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2017 Hawai‘i Private School Guide

(Sponsored) Find out what sets Hawai‘i private schools apart. Our Private School Guide has become the trusted resource for parents trying to find the best fit for their child’s education. Learn about the unique culture, classes and philosophies of some of Hawai‘i’s schools.


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Financial Aid FAQs

Q: Who should apply for financial aid?

A: Schools encourage all families in need to apply for financial assistance. Families should first evaluate their resources, maximize their earnings, alter spending habits and carefully manage their assets before applying for financial aid. One way to help gauge your need: If, after adjusting your finances, you still can’t set aside 10 percent of the school’s tuition per month for 10 months, you might be a candidate for financial aid.


Q: Is there a cutoff income amount to qualify for financial aid?

A: No. Income is just one of many factors that are considered when calculating need. The School and Students Service by NAIS (SSS) uses a formula accepted nationally among independent schools to analyze need and the family’s ability to contribute to educational expenses. There is no preset income amount that qualifies a family for financial aid. Various factors are considered, including assets, debt, family size, the number of children attending tuition-charging schools or colleges, even the responsibilities of caring for an elderly family member. Still wondering whether it’s realistic to apply? It may be helpful to visit Enter your basic financial data and it will calculate an estimate of how much your family could be expected to contribute toward tuition. 


Q: Can my child apply for academic, athletic or musical scholarships?

A: While financial aid is based on demonstrated financial need, there are some schools—Damien Memorial School and La Pietra, for example—that offer merit-based scholarships. Check with each school, as many scholarships are both merit- and need-based and will not be awarded to families who can afford the full tuition.


Q: What if my children are enrolled at different tuition-charging institutions?

A: In order to receive financial aid from one school, it is recommended that you apply for aid from all the schools your children attend. Other private-school tuitions you pay will then be factored into your financial-aid package. 


Q: Will applying for financial aid affect my child’s prospects of admission?

A: No. Admission and financial-aid decisions are completely separate.


Q: How early should we file our tax returns?

A: As early as possible. According to the Internal Revenue Service, W-2s and 1099s should be received by Jan. 31. Financial-aid deadlines for new students are often in February, and copies of your completed tax returns are required.


Q: What if I miss the deadline to apply for financial aid?

A: Although it’s never too late to apply for financial aid, funds are limited and may not be available to those who apply late. To receive the maximum benefit, parents are encouraged to meet the application deadlines. Pay close attention, as financial-aid application deadlines for incoming and returning students differ.


Q: Will my child’s financial-aid award change from year to year? What if our income changes?

A: You must reapply for financial aid every year, as it is recalculated using current information. Financial-aid offices take into account any changes, both gains and losses, and adjust the previous year’s award accordingly. Generally, if there is little or no change in your family’s circumstances, you can expect the award to stay at about the same level. Significant changes should be explained either in writing or in person to the financial-aid office so that the school can offer aid that considers the whole picture. Also note that financial-aid awards may be affected by the total funds budgeted and the number of applicants. But don’t be alarmed. Schools are doing everything they can to try to accommodate families’ requests; in fact, even as schools are seeing increases in financial-aid applications, some schools have increased their financial-aid budgets.


Q: If the parents are divorced, do both of them still have to provide information?

A: Yes. Each biological parent must submit a separate financial-aid application. If either parent has remarried, most schools require the income of stepparents to be included.


Q: What if one parent is not legally responsible for supporting the child’s education?

A: A copy of the divorce decree verifying this arrangement needs to be submitted to the school. If a biological parent cannot be located, submit documentation from an official source, such as an attorney, family doctor, clergy, social worker or employer.    


Q: Will we have to repay any financial aid we receive?

A: No. Financial aid is like a grant, not a loan, and need not be repaid.


Q: What are the main reasons financial aid is denied?

A: A family may have resources that disqualify them, or may have submitted too little information.


Q: Is there an appeals process?

A: Yes. To appeal a decision, you have to submit a written letter to the financial-aid committee explaining why it should reconsider. You might need to provide additional documents to support the appeal. If new or unknown circumstances are indicated on the family’s application, the school might be able to make adjustments to its offer.


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A Message From First Hawaiian Bank 


A Message from HAIS’ Executive Director


How Hawai‘i’s Independent Schools are Evolving in the 21st Century

Many independent schools in Hawai‘i and across the nation are rejecting traditional teaching styles to focus on new skills and project-based learning. Some parents worry this shift away from standard methods and tests puts students’ chances of getting into good colleges at risk. But educators say today’s constantly changing, technology-driven society requires different skills to survive college and beyond. Here’s how.


Applying to Private School: A Timeline

Thinking about private school for your child? Finding the right school for your child and getting her or him enrolled can take at least a year. Here is a 12-month timeline to make sure you don’t miss a crucial deadline along the way.


Catching Up 

You’ve missed a deadline in the application process; does that mean your child has no chance of getting admitted? Not necessarily. Here’s why there’s still a chance. 


What Does Accreditation Mean for Your Child?

You’ll notice schools claiming accreditation from an alphabet soup of organizations—AACS, ACSI, WASC, WCEA. We explain who these groups are and what their approval means.


What Are You Looking For? 

You and your child will want a clear idea of exactly what you’re looking for in a private school before you begin the search. Here are some general areas you might consider.


How to Ace the Interview 

The last, and often most dreaded, step of the application process is one that only your child can do: the personal interview.


Financial Aid FAQs

Commonly asked questions about financial aid.


Exploring Your Potential New Campus

Get a real sense of your child’s private-school options by digging deep into a campus visit.


Common Myths 

We debunk some of the most common rumors about private school admission with help from the folks in charge of who gets in. 


A Complete Directory to HAIS Independent Schools 

Information on 107 schools and two colleges.


2017 Listings of Private Schools 


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