School and Student Services for Financial Aid (SSS)

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The Financial Aid Application process for school year 2024-25 begins Feburary 16, 2024.

Financial Aid is available for students attending the Nursery and Elementary Schools.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

• What are the deadlines for applying for financial aid?

- February 16: Round 1 Financial Aid Application begins. Round 1 is open to returning families only.
- March 15:  Deadline for submission of supporting tax documents for Financial Aid Applications.
- April 12: Communication of Round 1 Financial Aid decisions to applicants
- April 26: Round 2 Financial Aid begins including submission of supporting tax documents.  Round 2 is open to all families.
- June 7: Communication of Round 2 Financial Aid decisions to applicants

• What is the difference between Round 1 and Round 2 financial aid cycles?

Round 1 is open to current SSAES families only, and the majority of financial aid budget is allocated toward Round 1. Round 2 is open to both current and new families. If any funds are left over from Round 1, they will be allocated to Round 2.

• If my family misses the deadline for financial aid applications, will there be another opportunity to apply?

Returning families that miss Round 1 may apply during Round 2. However, the awards granted in Round 2 will be balanced against the needs of new families and will likely draw from a smaller pool of financial aid funds.

Families that miss Round 2 may request special consideration for financial aid. These families must still complete the assessment process through SSS. No aid is guaranteed, even if SSS determines financial need. Any aid beyond what is in the approved financial aid budget would require special approval of the Board of Directors.

• Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?

Yes. While SSAES uses prior year financial aid figures to forecast the financial aid budget for the upcoming year, we do not reserve financial aid at the family level for the upcoming year (see privacy commitments above). All families need to reapply each year, and any changes to family financial situation need to be reflected in the application submitted to SSS. Financial aid will not be granted to families that do not apply.

• What factors are considered when I apply for financial aid?

SSS uses an algorithm that includes consideration of sources of income, cost of housing, location-based cost of living index, other assets, and other debt obligations.

• Am I eligible for financial aid if I am not a U.S. citizen?

U.S. citizenship is not required to apply for financial aid. However, proof of income is required as part of the screening process with SSS. Typically, U.S. tax returns are used as documentation for income. For more detail on accepted methods of proof of income, please contact SSS Customer Service or SSAES using the contact information below.

• Can I apply for financial aid if I have an outstanding tuition balance?

All applicants must be in good financial standing with SSAES to be eligible for financial aid. Being current with your payments on an SSAES-approved payment plan qualifies as being in good financial standing. If you are currently late on a payment (tuition, extended stay fees, etc.), contact the school treasurer immediately at 617-926-6979 to get your account back into good standing.

• If I qualify for partial financial aid, what happens to the rest of my bill if I am unable to pay it?

Families whose students attend SSAES are responsible to pay for the balance of tuition not covered by financial aid, as well as other expenses incurred (e.g. hot lunch orders, after-school program fees) on the timeline agreed-upon through SSAES-approved payment plans. If you are concerned about your ability to make a payment on time, please contact the school treasurer immediately at 617-926-6979.

• What is the income level at which a family is no longer eligible for financial aid?

Income level is not the only factor considered in eligibility for financial aid. Every family that feels they have need for financial aid to enable their child or children to attend SSAES is encouraged to apply. Some sample scenarios can be found at the website of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) here

• How does SSAES determine who qualifies for financial aid?

SSAES uses a third-party vendor Student and School Services (SSS) to assess the amount a family is able to pay toward school tuition. SSS serves over 1,900 private schools and scholarship foundations nationally and is operated by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). You can learn more about SSS here

• How will financial aid be distributed among applicants?

Round 1 financial aid awards are distributed according to a strict and transparent allocation process: Each family will be eligible for aid up to the amount determined through the SSS assessment. SSAES will fund 100% of the need, with no limit based on the number of children attending, if there are sufficient funds available in the financial aid budget. If the financial aid budget is not sufficient to cover the aggregate eligible need of Round 1 applicants, the budgeted financial aid funds will be allocated to all families on a pro-rated basis (i.e. each family receives the same percentage of their need as determined by SSS).

Round 2 financial aid awards will be reviewed and allocated by the SSAES Financial Aid Committee and will use family need estimated by SSS as the primary consideration.

• How much financial aid can I receive?

SSAES offers financial aid up to 100% of tuition. The amount of the aid award is determined by family ability to pay as assessed by SSS, as well as by funds available in the SSAES financial aid budget for the current year.

• Will my information be kept confidential?


Information on family income and expenses are submitted directly to SSS through their online portal. SSAES does not need to view family income and expense detail for financial aid applications submitted through the standard Round 1 and Round 2 processes. Further information on the privacy protections provided by SSS can be found here

Within SSAES, families receiving financial aid are tracked using an ID number, not names. Access to family financial aid information is restricted to the SSAES Financial Aid Committee, currently consisting of the Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, and the Principal. The SSAES Financial Aid Committee may access family information for operational activities such as issuing aid decision letters, responding to financial aid questions, or handling Round 2 or special requests for financial aid. Identifying information is not shared with other members of the SSAES Administration, SSAES Board of Directors, or other members of the SSAES community.

• How do I apply for financial aid?

Step 1: Create a login ID here to access SSS online family portal
Step 2: Submit a Parents Financial Statement (PFS) directly to SSS through their online parent portal located (login required)
Step 3: Upload supporting documentation (e.g. U.S. tax return)

• Who can I contact with more questions?

Student and School Services (SSS)
Application Process/Detail Questions
Parent Resource Guide at

SSS Customer Service
(800) 344-8328
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

St. Stephen’s (SSAES)

SSAES Program Questions
FAQs at, navigate to Admissions > Financial Aid
Or contact SSAES at (617) 926-6979 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

47 Nichols Avenue, Watertown, MA 02472

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