The Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Financial Aid

Financial Aid FAQs.


Photo Provided Courtesy Of Iolani School

Photo: Courtesy of ʻIolani School.



Everyone who is interested in a school should apply; that may be the only way you’ll learn if you qualify.



Q. Who should apply for financial aid? 

A. Everyone who is interested in a school should apply; that may be the only way you’ll learn if  you qualify. Most of the schools we spoke with are offering the same amount as years past. Make sure that you let the school know about any changes to your finances this year that are not reflected in your 2021 tax returns.


Q. Will applying for aid affect my child’s chances of being admitted? 

A. No. Admission and financial aid decisions are separate and independent.


Q. Is need determined by my salary? 

A. Not entirely. Many parents ask, “How much do I have to make in order to qualify?” It depends on each person’s situation. In years past, the advice was to see if you could set aside 10% of the tuition a month for 10 months by adjusting spending, maximizing earnings and evaluating your assets. If the payments were still beyond your reach, you might be a candidate. Now, most schools say it is best just to ask. has a calculator that takes into account various factors, including debt and number of children in tuition-charging institutions, to analyze need. Find it at


Q. Do I need to apply every year? 

A. Yes. In general, if there is little or no change in your family’s circumstances, you can expect the award to stay at about the same level.


Q. Are there other options for financial aid? 

A. Starting with the school of your choice is always best. The independent agency School and Student Services offers resources and support. There are also various scholarship opportunities available locally and nationally: Kamehameha Schools offers Pauahi Keiki Scholars and Kīpona scholarships for children with Native Hawaiian ancestry attending participating schools. Keep in mind that the deadline for Kīpona is in early fall and eligibility is limited to students in certain grade levels. Parents can apply for subsidies through PATCH Hawai‘i’s Preschool Open Doors program, Child Care Connection Hawai‘i, or Child Care Aware of America, which helps military families. Keiki O Ka ‘Āina’s HELP program also serves Native Hawaiian preschool children. Look for other resources from churches, community organizations and private foundations that support education.


Q. What are the common mistakes parents make?

A. Not starting early. Applications are often available in the fall and the process of gathering all the documents you need can be time-consuming. You’ll need your most recent tax returns before beginning. For instance, Ho‘āla School requires parents to complete a School and Student Services Parents’ Financial Statement. “To make our financial aid decisions, we use the information from the PFS as a starting point but also consider our school policy, practices and available budget,” says Christopher Campisano, the head of school. Turn in everything before the deadline so there is time for the office to ensure all necessary documents are in order, especially if the school needs any additional information to make a final decision. Reach out to the school for help if you have questions. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll receive aid.


Q. Do you need to repay financial aid? 

A. No. It is a grant, not a loan.


Q. If parents are divorced, do both of them still need to provide information?

A. Yes. Each biological parent needs to submit a separate form. Stepparents are often also required to do the same.