and third-grader combined is $17,000.