Information about Prism's new Financial Assistance Programs

Good evening Prism Parents,

You should have received your Prism enrollment packets today. With that you likely saw that our financial assistance process is changing this year. We want to walk you through that in a little more detail here to ensure everyone is on the same page. So here’s the answer to a few questions you might have as you look through your paperwork.

What has changed about the private school tuition assistance process?

  • There is now one financial assistance application (there will no longer be an additional assistance request, etc).

  • All applications will now be processed through an online system called Smart Aid. Used by other private schools, Smart Aid will streamline the process of applying for tuition and allow the school to have a more complete picture of a family’s needs when considering tuition discounts.

  • We are introducing a maximum rate that a family with multiple children will pay for tuition.

  • We are asking families who receive tuition assistance to volunteer in specific fundraisers for an amount proportionate to the amount of financial assistance they have received to help offset the expenses associated with the scholarships. If we all work together, we can ensure the school is affordable, accessible, and excellent!

Why are we switching to Smart Aid?

Historically we’ve based financial decisions solely on Adjusted Gross Income. Smart Aid specializes in private school tuition and reviews information such as household insurance costs, student loan expenses, whether a family has multiple children, etc. This provides a fuller picture of the assistance a family may need beyond just their adjusted gross income. Furthermore, Smart Aid will reduce the amount of paperwork for families who typically have to go two full rounds of tuition assistance requests.

Will this Smart Aid program change my tuition rates?

It is possible it will reduce a family’s tuition rate from what it currently is, however, In all reality, this will not likely alter most of our family’s tuition payment as we are already giving significant financial assistance. It will however streamline the process so families can complete one application rather than going through multiple rounds of tuition assistance requests.

What are the family maximum rates?

Over the last several years we have heard from numerous families who are paying for one of their children’s tuition but cannot afford to pay for multiple children. We want to make sure that families who want all of their children to go to Prism—and are already making a significant contribution to the school—can more easily afford tuition for their children to attend the same school. It is our hope this will make private school more accessible for more families.

How can Prism afford these additional discounts for families?

We will need to generate some additional revenue—especially to offset the costs of the family maximum rates. For that reason we are asking that scholarship recipients (and their families) offset these expenses by helping with specific fundraisers throughout the year. We will publish a calendar of potential fundraisers (such as the Razorback Cleanup happening this Tuesday) and families can pick which fundraisers they participate in to help raise funds to offset the expenses associated with building great programs for the school. If we all work together, we can do what it takes to make tuition affordable for families without sacrificing any programs.

Why do I have to pay a $35 fee to SmartAid?

SmartAid charges a $35 fee to families for processing their application. This money does not go back to Prism.

What are the volunteer requirements for families?

We will need to generate some additional revenue—especially to offset the costs of the family maximum rates. For that reason we are asking that scholarship recipients (and their families) offset these expenses by helping with specific fundraisers throughout the year. We will publish a calendar of potential fundraisers (such as the Razorback Cleanup happening this Tuesday) and families can pick which fundraisers they participate in to help raise funds to offset the expenses associated with building great programs for the school. If we all work together, we can do what it takes to make tuition affordable for families without sacrificing any programs.

What is the deadline for the scholarship application process?

We want to give final responses to families by early March. It will take SmartAid 2 weeks to process all of the scholarship applications. Therefore, all documents must be submitted by February 14 to receive priority consideration.

Who do I call if I have questions?

Call Rachel Wall if you need help at (479) 249-6113.

Hopefully this answered most of your questions, but reach out to Rachel if you have more!

Misty Newcomb