Increasing equity and access to Hilltop Montessori School through our Indexed Tuition Program
Hilltop recognizes the needs and benefits of economic diversity in our community for all students and families, and we have worked to make this a priority. A Hilltop education accessibe to a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds cultivates a diverse student body, which not only reflects our community but aspires to global impact and enrichment.
It is a community effort to financially support the educational experience of Hilltop Montessori School. We are a 501c(3) non-profit independent school that is primarily funded by tuition, fundraising, and grants. Each year we balance the competing needs of providing the best education for our students and family financial situations. Our annual operating budget is just over $2M; tuition contributions at each tier are essential to the financial viability of Hilltop. The indexed tuition model is part of our larger goal of making Hilltop more accessible for all families. This model depends on families contributing at all levels. The family contributing 25% is feeling the impact on their ability to meet their financial needs equally to the family contributing 100%.
Indexed Tuition Program
How much tuition will I pay? Families, who qualify for one of the state programs and/or who qualify for Indexed Tuition through School and Student Services (SSS), will pay for a percentage of tuition below the top tier (100%). This chart shows the different tiers and the amount of tuition families would contribute.
2019-20 Family Contribution Percentage
When is the SSS Application Due?
What if I miss the Indexed Tuition application due date? Hilltop relies primarily on tuition income to fund our school. For that reason, we need to manage our Indexed Tuition Program carefully. It is very important that families follow the indexed tuition application timeline in order to receive full consideration for indexed tuition.
As a prospective family can I apply after the deadline? Yes, although applications completed outside the above timeline will be considered on a rolling admission basis and may be subject to limited space and/or indexed tuition.
Hilltop uses state program adjustments and/or recommendations from the School and Student Services (SSS) in determining eligibility for indexed tuition. To apply through SSS you will need to complete a Parents Financial Statement (PFS).
Applying for Indexed Tuition through SSS, School and Student Services
Step 1. Complete a Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS) at School and Student Services
Step 2 . Upload the required supporting documents to your account at SSS by NAIS.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Indexed Tuition? The Indexed Tuition Program matches families of all income levels with a level of tuition that is based on their specific situation. While every family is expected to contribute to the cost of tuition and to support the community to the extent individual family circumstances permit, the school does not expect each tuition level to be the same. Total Tuition – State Funding (if applicable) – Hilltop Tuition Reduction = Indexed Tuition (Family Contribution)
How does Hilltop use tuition income?
- Tuition from families represents 70% of the 2018-19 operating budget.
- Income from state programs, grants, fundraising and endowment withdrawals represent 30% of the 2018-19 operating budget.
Who is eligible for Indexed Tuition?
- 50% of Hilltop families pay below the top index.
- Indexed Tuition levels are determined by state guidelines and/or a family’s entire financial profile: income, assets, family size, unusual expenses, etc.
- Indexed Tuition levels are assessed by the Indexed Tuition Committee and SSS and state program qualifications and guidelines.
Who can access state funding programs? Hilltop Montessori School participates in several state programs that enable 25% of our families to receive state funding towards a reduction in their tuition.
Who is eligible for state funding?
- All families of 3 and 4 year olds in Vermont qualify for the Vermont Universal PreK Program. For the 2019 -20 academic year they will receive $3,356 per child to cover a portion of the tuition.
- Families who qualify for Vermont Child Care Financial Assistance receive the maximum allowed amount because Hilltop is a 5-STAR program.
- As a Vermont accredited independent school, Hilltop accepts tuition vouchers from families who live in “sending” towns. The voucher puts the family contribution for tuition at approximately the 25% indexed tuition level.
State Funding Programs
1. Universal Prekindergarten Program for Vermont
Hilltop Montessori School in partnership with local school districts under Vermont’s Act 166 (Universal Prekindergarten Program) will recieve $3,365 for each Vermont child age 3 or 4 by September 1st in 2019-20. This funding covers a portion of tuition for eligible families and puts all PreK students (regardless of need) at about the 75% Indexed Tuition tier. Should a family also apply through SSS, they may qualify for a lower indexed tuition level.
To participate in this program, access registration forms through your school district (the school districts and corresponding towns are listed below) by downloading the form and submitting your registration to the appropriate district.
Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, Putney, Vernon
Brookline, Dover, Jamaica, Marlboro, Newfane,Townshend, Stratton, Wardsboro, Windham
Halifax, Readsboro, Searsburg, Stamford, Whitingham, Wilmington
2. Vermont’s Tuition Voucher System
Many smaller Vermont towns do not operate a local elementary or middle school. Students in these towns are eligible to choose from a public or an independent school in other towns. Under the voucher system, the “sending” towns pay tuition directly to the “receiving” schools. When students attend an independent school, the payment is set at the Vermont statewide average per-pupil cost in union school districts, calculated by the Department of Education. The voucher amount sets the family amount at about the 25% indexed tuition level.
For more information see https://education.vermont.gov/documents/data-town-district-tuitioning-list
3. The Vermont Child Care Financial Assistance Program
The Child Care Financial Assistance Program is designed to help families pay for child care for children birth through age 12. Sliding scale awards are made to income-eligible families qualifying under one of the following service needs:
- Parents working or in school;
- Parents who are self-employed or have recently started a business;
- Parents seeking employment;
- Parents participating in training activities through Economic Services Reach Up program.
- Families with a level of stress that creates an at-risk situation;
- Families with parents or children who have documented physical or mental health needs;
- Families with children substantiated as abused or neglected and under the care of protective services.
- The Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development determines eligibility for this program.
For more information see http://winstonprouty.org/child-care-financial-assistance-program/
What Indexed Tuition Tier will my family be eligible for?
The following Case Studies are designed to give families a general idea of the tuition ranges and some of the major factors that influence where a family may fall within those ranges. For the school to determine the exact level of tuition the entire Parent Financial Statement (PFS) must be completed and/or participation in the state programs. Each family’s financial situation is considered thoroughly and confidentially on an induvidual basis to ensure attention to each family’s special circumstances.
Case Study 1 – 25% Index Tuition Family
A family of two, a single parent and an elementary student, where the parent’s taxable income is $15,000. The family owns a home with a net equity of $69,000 and has other investments of $1,500.
- Income: $15,000
- Net assets: $35,500
- Loans and Debt: ($120,000)
- Net Worth: ($85,000)
- SSS computed family contribution: $0
- Family offers to pay: $2,000
Indexed Tuition Amount: Child 1 – $4,200
Case Study 2 – 50% Index Tuition Family
A family of four, two parents and two Children’s House students, one student recieves Vermont pre-k funding of approximately $3,000. The parents’ taxable income is $39,000. The family owns a home with a net equity of $70,000 and has other investments of $17,000.
- Income: $39,000
- Net assets: $87,000
- Loans and Debt: $61,000
- SSS computed family contribution: $0
- Money received from other sources: $5,000
- Family offers to pay: $12,000 total
Indexed Tuition Amount: Child 1(half day) – $4,775 Child 2 – $7,675
Case Study 3 -75% Index Tuition Family
A family of four, two parents and two children. One in Children’s House who recieves Vermont pre-k funding of approximately $3,000 and one elementary. The parents’ taxable income is $148,000. The family owns a home with a net equity of $63,000 and has other investments of $17,000.
- Income: $148,000
- Net assets: $93,000
- Loans and Debt: ($29,000)
- SSS computed family contribution: $7,000
- Family offers to pay: $13,000 total
Indexed Tuition Amount: Child 1 – $11,513 Child 2 – $12,600
Case Study 4 – 75% and100% Index Tuition Family
A family of four, two parents and two children. One in Children’s House who recieves Vermont pre-k funding of approximately $3,000 and one in elementary. The parents’ taxable income is $163,000. The family owns a home with a net equity of $807,000 and has other investments of $141,000.
- Income: $163,000
- Net assets: $952,000
- Loans and Debt: ($4,000)
- SSS computed family contribution: $17,000
- Family offers to pay: $23,000 total
Indexed Tuition Amount: Child 1 – $11,513 (reduced by Pre-K funding) Child 2 – $16,800