How does financial aid work at LCS? How is it awarded? How is it funded? Why offer financial aid, anyway?
Christian education is one of the most important investments a family can make in their children. We are thankful for each family who has made this sacrifice, but also understand that for some families, full tuition is not feasible at their current income levels. A thoughtful, clearly- articulated financial aid program is one of the most important resources available to keep Christian schooling at LCS accessible to the greatest number of mission-appropriate families.
Financial aid can be one area of school operations that can be misunderstood and questioned by those within and outside of the school. Let’s address some of the common questions and perceptions about financial aid so that more of us can be informed on this topic.
1. On what basis is financial aid awarded?
All financial aid offered by LCS is need-based. Applicants apply through FACTS (our provider for tuition management services), and the school is provided with a recommended level of award based on FACTS’ review of the applicant’s IRS 1040 form and other financial information provided by the family.
2. Does LCS offer athletic scholarships?
No. All financial aid awards are based on financial need as verified by an approved third party financial need assessment service. FACTS has been approved for this purpose. Financial aid is not awarded on the basis of a student’s ability to perform in athletics, academics, fine arts, or any other curricular or co-curricular program. In the case of athletics, the Florida High School Athletic Association prohibits any financial assistance in excess of the amount of need identified by the financial needs assessment service. LCS does not award aid above the amount specified by FACTS.
3. Is LCS able to provide families with the whole amount of financial aid identified by FACTS?
Unfortunately, the total amount of funds available to distribute has never matched the level of our families’ FACTS identified need. LCS normally provides a portion of the identified need for each family and makes intentional effort to distribute aid in such a way to assist as many students as possible.
4. What funds from outside sources are available to LCS families?
Step Up for Students - These awards are corporate scholarship funds established by Florida statute. Corporations donate to these funds to reduce their state tax burden and to help lower- income families have the opportunity to choose non-public schooling for their children. Families who would qualify for free or reduced lunch in the federal lunch program qualify for this assistance. A separate application process is required.
Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts (PLSA) - These are corporate scholarship funds established to assist students with special education needs.
McKay Scholarships- These are state monies that are accessible for students with documented special education needs. The amount of funding varies with the severity of the learning need. Families who have documented IEPs for their student(s) can apply.
5. What other forms of financial assistance are awarded by LCS?
The Families in Crisis Scholarship Fund was established to provide short term tuition assistance for families who suffer the loss of a parent or other exceptional emergency situation. The goal is to insure that students who are experiencing this level of life-changing event will be able to continue at LCS during this adjustment period.
The Gateway Financial Aid Program supplements the LCS financial aid program to provide assistance to minority families. The goal of the program is to increase the diversity of the student body while providing opportunity for students who would not otherwise have access to Christian schooling.
Discovery Program Financial Aid provides assistance to families with children with autism who are enrolled in the LCS Discovery Program. Most families have access to McKay funding, but many require additional assistance as tuition for this program exceeds $24,000.
6. Where does the money come from?
Step Up for Students/PLSA Scholarships- corporate scholarship dollars. (See #4)
McKay Scholarships- state education funds
LCS financial aid; Discovery Financial Aid; Gateway Financial Aid, Families in Crisis Scholarship Fund- combination of private donations designated for those funds and some budgeted funds.
7. What are the benefits of a financial aid program?
The most obvious benefit is for students who would not normally be able to attend a Christian school to gain access to a Christ-centered education. It also enables the school to have more economic diversity and provides an increased level of racial and ethnic diversity. A less obvious benefit is that the whole student body benefits from the participation of over 150 students who would not be among us without financial aid. These students add a great deal to our classrooms, our various activity programs, and to our fine arts performances. The overall LCS experience is enriched by the presence of these students and their families.
8. How can I support the LCS financial aid programs?
Investing in the lives of LCS students is a great way to have lasting influence in young lives. The need always exceeds the funds available, so we are grateful to receive gifts that enable us to help more families provide Christian schooling for their children. All gifts to LCS financial aid are tax deductible. You may designate your gift to the general financial fund, Families in Crisis, Gateway, Discovery Program, or the area of greatest need. Give now by clicking here.
Financial Aid Metrics for 2015-16 (157 students receiving financial aid)
Feature graphic: Image courtesy of hywards at FreeDigitalPhotos.net