If you are a school that has applied for the Christian School Foundation’s Recruitment Bursary in the past, you will recognize much of the process involved in applying for our new Partnership Bursary. There are, however, some significant differences as well, and so please read this material carefully.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

These bursaries are made available through the Christian School Foundation, and so any school that is a member of the Foundation is eligible to forward applications for these bursaries. Your school is not yet a member? Click Here for more information on joining the Christian School Foundation. Additionally, the Partnership Bursary program is available only to those member schools who receive no provincial funding towards tuition.

Individual families are not to apply to the Christian School Foundation for the Partnership Bursary. Rather, member Christian schools are to apply on behalf of families they have selected, keeping the identity of the families confidential. Schools should consider applying for families that are challenged to meet the cost of attending your school. These are families who meet all your enrollment criteria and that are eligible for your own school’s financial assistance programs. If your school is committed to this family and wants to give them the opportunity to experience Christian education, we want to come alongside you to supplement -and even match – what your school has awarded this family through your local assistance program.

The Partnership Bursaries is designed to help your available tuition assistance dollars go further. These bursaries are available to support families that are new to your school as well as those that have already been part of your school family. They are also available to those families with a child in more than one Christian school (double-tuition families). In short, if a family is receiving financial support from your school’s tuition assistance program, and their financial need is confirmed through the FAST online system, we want to supplement your school program’s award so that you can bless even more families than you could with the funds currently available.

WHAT IS FAST?

The donors that are making the Partnership Bursary program available have a real heart to specifically bless those with demonstrated financial need. This has led to one of the key differences between the Partnership Bursary and the Foundation’s other bursaries. We are having the schools indicate that the applications submitted, are for families who have completed a FAST online financial assessment, which confirms a financial need.

FAST is a program designed by Independent School Management (ISM) that comprehensively evaluates a family’s financial situation. Once a family completes the FAST online form, the designated school representative will be sent a recommended award level for the family. Whether or not the school decides to award the recommended amount fully is entirely at the school’s discretion. For the purposes of the Partnership Bursary, the school needs to simply indicate that the family did go through the FAST process and their financial situation was judged to warrant some assistance. Then, if the school indicates it intends to award the family some level of support from its own fund, the Foundation will also provide supplementary funding – up to the same level of support the school itself is offering – as long as resources are available.

IS THERE A COST FOR USING FAST?

There is a cost for using the FAST system. The Christian School Foundation has negotiated an arrangement whereby the original set-up fee will be waived by FAST and then the cost of the applications completed for all those awarded a Partnership Bursary will be reimbursed by the Christian School Foundation.

HOW DO WE LEARN MORE ABOUT FAST?

Because the use of FAST is one of the criteria for a successful application to this program, it is important that that you contact FAST as soon as possible (e-mail Clint Losch: [email protected]), if your school intends to apply for the Partnership Bursary. Clint, or another member of the FAST team, will provide you with some videos to explain their program and arrange a time that is convenient for you to receive one-to-one instructions on how to set up the application your families can use. It is especially important to set the thresholds within the system so that they make sense for your school and the geographic area in which you operate.

ONCE YOU ARE SET UP WITH FAST:

Once your school is registered with FAST, we recommend you read through the rest of the Partnership Bursary application. It is relatively straightforward, and includes explanatory notes. As might be expected with any new opportunity such as this, there may be some points requiring clarification. We would be pleased to respond any questions you might have!

Bursary Applications are available HERE. The first round of applications are due Tuesday, May 15, 2018. The second round is due Friday, June 15, 2018 and the third is due Friday, August 10, 2018.

Recently, the Christian School Foundation (Canada) was pleased to announce the introduction of the Partnership Bursary. This bursary is designed to support Christian schools who want to see their tuition assistance programs reach more people who require financial support to send their children to Christian schools.

Because the donors have a real heart for supporting those in financial need, they have asked that we determine a way to demonstrate that the funds are flowing to that target group. For that reason, we have included questions on the application form to get at the following information: How much would tuition be for this family? How much assistance are they able to access through other means (family, church etc.)?  How much is the school itself investing in this family? And finally, has a completed FAST application indicated that this family should qualify for assistance.

This last question, about FAST – a company that provides an online financial assessment designed specifically to help independent schools determine a fair level of assistance to offer – is a new one for our Foundation’s bursary applications. For that reason, we are sending along this helpful information, in a Question and Answer format, about the Partnership Bursary, that especially focuses on the inclusion of the FAST application.

Q1: What is FAST?

A1: FAST stands for Financial Aid for School Tuition, and is a product developed by Independent School Management, Inc. It is designed specifically to help independent schools assess where they should prioritize their tuition assistance resources, if they want to award support based on financial need.

Q2: Is the Christian School Foundation trying to have us change our approach to awarding our school’s tuition assistance resources?

A2: No. Your school is perfectly free to carry on with your current tuition assistance approach or to make changes as you learn about different options. We aren’t in the business of telling you how to run your affairs. That is why we are only requesting FAST forms be completed by those families on whose behalf you wish to apply for a Partnership Bursary.

Q3: Is there a cost to using the FAST system?

A3: Yes. Normally for a school to use the FAST system, they need to pay an initiation fee, a yearly fee of $200 (USD) and a $43 (USD) fee per application. HOWEVER: because we have negotiated with FAST, they will not be charging our Foundation member schools the initiation fee. Additionally, we will be reimbursing schools for their first yearly fee ($200 USD) and all the per-application fees for their successful Partnership Bursary applications.

Q4: Do our applicant families have to pay the $43 (USD) fee upfront and then be reimbursed?

A4: No. On the FAST system, your school’s designated FAST administrator is able to create vouchers. These voucher numbers can be given to applicant families and then they enter this number when it requests a credit card number. The school will eventually be billed for these vouchers, and we will reimburse the school for those expenses. Explanations of this nature will be provided by the FAST employees who will help you set up your school’s individualized application.

Q5: Does our Finance Committee or our Board of Directors need to approve this sort of arrangement?

A5: Each school will need to determine what is appropriate for their own situation. In most schools this will be something you will be asking of 4 or 5 families… the ones you believe would be good candidates for the Partnership Bursary. Generally, if you approach certain families and explain that the school may be able to access additional funds for the Tuition Assistance program if they are willing to complete an online form that will contain information ONLY YOUR SCHOOL’S DESIGNATED ADMINISTRATOR WILL SEE, we believe most would happily comply. In many cases, since this is merely a way of having more funds flow into your tuition assistance pot, and since any decision your school makes about the other tuition assistance a family may be offered will not be affected, no special motion of the board would be required. But, again, each school will need to determine this ourselves.

Q6: What if our school can’t move quickly enough to establish an arrangement at FAST before the Partnership Bursary application is released sometime in April?

A6: While the applications will be made available sometime in April, the first deadline for submissions will not occur until sometime in May. On the FAST side of things, they have help available 24 hours a day. Hopefully most schools can get things in place in time for those deadlines. If not, this is going to be an ongoing program, and as such will still be available for your school in the years ahead. Additionally, there will still be funds available through the Foundation under other programs (eg support for professional development, support for some special needs situations, some Recruitment Bursary monies etc.).

Q7: What should be our next steps if we want our school to access the funds available through the Partnership Bursary?

A7: Contact Clint Losch ([email protected]) at FAST. Clint and his team are aware of this initiative and will guide your school in designing your application which will be tailored to your school’s unique situation. Your applications will take into account local housing prices, car insurance rates, your school’s tuition rates etc etc. This way you needn’t fear that your families are expected to have very low income levels even though they live in a very expensive part of the province. It is your school’s situation and your local economy’s situation that is being measured. You can get this set-up ahead of time, prior to having to complete our Partnership Bursary application.

Q8: Are these FAST forms long?

A8: Yes, they are comprehensive, so that you get as accurate a picture as possible of the level of support a family requires. This may be the one negative comment you will hear, but most people are reassured when they are reminded this is merely to make sure the support available goes as far as possible. Additionally, FAST’s Privacy Policy is very re-assuring.

Q9: Do we send FAST’s recommended level of support to the Christian School Foundation?

A9: NO. FAST will send their assessment only to your school’s designated FAST administrator. Why? There are several reasons, but here are the key ones: A) your school may not be in a position to offer all that FAST recommends. You don’t want the results sent to the family, raising expectations that the school won’t be able to meet. B) You may be aware of circumstances that will mean that your school wants to award more than FAST recommends. FAST’s recommendation is based on the previous year’s financial situation and perhaps sickness, or unemployment, or family breakdown, or some other situation that only the local school knows about, has taken place. We want you to be fully in control of what you award and what level of support you request from us. ALL WE WILL ASK IS: “DID THE FAMILY COMPLETE A FAST APPLICATION?” YES OR NO; AND “DID FAST RECOMMEND THE FAMILY RECEIVE TUITION SUPPORT?” YES OR NO.

Q10: What if FAST does not recommend tuition assistance support for this family? Will we be reimbursed for the $43 (USD) application fee?

A10: If you believe there is a good explanation, you can include that with the application. Otherwise, we would recommend you present a different family for consideration. We will only be reimbursing application fees for successful Partnership Bursary applications.

At the end of the day, this new program is called the Partnership Bursary because it is a partnership between the supporting donors and the Christian School Foundation to help them achieve their desired philanthropic impact, and it is a partnership between the Christian School Foundation and its member schools to help flow this support through to the targeted candidates so that Christian education can be available to as many as possible.

One of the groups we are hoping to bless through the expanded Partnership Bursary program is those families that are hard-pressed to choose a Christian high school in addition to a Christian grade school.

How can we best serve these families?

If a high school has a family they believe might be a candidate for the Partnership Bursary, and they realize that this family is also enrolled at a Christian grade school, we are asking that the person responsible for these applications at the high school contact the grade school to confirm – while guarding confidentiality – that the grade school is not also applying for the same family.

If the grade school indicates they were planning to apply for that family, the high school agent should contact the family and ask permission to have the grade school share the relevant information with the high school agent in order to combine the two applications into one.* Once that permission has been granted, the grade school should provide the high school with the following information.

  • the total tuition expected from the family (after third party support and the grade school’s own assistance have been subtracted);
  • confirmation that a FAST application has or has not already been completed through the grade school. If it has been completed, simply confirm that FAST did recommend some level of tuition support for the family. Also, confirm with the grade school whether the total combined published rate of tuition for that family (for both schools) would exceed 20% of the family’s household income. The published rate is the rate that would normally be assigned that family prior to any assistance from the school or a third party.

If the family has not already done a FAST application through the grade school’s program, the application should be completed through the high school’s program and the high school’s application will be the one considered for that family.

On the FAST application, please instruct the family to insert the published tuition rate for the grade school when asked if there is any tuition owed for other Christian schools.

Once the Partnership Bursary application is processed, any amount awarded will be sent by the Christian School Foundation to the high school, to be assessed against the amount owing at the high school.

* If the high school and grade school agents believe that the relationship between the parent(s) and the grade school is stronger than their relationship with the high school, the grade school can take the lead in the process. Please clearly indicate on the application that this is an application for a double-tuition family.