Common Flexible Tuition Questions

It would be difficult for us to afford Wildwood School. Should I use up savings and/or borrow to make things work without financial assistance for the short-term and then request flexible tuition later?

Absolutely not. The school strongly discourages this approach, which almost always places children in the position of changing schools mid-course. Families making the decision to enroll paying full tuition are expected to continue doing so for the duration of a child’s enrollment.

How confidential is the flexible tuition process?

All flexible tuition related processes are held in strict confidence.

Should I apply for flexible tuition?

First, consider the true cost of an independent school education. Tuition in 2018-2019 for elementary school is $34,950 and $39,950 for middle and upper school. This means a total cost of roughly $36,000 to $43,000 per student per year when considering additional costs that could include Hot Lunch, bus transportation, participation in the Annual Giving, and other contributions.

Calculate your ability to cover these costs. If you cannot cover expenses out of a judicious use of income and assets, consider other options. If you are counting on gifts from relatives, it is important to discuss with them whether or not they plan to maintain their contributions over the course of your child’s tenure at Wildwood.

What do I do if my family can’t afford the Smart Aid fee?

The fee to register for Smart Aid is $35. If a family cannot afford to pay the fee, email Alberto Duarte in the business office at for assistance.

Does applying for flexible tuition affect a student’s chances of admission?

No. Decisions regarding admission to the school and eligibility for flexible tuition are made independently of one another. The admission committee decides on a student’s admissibility without regard to flexible tuition. Once the admission decision has been made, a student’s flexible tuition application is activated by the Flexible Tuition Committee, which determines how best to allocate the flexible tuition available for new students in any given year.

What expenses are covered by flexible tuition at Wildwood School?

In addition to the percentage of tuition covered by flexible tuition, the flexible tuition package includes partial coverage of fees and some of the other necessary expenses associated with a student’s educational success. For middle and upper school students, bus service is available following several predetermined routes. Students who plan to register for the school’s bus service may receive a discount on bus fees in accordance with their flexible tuition award.

Is the cost of After Care, After School Enrichment, and Vacation Programs at the elementary school supported by the flexible tuition program?

Yes, although families who opt to have their children attend After Care, After School Enrichment, or Vacation Programs will do so at an additional cost, students receiving flexible tuition are offered a discount for these programs equal to the percentage of their flexible tuition award.

Do I need to apply for flexible tuition every year?

Yes. All families receiving flexible tuition are required to file and complete an application through Smart Aid and submit tax declarations each year. Flexible tuition is not guaranteed from one year to the next. Unless there has been a significant change in a family’s finances or the Board-approved flexible tuition budget, Wildwood strives to maintain the level of flexible tuition based on demonstrated need until a child graduates.

What if parents are divorced or separated?

Both parents have an obligation to contribute to their children’s educational expenses. In calculating need, Smart Aid considers the assets and income of both parents. Wildwood cannot be bound by the assertion that one parent has disclaimed legally or otherwise any responsibility for educational expenses. If either parent has remarried, we will consider the income of the stepparent, keeping in mind the obligation of that stepparent to her or his own children. If either parent lives in a household with another adult, we may consider the assets and income of that person, depending on circumstances. In such cases, both parents and their current spouses complete separate forms.

Are there exceptions to the above policy?

Requests to consider extenuating circumstances (missing parent or one who has not provided support and has not been in contact with the family for a lengthy period) should be explained in writing to the flexible tuition office in the Smart Aid application.

I already have a full-pay child enrolled at Wildwood, but do not have the resources to pay for a sibling. What do I do?

You must apply for flexible tuition at the time the sibling applies for admission. The flexible tuition application must be for both children, and if the second child is admitted and you qualify for flexible tuition, both children may receive flexible tuition.

How much flexible tuition is awarded annually?

For the 2019-20 school year, 131 students receive over $4.7 million in flexible tuition benefits. Because we often admit more students that request flexible tuition than we are able to fund, new students who are offered admission do not always receive the flexible tuition they request—even if they qualify.

When are we notified of an award?

Admission decisions are sent in March. Flexible tuition decisions are communicated at that time in a letter included with the enrollment contract packet. The letter will advise you of the deposit and fees due with the signed enrollment contract.

Are there payment plans available?

Yes. The school offers a plan that allows flexible tuition families to spread the cost over nine payments—from April through December.

Who may apply for flexible tuition?

Anyone may apply for flexible tuition. Flexible tuition is based on demonstrated need. Each family’s financial circumstance is unique and will be considered independently. Applying for flexible tuition, however, does not guarantee a grant will be offered.

How is "demonstrated need" determined?

Need is determined by the Flexible Tuition Committee using tax returns, confidential statements, and the analysis provided by Smart Aid as a tool to help in the decision making process.

Does our family have to repay the flexible tuition award?

No. Flexible tuition is an outright award used to offset the cost of tuition at Wildwood.

Where do flexible tuition funds come from?

Wildwood’s commitment to flexible tuition is reflected in the school’s Board-approved annual operating budget, which includes proceeds from the school’s Hope Fund, an endowment for flexible tuition named in honor of the school’s long-serving former Head of School, Hope E. Boyd.

K–12th grades, authentically progressive since 1971.

Elementary School

12201 Washington Place
Los AngelesCA 90066
(310) 397-3134

Middle and Upper School

11811 Olympic Boulevard
Los AngelesCA 90064
(310) 478-7189
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