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© Copyright 2017 by MMSC Day School. Proudly created with Wix.com

8420 Dayton Ave N

Seattle, WA 98103

Tel: 206-523-9766

Email: info@mmscdayschool.org

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Admissions FAQ

The application and financial aid processes can sometimes seem daunting when going through the for the first time. Please feel free to contact the Admissions Office with any questions.

 

You may jump to any of the following areas of the FAQs:

 
 
Admissions Requirements FAQs

Does my child need to be fluent in Hebrew?

 

A percentage of MMSC's current student body have no prior Jewish day school education. Students need to be able to read Hebrew phonetically. Comprehension is not necessary for our beginning program. Students, however, need to be able to write Hebrew script, not block letters. If students have not been taught to write the script letters in their afternoon Hebrew school classes, they can easily learn this skill during the summer. Each applicant is tested to determine the level of his/her Hebrew background. Testing is held prior to the opening of school.

My child's father is Jewish, but the mother is not. Can my child attend MMSC?

 

We accept all Jewish children who are born to Jewish mothers, in accordance with Jewish law. For mothers who were not born Jewish, proof of an Orthodox conversion is required.

 

My child's mother went through conservative/reform conversion. Can my child attend MMSC?

 

We accept all Jewish children who are born to Jewish mothers, in accordance with Jewish law. For mothers who were not born Jewish, proof of an Orthodox conversion is required.

 

What is the school's policy toward requiring volunteer hours from parents receiving tuition assistance?  Conversely, should parents who devote a lot of volunteer time to a school be given extra breaks when requesting tuition reduction? 


All parents are encouraged to help the school in whatever capacity they can.  The TAC does not give special consideration to parents who help the school.  The TAC considers the financial situation of each applicant.

 

Financial Aid Process FAQs

 

The full tuition price charged by MMSC is equal to the cost MMSC incurs to educate a child. Therefore, for the TAC to grant financial aid, it means the TAC feels that the need presented by the applicant justifies asking our donors to fund that amount of aid. It's a common misconception that the gap is funded by The Samis Foundation. It is not. Assessments are based on the data provided by applicants, as verified by their tax returns, and every family is assessed using the same system. This can be difficult and sometimes feel like an intrusive process. The TAC understands this and uses the utmost discretion in making an evaluation. The following represents the guidelines of MMSC in regard to applicants for tuition assistance for their family.

 

Who is involved in deciding if a family is eligible for tuition assistance?

 

The Tuition Assistance Committee (TAC) consists of two or more persons appointed by the President of the Board of Directors. Each appointed member is anonymous in order to promote objectivity. The TAC members identities are not known to anyone outside of the TAC.

 

Is the Head of School involved at any stage of the process? Are members of the Board of Directors of the school involved?

 

No, except in the limited sense of helping new applicants take the necessary steps to apply. The Head of School is not involved in the decision making and is not informed as to the decisions reached. The Head of School has no input or influence on the decisions. Board members (except if they are on the school’s TAC) are likewise not involved.

 

Who else is involved?

The Samis Foundation has graciously agreed to coordinate the work of the school’s TAC. The Director of Finance for Samis, Linda Sullivan, who is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) oversees the process. She helps in securing

required information from applicants and in coordinating applications with FAST. She has an advisory role in the school’s TAC decision making.

 

What is the school's policy toward requiring volunteer hours from parents receiving tuition assistance? Conversely, should parents who devote a lot of volunteer time to a school be given extra breaks when requesting tuition reduction?

 

All parents are encouraged to help the school in whatever capacity they can. The TAC does not give special consideration to parents who help the school. The TAC considers the financial situation of each applicant.

 

Is there a minimum tuition regardless of financial situation?

Yes. For the 2019-20 school year, the minimum tuition is $1,600 for K-8, and $7,500 for preschool (for a full week, mornings-only schedule).

What is the appeal process if we feel the decision of the TAC is unfair?

Step 1: Write a letter addressing the TAC and submit to the Admissions Office, detailing the change in circumstances or new information. The TAC will review your case and respond with their decision.

 

Step 2: If the response is not to your satisfaction, there is a reconsideration process by which a request can be made to the Board of Director’s Designated Trustee. This person is a Board member whose responsibility is to act as a conduit between the TAC and the applicants to help in the communication process. During this process the families are encouraged to submit additional information and to seek clarification of the decision making process. The Designated Trustee is the sole conduit of communications between the TAC and the family in this reconsideration process.

 

What is done with the information parents submit to FAST and to the TAC committee?

The information and documentation is deleted and destroyed when the family no longer has children in the Samis beneficiary schools.

 

FAST Process FAQs

What is FAST and how does it work?

 

FAST is a commercial company that crunches numbers for approximately 1,200 private schools and colleges throughout the country and deals with about 50,000 families requesting tuition assistance. Since the system works with so many families it has the ability to compare a vast number of family situations. This minimizes the risk that a family will be treated in an unfair manner and enhances objectivity.

 

What documentation do you need to consider our family’s application?

 

Full tuition will be assessed when full documentation is provided. This means filling out, in full, the FAST application, and providing all required documents. The required documents are the previous year’s federal tax returns, including returns of all business entities in which the family has an equity interest. In the case of divorced parents, we usually also require a copy of the decree of dissolution and the settlement agreement. This is so that the TAC can understand the obligations of each parent in regard to educational expenses of the children and the expenses/income relating to child support and maintenance. In the case of capital gains, the TAC may require more detailed asset information.

Which years’ tax returns are required?

 

The previous 2 years of tax returns are required (for example, for the 2017-’18 school year, the 2015 and 2016 tax returns are required.) Generally, by the time families make their financial assistance applications, the only returns available are for the previous year. An application made, for example, by the deadline of January 31 of each year requires the tax return for the previous year. Thus, the

tax information is a year plus a few months out of date, i.e., not updated for the school year in which the assistance is requested. All tuition reduction decisions are explicitly tentative pending receipt of the current year's tax returns, because it is understood that the FAST application requires the parents to estimate their current financial situation. Since all returns are required to be filed by October 15, more than a month and a half into the current school year, that is also the deadline for providing the school with the return so that adjustment can be made to the tuition assistance for the current school year.

 

Financial Aid Computation FAQs

 

How does the FAST program treat various financial factors?

 

The following is an overall summary:

 

Total Income: All sources of income + Imputed Income (income assumed from (Net Worth-200k)*4%).

 

Total Expenses:

Living Allowance:

 

(Roughly $29k per family + $3,600 for each child).

(Medical expenses, daycare for 2 working parents). (Bar/bat mitzvahs or weddings expenses (limited to $5k) are manually included in this number from Samis’ review of application).

 

Housing Costs:

(Mortgage or rent + property tax + insurance + home owners dues).

 

Utility costs:

(Gas, electricity, heating).

 

Insurance:

(Health – unlimited, auto-limited to $2,600, life – limited to $1,500).

 

Taxes:

(Federal and Local, excluding property).

 

Social Security Tax:

(Computed from income noted in application).

 

Allowed Savings:

(Limited to 4% savings from income noted in application). Income Available for Tuition:

Total Income – Total Expenses = Income Available for Tuition (all schools, all children).

 

Does the process assume all discretionary income is to be paid in tuition?

 

Yes, this computation assumes that while on reduced tuition, discretionary income is paid in tuition.

 

What about the usual fact that Jewish living expenses tend to be higher than the national averages considered by the FAST formulas?

 

The TAC does make adjustments for Jewish living but with certain limits, described below. When applying for financial aid through our FAST site, you have the opportunity to specify the expenses unique to Jewish living.

 

What is allowed for bar/bat mitzvahs and weddings?

 

The school allows an expense of $5,000 for bar and bat mitzvahs and weddings. It is realized that these events usually costs more but that they can be done for this amount. It is considered discretionary expenses beyond this level. The idea is that it should not be the school budget that suffers when a family incurs larger expenses.

 

What credit should be given for charitable obligations such as synagogue membership?

 

None. This is incorporated into the FAST formulas and the amounts the school allows for living expenses. All parents are encouraged to contribute to the Samis Partnership by contributing to the school in recognition that tuition covers only a small portion of the total cost of educating each child.

 

Do you calculate charity given as discretionary expense or as a standard living expense?

 

Our school considers up to 10% of your income given to charity as a standard living expense. Amounts beyond 10% are considered discretionary expenditure.

What allowance is made for day care expenses for younger children in a family and for summer camps?

 

If both parents work, reasonable day care expenses are considered a family expense. Likewise, summer camp is treated to be the equivalent of day care. Only an amount equal to the costs of local day camps and overnight camps are considered. If a family chooses a more expensive camp (for example, located in Israel or out-of-state), that is considered a discretionary expenditure, and the higher cost, beyond what local camps charge, is not considered.

 

What is ‘imputed income’, how does it factor into the TAC’s evaluation, how is it calculated and what is its justification?

Net assets are considered to be a source of economic resources available to a family to help pay for tuition. The TAC allows for a net worth far in excess of the average net worth of families in the US. We allow for $200,000. Many of the families who apply have no net worth or minimal assets. This includes equity in real estate, savings accounts, investments, retirement accounts. For amounts above $200,000 our formula considers 4% of it to be income.

 

Is family life style considered by the TAC?

 

Yes. When it is obvious that the information submitted, including tax returns, is inconsistent with life style, further explanation will be required. The same is true when there is an inconsistency between previous years’ applications and the

information submitted in previous years. The TAC has available all applications previously made.

 

Special Circumstances

What if the family financial situation deteriorates during the school year? What if it improves?

 

The school has a policy of re-evaluation if a family's financial situation deteriorates during the school year. The TAC encourages parents to give the TAC the opportunity to adjust the charged tuition downward. The school also requires a family to inform the TAC when the resources available to the family improve during the year. Examples are bonuses, capital gains, inheritances, major gifts and so on.

 

What if a family forgets to inform the TAC of the improvements in family finances discussed immediately above?

 

If a family does not inform the TAC of improvements in financial situation, the TAC may re-compute what the tuition should have been for the year in which assistance was provided and add it to the current year’s tuition.

 

How does the TAC treat parents that have incurred voluntary major debt such as a car purchase, purchase of a second home, home remodeling, or trips to Israel?

 

Such expenses are not usually considered. Such expenses are considered to be a matter for normal family budgeting which is included in the allowances for living expenses.

 

What about the family whose income is irregularly and highly variable such as realtors, personal injury lawyers, commissioned sales people, caterers, family business owners?

These are situations in which the TAC understands that estimated income is hard to predict. The family should do the best it can but then submit updates periodically to the TAC so that tuition levels can be adjusted during the school year. This must include information on both improvements and reductions of expected income.

How does the TAC consider the situation of divorced or separated parents?

The TAC will endeavor to make the same determination it makes for all applicants—to determine what is available for tuition. We will require submission of copies of the child support and maintenance and other financial provisions required to be filed with the court in dissolution proceedings. We understand that expenses must be adjusted to support two households.

 

How does the TAC assess the situation of children of faculty members of the school or of other local schools on the FAST system?

 

Faculty of MMSC or of other Samis beneficiary schools receive no special consideration and are treated the same as other parents.

 

How does the TAC assess the situation of children of local clergy members?

 

Their financial situation is fully assessed in the same manner as all other parents. The TAC does take into consideration situations where clergy have an IRS obligation greatly reduced because of parsonage allowances available to them.