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    What is SSS Financial Aid?

    By Cece Gilmore

    Cece Gilmore is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cece earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Arizona State University. While at ASU, she was the education editor as well as a published staff reporter at Downtown Devil. Cece was also the co-host of her own radio show on Blaze Radio ASU.

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    Reviewed by Cari Shultz

    Cari Schultz is an Educational Review Board Advisor at Scholarships360, where she reviews content featured on the site. For over 20 years, Cari has worked in college admissions (Baldwin Wallace University, The Ohio State University, University of Kentucky) and as a college counselor (Columbus School for Girls).

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: February 27th, 2024
    What is SSS Financial Aid?

    For some students and their families, financial aid is key to helping them pay for private school. The School & Student Services (SSS) platform helps make the process of applying for financial aid easier. Read more about what SSS financial aid is and how it helps students access private school education! 

    What is SSS? 

    School & Student Services (SSS) is an organization that partners with private and independent K-12 schools to provide a financial aid platform. The SSS platform helps determine a family’s ability to pay private K-12 school costs. This service and process helps ensure that all schools use the same methods and objective procedures to evaluate the financial aid application. 

    Also see: Finding scholarships for private K-12 schools

    What determines how much financial aid students receive? 

    K-12 schools use financial need to determine how much financial aid to provide to students. Therefore, to determine how much financial assistance is needed for a student, schools use the SSS computations to figure out how much a family can contribute. 

    The type of information a school needs to determine financial assistance may include: 

    • Income 
    • Family size
    • Savings, investments, and other assess
    • Children’s assets
    • Medical, dental, and unusual health expenses

    This information is collected on what is called the Parent’s Financial Statement (or PFS). The PFS is then shared with all of the schools the student wants to apply to. The PFS only needs to be filled out once and can be sent to multiple schools. 

    After calculating the difference between the resources that a family has and the cost of their tuition and fees, schools weigh the resulting financial need against their available financial aid funds. 

    What are some features of SSS? 

    Easy application monitoring

    It is extremely easy to track an application’s progress on a personalized dashboard

    Quick application delivery

    Within one hour of submitting the PFS, the calculated family contribution will be available in a detailed student folder for viewing 

    Fast document verification

    The average verification time for tax forms is 15 hours after the parent uploads 

    Steps to apply for financial assistance through the SSS platform

    1. Parents complete and submit a PFS
    2. SSS calculates a family contribution
    3. School of choice receives PFS and family contribution calculation
    4. Parents upload tax forms
    5. SSS verifies tax forms
    6. School of choice reviews student folders and makes award decisions
    7. School communicates award offers with parents

    Related: Charter vs. private schools

    Key Takeaways

    Key Takeaways

    • SSS computes how much a family can afford to pay for their student’s education and then sends this information to the desired private schools
    • SSS offers an easy-to-use online platform so families can track applications and verify tax documents
    • Ultimately, the desired school has the last say on how much financial aid will be awarded to a family  

    Additional resources

    Choosing which K-12 school to send your child to can be complicated. There are many choices involved, but we can help walk you through them. Those include choosing between private and public schools, and considering Montessori, charter, and parochial schools. You may also consider a boarding school or country day school. You’ll also want to help your child study for the SSAT and/or ISEE for admittance to private schools. Finally, be sure to check out our guide to private K-12 scholarships. Good luck!

    Frequently asked questions about SSS financial aid

    Why use SSS financial aid when you can get scholarships from other sources?

    Scholarships from other sources tend to be small and often have narrower eligibility requirements. However, nearly all need-based and merit-based financial aid for students at private K-12 schools comes from the schools themselves. Therefore, it would be more advantageous to spend time on the SSS application for need-based financial aid rather than searching for applicable scholarships.

    Does SSS offer financial aid to families?

    No, SSS does not provide any money to families. However, they help students secure financial aid from schools.

    How does the SSS program calculate a family’s ability to pay?

    Through the PFS (Parents Financial Statement), SSS compiles the necessary financial information needed to estimate (after applying a formula) how much a family should contribute towards their child’s education .

    The formula considers income, what is owned, what is owed, the size of the family, and how many family members are enrolled in tuition-charging schools or colleges.

    SSS encourages schools to use their estimate to make their final determination about a family’s ability to pay. However, the final determination always comes from the school and not from SSS.

    Does the SSS program cost money to use?

    Yes. There is a $55 non-refundable charge for the PFS processing fee. However, SSS waives the application fees for families most in need of financial help. SSS considers family size, income, and asset information found in the PFS to assess the family financial situation and automatically apply for a waiver if they qualify.

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