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We are committed to
removing barriers.

We recognize the significant financial commitment made by our families.

Since our founding, the Mustard Seed community has valued both equal access to an education of excellence, and a diverse population of learners. We understand that each family has unique financial circumstances and ability to pay, so we strive to assist qualifying families with a reduction in tuition.

Introducing Smart Aid

We use a third party, Smart Aid, to assist us in evaluating financial need. Below are instructions for application for Sliding Scale Tuition. You may apply in English or in Spanish. If you have any difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Smart Aid Applications

Here are downloadable instructions for returning families to apply for sliding scale tuition.

Prospective families may begin the process here.

Create Your Account

After initiating your account at Smart Aid by entering your primary email address as your username, you will receive a verification email. Upon verifying that you are the account holder, you will be able to create a password-protected account to submit documents. Smart Aid will also inform you if your application processing is on hold due to missing documents through your email address.

Smart Aid

Submit Documents

After submitting your application, Smart Aid will request a number of documents (most recent IRS Form 1040, W-2, and pay stub) necessary for the financial assistance decision. Application IDs must be included on all documents.

Receive Notification

The Financial Evaluation Committee reviews Smart Aid recommendations and supporting documentation, and makes an award decision unique to each family applying for financial assistance. The Sliding Scale award decision is communicated to the family via email.


In choosing a school for your child, it’s natural to have a lot of questions. We understand. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Admissions Manager, Ashley Sweeney [email protected] / 551.256.8374 with questions or concerns. For your convenience, you may also complete our Inquiry Form and we’ll contact you.

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Sliding Scale Tuition

Mustard Seed School is known for its robust need-based financial aid program, made possible by the generosity of individual donors, businesses, churches, and foundations. To help our families understand how our financial aid program works, we’re updating our language. The program still works exactly the same way, however, we’re now calling it Sliding Scale Tuition.

Every student’s tuition is indexed to some degree. As at any private school, the full tuition rate does not completely cover the cost of educating a student at Mustard Seed School. Every family benefits from funds from the endowment and the generosity of our donors.

What is Sliding Scale Tuition?

Sliding Scale Tuition enables all MSS families to educate their children as equal members of an economically diverse community. It removes the categories of “financial aid” and “full paying” families.

The benefits are clear. Economic diversity:

  • broadens perspectives.
  • reinforces core values of removing barriers to education.
  • expands students’ vision of and for the world.
  • enriches our community.
  • fosters inclusion.
  • enhances the educational and social-emotional experience for both children and adults.
  • reflects the fullness and beauty of God’s kingdom here on earth.
How does it work?

Sliding Scale Tuition is based on the principle that a family’s financial commitment should be in equitable proportion to its financial resources. Tuition is indexed to your family’s unique financial profile, not solely income. Need is assessed by the MSS Financial Evaluation Committee.

It is an equitable process: the same financial information is asked of all parents who apply for tuition on a sliding scale.

What percentage of your student body receives need-based financial aid?

Over 50% of our student body receives Sliding Scale Tuition. We believe in equitable access to education. Providing Sliding Scale Tuition is a part of our mission to remove barriers to excellent education.

What factors do you consider to determine my tuition?

Many factors are considered when determining the tuition amount a family is able to pay, including income, assets, extenuating circumstances, and the size of the family.

How do I apply for Sliding Scale Tuition?

Parents apply for Sliding Scale Tuition through a third party, Smart Aid. Smart Aid evaluates your financial need and makes a recommendation to our Financial Evaluation Committee. The committee reviews your entire financial picture and determines your tuition.

When you apply for Sliding Scale Tuition through Smart Aid, you will need to upload your most recent IRS Form 1040, W-2, and pay stub. Separated or divorced parents are required to submit a set of documents for each parent and a copy of all legal documents pertaining to the child custody and support agreements.

What are the full tuition costs?

Maximum fees are set annually by the Board of Trustees in December.

2021-22 Tuition and Fees

Program Maximum Tuition
Three-mornings/wk preschool $11,400
Five-mornings/wk preschool $16,000
Three full-day/wk preschool $18,000
Full-day preschool $25,250
Kindergarten-8th grade $25,250


Field trip and activity fee (K-8th grade only)

  • K-Grade 1: $100
  • Grades 2 & 3: $150
  • Grades 4-8: $450
What kind of economic situation is typical of a family who qualifies for Sliding Scale Tuition?

A wide range of families with a variety of circumstances qualify for the program, from those who are able to pay close to the full tuition rate to those who are at the entry level of the sliding scale tuition range. Many factors are considered when determining the tuition amount a family is able to pay, including income, assets, and extenuating circumstances.

If you have questions, contact Ashely Sweeney ([email protected]), Admissions Manager, or Sebastian Olukun ([email protected]), Interim Dir. of Operations & Finance Coordinator.


Who funds Sliding Scale Tuition?

Mustard Seed provides Sliding Scale Tuition thanks to the generosity of donors. This includes gifts from individuals, churches, companies, and foundations. Go to our Give section to learn more.

Do all families pay tuition?

Yes. Every family is required to make some financial investment in their child’s education. Our commitment to providing Sliding Scale Tuition means we and our donor community are sharing in that investment with you.

What is the deadline to apply for Sliding Scale Tuition?

The deadline to apply for Sliding Scale Tuition was February 15.

How do I get in touch with Smart Aid?

You can call Smart Aid at (800) 360-8027 or contact them through their website:

Do you require a deposit?

If you are a newly admitted family, you pay a deposit when you sign your enrollment contract. If you are paying full tuition, your deposit is 10% of the annual tuition. If you are applying for Sliding Scale Tuition, the deposit will be adjusted based on your Sliding Scale Tuition decision.

What are my payment options for tuition?

If you wish to pay your tuition in full, you may make a single payment directly to the school by April 10. If you wish to pay tuition in installments, you may contract with SMART Tuition, a third party that administers our tuition payments. All payments are due on the 10th of each month. You may choose the payment interval that works best for you: semi-annual, quarterly, or monthly. Late fees apply.

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