Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding the details of Variable Tuition

Will my application for Variable Tuition influence my child’s application for admission?
No. Variable Tuition is calculated independently from admissions decisions.

Has Steward always offered Variable Tuition?
No, this program began during the school year (2019-2020). Variable Tuition replaces Steward’s legacy financial aid program. All families – both new and current – are welcome to apply for Variable Tuition.

What’s the difference between Variable Tuition and financial aid?
Both programs are designed to increase access to a Steward education for academically and mission-appropriate students. Both programs also apply the same criteria. We are now calling our program Variable Tuition based upon trends in independent schools nationwide, although we are among the first in Richmond to offer it. The Variable Tuition amount is what you will pay in tuition for the upcoming year. Click here for information about other fees.

Is everyone at Steward required to submit an application for Variable Tuition?
No, this is an optional program for families who wish to participate.

How is Variable Tuition calculated?
The Steward School uses a third-party to collect certain financial data to then compute the estimated resources your family can afford to use for tuition. SSS by NAIS is a leading source for applications for private and independent schools across the United States. We compare the estimated family contribution from SSS to our available budget to determine your Variable Tuition. 

What is the timeline for applications for new and returning students?
Applications for new and returning students are due February 1. If you plan to apply after March 1, please contact Dena Dickson at (804) 565-2336 or

I am new to Steward. When will I be notified of the Variable Tuition decision?
The Variable Tuition decision is timed with (but separate from) the admissions acceptance. The Variable Tuition adjustment will be included in your contract.

Will I know what my Variable Tuition amount is before I enroll or re-enroll?
Yes, if you complete and submit the Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS) through SSS prior to admittance or by February 1.

Will returning students receive the same Variable Tuition year to year?
When we calculate Variable Tuition for a family, we are committed to providing the appropriate level of tuition for all of their years at Steward. If all factors remain the same, families can expect that their Variable Tuition will be similar to the prior year. We do require that you reapply each year to ensure that the calculation remains appropriate.

Does Steward offer a multi-student discount?
The number of children in tuition-paying schools including Steward can significantly affect a family’s ability to pay full tuition. Therefore, it is an important factor in a family’s Variable Tuition.

Who sees my PFS (Parent Financial Statement)?
Only the Variable Tuition committee reviews the PFS. The information and the process are treated with confidentiality.

I have children in other tuition-paying schools, including daycare. How do I account for this?
On the PFS, there is a question asking how many children are in tuition-paying schools. This also includes daycare for those students not in school. The calculation made by SSS takes this factor into account.

We are divorced. How do we complete the PFS?
Both parents are responsible for tuition. Both parents will need to complete the SSS application separately. Parents will not be able to see each other’s information.

We have not yet completed our taxes. What is the process?
Please make your best estimates and submit by the deadline. You may return to your application and update as needed. Upload the tax documents once completed.

We have invested in rental properties in lieu of more traditional retirement funds. Will this decision impact our application for Variable Tuition?
SSS by NAIS considers rental income as business income. Please include all rental income and expenses in your application.

As a family we’ve made the decision to have one parent stay home during the day. How will this affect our Variable Tuition?
We understand and support that everyone should make the choices that are best for their own families. We also recognize that the decision to stay at home with children impacts family finances. For families with children under the age of five, we calculate your Variable Tuition based on actual family income. If you have children over age five (school age), then the formula makes a modest assumption for possible income that’s unrealized. Of course, if there are special circumstances that require a parent not to work, then those should be listed on the form, and we will account for that in the decision.

As a family we make large donations to non-profits and our church. Will you take this into consideration?
As a non-profit, we understand the value of philanthropy. However, SSS by NAIS does not include that in their calculation of family need.

I have another family member who has special needs, medical conditions, or receives elder care. How do I show this on the PFS?
There is a section at the end of the application that asks for “other information” that might be helpful during the review process. Provide details in this section relating to anything that was not previously presented. Please provide documentation from an insurance company of unpaid claims and other statements that prove any additional request.

Who may I contact with further questions?
You may contact Dena Dickson at (804) 565-2336 or for any tuition-related questions specific to The Steward School, including your Variable Tuition. You may also contact SSS Customer Service Center at (800) 344-8328.






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