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SCHOOLS: Applewild Affordability Initiative

Applewild School Head Christopher Williamson and Board President William E. Aubuchon IV announced an Affordability Initiative which provides financial aid for a greater number of families. The K-8 independent school serves families from 31 towns in central MA and southern NH. Applewild purposefully maintains low tuition levels compared to peer schools in the region to help address affordability.

Thanks to a donor partnering with the school, Applewild is taking the lead in refining the formula by which financial aid is awarded to develop a new, systematic methodology to address what has become an issue that all independent schools are wrestling with - cost as an impediment to middle income families. Goal is to maintain a consistent approach to qualifying for aid, while expanding methodology to include families that the traditional approach leaves out.

The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and regional group, Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE), have been encouraging independent schools to look at affordability for a few years, and the recession of 2008 and its aftermath have brought the topic to forefront. Polls by NAIS and AISNE demonstrate that parents value high quality, individual attention, and core values of independent education. However, cost is a significant concern for many people, particularly those whose incomes may be too high to qualify for traditional aid but not high enough to realistically enable them to afford full cost of independent education.

The school will retain its AppleCore Merit Scholarships, available to new students entering grades four - seven. There are also limited Early Childhood Scholarships available for children entering grade two next year. Applewild will also maintain existing School and Student Services by NAIS (SSS) methodology used throughout the country by independent schools for determining financial aid. The school strives to address concerns of families for whom current full tuition is an impediment while providing an equitable approach for all families.

The school encourages those interested to find out about the new initiative. Families should contact Emily Bracchitta in the Admission Office, 978-342-6053, x110. . www.applewild.org

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