Admissions

Financial Aid

Tandem Friends School strives to admit a diverse student body representing many backgrounds, cultures, and walks of life. We seek out students who will thrive in our unique educational environment, maximize their opportunities at our school, and make a difference to our world when they graduate. We appreciate that for some families, an independent school education may represent a substantial financial commitment and require sacrifice.

To assist families with their educational goals, each year Tandem Friends makes a limited amount of financial aid available to families with demonstrated need. Financial aid at Tandem Friends is funded by our operating budget. We do not have an endowment specifically designated for financial aid. Thus, every year, the size of each grant will depend on several factors that include: the available operating budget (set annually by the Board of Trustees), projected enrollment, the financial aid applicant pool, and each family's unique circumstances. The Financial Aid Committee takes these elements into account and endeavors to fairly and objectively maximize each family's award while staying within budget.

Families should note that financial aid only covers tuition expense. Families should also budget for additional expenses throughout the school year that include such items as the technology/textbook fee, certain field trips, tutoring (if applicable), and test fees, to name a few.


Tandem Friends School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation or national ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship or loan programs, or athletic and other school-administered programs.

Applying for Financial Aid

Families apply for aid online, through our partner at ISM FAST, based in Wilmington, DE. To begin an application, click the FAST icon below. The financial aid application fee, which is collected by FAST and is separate froom Tandem's enrollment application fee, is $43, payable online by credit card. 

Divorced or Separated Parents: Download the Parent User Guide, available on the right, which lists special procedures for divorced or separated parents. The application expects financial information from both families. 

Please contact FAST at (877) 326-FAST (3278) with technical questions regarding the application process. For general questions about admissions or financial aid, please contact the Tandem Friends Business Office at 434-296-1303

When Forms are Due: Financial aid applications for returning families are due January 15, 2017. Enrollment applications and financial aid applications for new families are due in full on February 1, 2017.

As instructed by FAST, please submit your completed and signed 2015 Federal and State tax forms - including W-2's, 1099’s, and related schedules listed in the application. Returning families who complete their applications by January 15, 2017, will receive their award along with their re-enrollment contract. Returning family applications received after January 15, 2017 and new family applications should allow several weeks for a decision. Applications will be considered incomplete without tax forms and supporting documentation.

For verification, families will also need to submit their 2016 tax forms to FAST when completed (usually by April). This will include signed tax forms - including W-2's, 1099’s, and related schedules listed on the application form. 

Financial Aid FAQs

List of 14 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: Is our child's admission to Tandem Friends based on my family's financial need?

    No. We do not require families to furnish financial information on the admissions application. Our admission process focuses solely on the applicant’s academic qualifications and the fit between the applicant and TFS. Financial aid grants are made after an admissions decision has been reached.   

    Generally speaking, however, before applying for admission at Tandem Friends, families should carefully consider how they will pay for their child’s education, and what they would do if financial aid is not forthcoming.
  • Q: If our child is accepted to Tandem Friends, does that mean that we will automatically receive financial aid?

    No. Financial aid grants are determined after the student is accepted.

    If you think you need financial aid, you should apply at the time you submit your admissions application. Admission applications are read without regard for a family's ability to pay. It is possible that a student may be admitted and then the family either does not qualify for aid, or is placed in the financial aid wait pool.

    Keep in mind that, in fiarness to all, Tandem Friends will not award any financial aid to a family who has not completed a financial aid application.
  • Q: Who decides whether we receive financial aid and how much?

    At the beginning of each year, as part of the annual budgeting process, the Board of Trustees establishes a budget for financial aid that is part of the operating budget. The Head of School then appoints a Financial Aid Committee (FAC) consisting of senior members of staff. Once the application process is open to returning and new families, the FAC begins reviewing all completed aid applications. Financial aid applications are confidential, and only the FAC is permitted access to the files.

    FAST does not make financial aid decisions or churn out a “correct” number for financial aid. The purpose of the FAST application is to require all families to submit a standardized application that allows the committee to compare “apples to apples,” so to speak. In determining whether to award a grant and what size grant to award, the FAC weighs all information supplied in the application, including each family’s unique circumstances as described in the family letter.
  • Q: What are our chances of receiving financial aid?

    Parents often ask, “What is the income threshold for receiving aid?” The answer is that there isn't one. Every family has varying circumstances that affect its ability to pay for private education. These factors include family size, number of children attending tuition-charging schools, assets, and debts. If you think the cost to send your child to Tandem Friends School exceeds your ability to pay the tuition, then you should apply for financial aid. However, before applying for admission at Tandem Friends, families should carefully consider how they will pay for their child’s education, and what they would do if financial aid is not forthcoming.
  • Q: We have submitted a financial aid application. What are the possible outcomes?

    Financial Aid Grant - The Financial Aid Committee has determined that your family qualifies for financial aid and is offering a financial aid grant.

    Financial Aid Waiting List - Your family qualifies for financial aid as determined by the financial aid process, however, Tandem Friends does not currently have enough funds to meet your demonstrated need.

    Does Not Qualify - Your family does not qualify for financial aid as determined by the financial aid process and the Financial Aid Committee.
  • Q: What is the importance of the application deadlines?

    The financial aid budget is finite. Returning families who have received aid in the past are given preference. The remaining budgeted aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis after the deadline has passed. Once all aid has been dispensed, the process is closed for the year. Families should keep in mind that the Financial Aid Committee will not review an application until it is complete.
  • Q: If we qualify for financial aid, will we receive a similar award in future years?

    Tandem Friends cannot guarantee multi-year awards. Families are required to complete the financial aid application every year they are requesting aid and the Financial Aid Committee makes a new assessment each year. Each year, the size of each grant will depend on several factors that include: the available operating budget (set annually by the Board of Trustees), projected enrollment, the financial aid applicant pool, and each family's unique circumstances. The Financial Aid Committee takes these elements into account and endeavors to fairly and objectively maximize each family's award while staying within budget.

    We realize, however, that families need to make long-term budgets in order to afford their child’s education at Tandem Friends, and we endeavor to award grants that don’t fluctuate wildly from year to year.
  • Q: What expenses does financial aid cover?

    Financial aid covers tuition only. If the family accepts the committee's decision, the award amount is deducted from the regular tuition. All families, regardless of aid granted, should expect to pay all non-tuition fees, such as the technology and textbook fee, international student fee (if applicable), certain field trip fees, tutoring (if applicable), and test fees, to name a few. Please note that Tandem Friends does not supply meals to students; we have a lunch program that families may elect to pay for directly to the vendor.
  • Q: What about divorced or separated parents?

    Tandem Friends School expects that separated or divorced parents will contribute to the cost of their child's education regardless of whether or not there is a legal obligation for them to do so. The financial aid process considers all resources that might be available to the student. If either parent remarries, the Financial Aid Committee will take into consideration the obligation of that parent to his/her new family and the resources of the step-parent, given the obligation of the stepparent to his/her own children. Therefore, both parent and stepparent must submit financial information to our office.
  • Q: What should we do if our financial situation changes?

    Contact the Financial Aid Committee in writing to notify them of changes in your family's financial picture. Please send an explanation and documentation to the Director of Finance and Operations at Tandem Friends School, 279 Tandem Lane, Charlottesville, VA 22902.
  • Q: Can we appeal our financial aid award?

    Yes. The Financial Aid Committee will consider appeals. Please compose a detailed letter explaining why you feel your award merits reconsideration. Send the letter and any relevant documentation to the Director of Finance and Operations at Tandem Friends School, 279 Tandem Lane, Charlottesville, VA  22902.
  • Q: Can my child qualify for an athletic or merit scholarship?

    No. Currently, Tandem Friends does not offer athletic or merit scholarships. All tuition discounts are based on demonstrated financial need.
  • Q: Who will have access to our financial information?

    All materials are kept confidential and are reviewed only by members of the Tandem Friends School Financial Aid Committee. 
  • Q: Whom should we call if we have questions?

    Please contact FAST at (877) 326-FAST (3278) with technical questions regarding the application process. For general questions about admissions or financial aid, please contact the Tandem Friends School at (434) 296-1303.