Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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“Everywhere you see excellence at Taft, you see students who could not contribute without the support of our financial aid program.”

Michael Hoffman
Director, Financial Aid

Who is eligible to apply for financial aid?

Anyone applying for admission to Taft is eligible to apply for financial aid. Current families receiving financial aid must reapply annually; aid is guaranteed for returning families who applied at time of admission, and remain qualified financially. Families who do not apply for aid as part of the admissions process must demonstrate a significant change in financial circumstance after enrollment in order to be considered for future aid. Taft cannot guarantee financial aid for families who do not apply for aid at the time of application.

We are very proud to support 35% of our students though our $9.3 million financial aid budget, and are committed to working very hard with every family to try to make a Taft education possible. Still, we cannot guarantee that every family’s financial needs can be met. All awards are based on demonstrated need and the availability of funds in our current-year budget; awards are not based on merit.

“Over the last 40 years, the school’s commitment to financial aid has increased 3,850%. Forty years ago our $200,000 financial aid budget could support only 16 percent of students. During Headmaster Willy MacMullen’s tenure in particular, the board of trustees has prioritized increasing the financial aid budget, so that today 35 percent of Taft students are supported through need-based financial aid.”

Michael Hoffman
Director, Financial Aid

Will applying for aid affect my chances of getting in?

Taft initially employs a “need-blind” approach to reviewing applications for admission. Sometimes, as the process advances, we find that overall applicant need exceeds our financial aid budget. In those cases, it may become necessary to weigh need as one of a multitude of factors influencing our admissions decisions.

If assistance is need-based, how do you determine need?

“Access, Achievement, and Affordability are the three goals of the Taft Financial Aid office. Although most students receiving financial aid likely overlap in multiple categories, the “AAA” definition is the simplest way to categorize how our office allocates aid. Access in financial aid means providing enrollment opportunities to talented students for whom the resources of a Taft education and diploma can truly be life changing.”
Michael Hoffman
Director, Financial Aid

Taft subscribes to the School and Student Services (SSS), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families navigate the path to an independent school education. SSS is a service of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

Working though the SSS website, families will complete and submit a “Parents’ Financial Statement” (PFS). Taft also requires that two-years (most current) worth of complete tax returns—schedules included; copies of all parent W2 and 1099 forms from the most current filing year; business tax returns for families who own their own businesses. As with the PFS, this supporting documentation must also be submitted through the SSS website.


Once SSS receives a family’s information, they apply a time-tested, objective, and standardized computation methodology to estimate just how much that family can contribute to the cost of an independent school education; their methodology is built on the principle that families of equal means should receive equal awards, and is considered the industry standard. Our Financial Aid Committee uses the SSS assessment of a family’s ability to pay as a basis for our financial aid decisions, taking many factors into consideration, including but not limited to family income, assets and liabilities, parents’ ages, unusual family or medical expenses, family size, and all of the education costs facing each family.

While all families receiving aid at Taft must qualify on the basis of their income and assets, the divergence of tuition costs from income growth means more and more families qualify for financial aid each year. Here’s how this year’s allocation looks:

Financial Aid Awards for US and Canadian Students Admitted in 2018*
Family Income (Boarding Students) Average Award Average Tuition # of Awards
<$60,000 $60,750 $450 9
$60,000—$100,000 $57,700 $3,500 9
$100,000—$140,000 $56,300 $4,900 7
$140,000—$180,000 $53,050 $8,150 9
>$180,000 $33,600 $27,600 25
Family Income (Day Students) Average Award Average Tuition # of Awards
<$60,000 $40,000 $5,600 2
$60,000—$100,000 $40,000 $5,600 3
$100,000—$140,000 $37,140 $8,460 5
$140,000—$180,000 $33,500 $11,100 2
>$180,000 $16,825 $28,775 8

Average Award for International Students Admitted in 2018

15 international students received an average award of $56,050 and average tuition of $5,150.

*Family income, family size, and the number of students in tuition-charging schools are all considered in awarding aid.

Is financial aid available for non-US citizens?

Limited financial assistance is available to foreign nationals. International families should complete the PFS online to the best of their ability and be prepared to submit translated tax and income documents if requested.

What if parents are separated or divorced?

The Financial Aid Committee will consider the income and assets of custodial, non-custodial, and stepparents before making an award. As such, each household must submit a separate Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS) through School and Student Services (SSS). We recognize that each family situation is unique, and welcome your inquiries at (860) 945-7777 or

Is the information submitted with the financial aid application kept confidential?

Yes. All applications for financial aid are held in the strictest confidence, and reviewed only by the Director of Financial Aid, members of the Financial Aid Committee, and the Director of Admission.

Unlike many other institutions, Taft does not require financial aid recipients to fulfill work commitments beyond that of any Taft student. Each student is simply expected to maintain the high personal and academic qualities evidenced at the time of admission to the school.

When will we know if we have received a financial aid award?

Information about financial aid awards is included in new student acceptance packets in March. Financial aid awards are mailed to returning families in April.

Will we be required to reapply for financial aid each year?

Recognizing that life moves quickly and change happens fast, we want to be sure that we have the most current and complete picture of your finances. To that end, we do require returning families to reapply for aid each year. And while the size of the award may vary as family circumstances and tuition costs change, you should expect that assistance will continue throughout your child’s Taft career.

Note: The filing deadline for returning families is March 1; awards are made in early April.