Independent schools in Canada strive to be learning communities that are as diverse as the communities they serve. At SMUS, our goal is to celebrate diversity in many important ways that include gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and physical ability, to name just a few.
One way that we ensure another very important type of diversity—socio-economic diversity— is through a strong financial assistance program. Financial assistance is available to new and returning families, from any country, in any program, and for students at any grade level. Currently, about 1 in 5 families at SMUS receive some form of financial support.
Financial assistance is based on need, and at SMUS this need is determined by financial analysis. Like many independent schools in Canada, we use Apple Financial Services (AFS) to provide us with a recommendation based on an assessment of cash flow. The main reason that families do not qualify for financial assistance is the determination by AFS that the monies available for educational purposes (even after vacations and student hobbies/interests) exceed the tuition fees required to enrol a child.
Funding for the financial assistance program comes from three main sources: the tuition fees of all students, the School endowment funds, and the Annual Appeal. We are all the source of said funds, so in this way we are honouring the meaning of community. We are very thankful to our generous donors who provide direct funding as well as the many current SMUS families who pay tuition fees toward their own child’s education at SMUS. Without the contributions of both of these groups, we would not be able to support those who need it and we would be less of a diverse community as a result.
Our hope is that families who do struggle to pay the full tuition identify themselves so that we can provide support. If you or someone you know is interested in applying for financial assistance, the deadline for current SMUS families is February 8, 2019. You can read more about the program on the SMUS website. If you have any questions about the process, you are always welcome to contact me.