Admissions
Affording Archer
Flexible Tuition

FAQs

About Flexible Tuition

Archer’s need-based program has a limited budget. While the School cannot guarantee Flexible Tuition, we strive to provide it to the widest possible socioeconomic range of students. The School believes that parents have an obligation to pay the educational expenses of their children. Therefore, every family is expected to have exhausted all financing avenues available to them before Flexible Tuition is issued. If a family has children over the age of six, it is expected that both parents are employed. In addition, a family's eligibility will be based on the analysis of second mortgages, retirement funds, savings accounts, funds from extended family members, and bank loans. All Archer families pay some tuition.

In reviewing each application, the Flexible Tuition Committee considers both FAST’s recommendation and any additional financial information the family is asked to provide including: the family’s other children, additional dependents, all sources of income, priority of spending, debts and expenses. Our FAQs cover many questions that have to do with policy. Please read through all of them, especially if you are new to the process.

The FAST online application is now available for the 2019-2020 school year. Click on the Flexible Tuition link for more information and to complete an online application.

The deadline to apply for Flexible Tuition for new applicant families is January 18, 2019.


If you have any additional questions, please contact Jessica McCullagh, Enrollment & HR Manager, Flexible Tuition Specialist, at jmccullagh@archer.org or (310) 873-7018.

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 20 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. ¿Necesita ayuda en español?

    Por favor llame a Carla Alcala al (310) 873-7031 o por correo electrónico a calcala@archer.org.
  • Q. Does applying for Flexible Tuition affect an application for admission?

    No. The Admissions Committee considers an applicant based on her own merit. A family’s financial situation is not discussed in admissions deliberations. The Flexible Tuition Committee is charged with assessing the financial strength of those students’ families accepted through the admissions process.
  • Q. If I do not apply for Flexible Tuition at the time of my daughter’s application to Archer, would I be able to apply in subsequent years?

    Yes. However, the likelihood of receiving Flexible Tuition would be significantly reduced. Archer strives to maintain stability and equity by allocating and dispersing Flexible Tuition evenly throughout the grade levels. While our Flexible Tuition Committee will accept and review your application, you should be aware that our budget will have been set based upon our commitment to fund students already in the Flexible Tuition Program from the prior year. This typically leaves little room for adding additional participants in the Flexible Tuition Program. Our expectation is that if you know you will need to apply for Flexible Tuition in future years, you will not enroll your child for the first year without it.
  • Q. Will every admitted student eligible for Flexible Tuition receive it?

    Unfortunately, no. Every year there are more applicants for Flexible Tuition than available funds. Archer is unable to provide Flexible Tuition to every qualified student. However, qualified students who do not initially receive it are placed in a Flexible Tuition wait-pool in the hopes that funds become available.
  • Q. What happens if my daughter is accepted by the Admissions Committee, we qualify for Flexible Tuition but no Flexible Tuition funds are available (we are in the Flexible Tuition wait-pool)?

    If you are able to secure full tuition and fees for your daughter’s first year at Archer, you will be expected to do so for her remaining years. If you are not able to secure funds or a loan on your own, the school continues to be unable to offer Flexible Tuition that matches your family’s financial strength, and the enrollment deadline has passed, the Admissions Office will release the admission space and fill it with a student waiting in the Admissions wait-pool.
  • Q. Who receives Flexible Tuition?

    To be eligible for Flexible Tuition consideration, a family must submit a complete Flexible Tuition application by the deadline of January 18, 2019, qualify for need-based Flexible Tuition, and match available Flexible Tuition. During the 2018-2019 academic year, 22% of Archer’s student body will benefit from the Flexible Tuition Program. Recipients come from families with a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Q. How are Flexible Tuition applications handled in situations where parents are separated, divorced, remarried, or cohabitants?

    Flexible Tuition will not be considered unless complete financial information is received from both parents. Both parents are required to fill out a Flexible Tuition application completely. It is expected that both parents and all adults financially responsible for a student contribute to the cost of a student’s education regardless of legal agreements. The Flexible Tuition Committee does not feel bound by the assertion that one parent disclaims responsibility for educational expenses.
  • Q. How is a Flexible Tuition application handled if one parent does not work?

    If a family has children over the age of six, it is expected that both parents are employed. If one parent chooses not to work, then a full-time income at minimum wage ($12.00/hour or $24,960) will be imputed to that parent for purposes of Flexible Tuition calculations.
  • Q. What is the average Flexible Tuition grant?

    The average Flexible Tuition for the 2018-2019 school year is 83% of tuition and the TSF fee. Archer’s Flexible Tuition Program distributed more than $4 million in tuition assistance. Because the need of applying families exceeds our Flexible Tuition resources, Archer may meet less than 100% of a family’s demonstrated need, or Reported Family Contribution, as reported by FAST. Absent a change in a family’s financial circumstances, the amount a student receives in the first year generally sets the budget for subsequent years so that a family may plan through graduation. We encourage direct communication with the School to discuss individual family circumstances.
  • Q. Is Flexible Tuition automatically renewed each year?

    Archer supports the continued attendance of students through graduation, pending annual demonstration of continued need. A family currently in the Flexible Tuition Program must reapply for it each subsequent year. Typically, Flexible Tuition applications are available in September and must be submitted by mid-January. Given the same financial circumstances, a family can expect to contribute generally the same amount toward an Archer education plus the annual tuition percentage increase.
  • Q. Do we have to pay back our Flexible Tuition?

    Flexible Tuition funds are distributed by the School from a fixed budget that is provided by investments and annual contributions from Archer alumnae, parents, and friends. Flexible Tuition need not be repaid. However, in the spirit of our founding, there is a general expectation that alumnae who received Flexible Tuition as students will eventually contribute to the school to allow future generations to experience the same opportunities.
  • Q. How can I be assured that my information is kept confidential?

    A Flexible Tuition application is a confidential process between the School and family. Decisions are based on thorough investigations of a family’s personal financial matters—information to which the public is not privy. In turn, we expect families to exercise discretion during the Flexible Tuition process and not discuss their Flexible Tuition application or approved Flexible Tuition with other families. Materials submitted to FAST are highly secure. For more information, please refer to the FAQ page (Help Center) on the FAST website. A family is able to track receipt of materials sent to FAST through their password-protected account.
  • Q. What if I know of a family who is struggling with the cost of an Archer education but may not want to contact the school?

    Encourage that family to contact the School so they can find out if applying for Flexible Tuition is right for them.
  • Q. What if I get behind in my tuition payments and decide to apply for flexible tuition or reapply for continued Flexible Tuition?

    Tuition accounts for currently enrolled students must be in good standing with the Business Office to receive Flexible Tuition. If you are in financial arrears with the Business Office, Flexible Tuition will not be considered. All families are required to meet payment schedules under the terms of the Enrollment Agreement, a legally-binding document. Failure to do so may result in dismissal. Archer looks for financial responsibility and commitment to education.
  • Q. Is preference given to any particular group?

    While currently enrolled Archer students receive priority, no other outside factor affects the distribution of Flexible Tuition. However, any qualified Flexible Tuition application completed after our deadline of January 18, 2019, will automatically be placed in the Flexible Tuition wait-pool.
  • Q. How is financial strength determined?

    The most significant factors are:

    • Family assets: income, home equity, savings accounts, stocks, investment properties
    • Indebtedness
    • Family size
    • Number of children in tuition charging elementary and secondary* schools – equal commitment prorated by tuition charged

    *Students in college have many more resources available to them. We determine that college-age students can take advantage of those resources (includes working, student loans and scholarships).
  • Q. What does Flexible Tuition cover?

    In addition to receiving Flexible Tuition towards tuition and mandatory fees (testing and the TSF fee), the same percentage of Flexible Tuition applies to primary expenses for Arrow Week, school uniforms (via voucher), one set of fitness uniforms (two t-shirts, two shorts, sweatshirt and sweatpants), one full set of required textbooks and one student planner.
  • Q. What is Form 4506?

    Form 4506 is an IRS document that is used by a taxpayer, or a third-party representative of the taxpayer, to request a copy or a transcript of the actual 1040 filed by the taxpayer with the IRS. It authorizes the IRS to supply the tax form or transcript being requested. There are three different versions of the Form 4506 (4506, 4506-T, 4506-TEZ). Archer uses Form 4506.
  • Q. What is the purpose of Form 4506?

    "Trust but verify” is an important mantra in the world of financial-need analysis. Getting to the Estimated Family Contribution is only as good as the family’s financial information supplied on the Parents’ Financial Statement. Verifying that accuracy by collecting and using tax returns is a critical part of the effort. Receiving and/or verifying the tax return itself is another issue. This is where the Form 4506 comes into play.
  • Q. How is Form 4506 used?

    Schools ask families to submit a Form 4506 as part of the financial assistance application process. This serves three primary functions:

    • Serves as an “insurance policy” of sorts. By submitting the 4506, the family is “on notice” that if they do not submit the proper and correct 1040 to the school, the school is able to get it directly from the IRS.
    • Serves as a “validation tool.” If the school has any reason to believe that a 1040 that has been submitted is fraudulent or simply not the official version submitted to the IRS, they have the capability to validate what has been submitted by using the 4506 to get the version on file with IRS.
    • Serves as a verification of non-filing. If a family claims to have not filed a tax return, for any reason, one version of the 4506 can be used to substantiate that claim.

    Archer will notify a family if Form 4506 is submitted to the IRS. Archer will also pay the $50 fee for processing. A family should sign but not date Form 4506.