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Committed to
removing barriers.

We welcome all students, especially those with the least.

Mustard Seed School was created to serve students and families from all backgrounds, especially those with the least amount of options. Over the years, we have made it possible for families across the socio-economic spectrum to have equal access to an education of excellence, and we want to make it possible for you.

Sliding Scale Tuition Update June 2021

After the initial admissions season ending in March, Mustard Seed School has allocated most of the need-based Sliding Scale budget. This means that we have limited flexibility in our Sliding Scale budget until the next (2022-2023) admissions season.

We serve a diverse community where every child is valued and welcomed. We want to make it financially possible for your child to grow and learn at Mustard Seed School. And we continue with our fundraising efforts in the hopes that we will be able to make more funds available in the future.

Introducing Smart Aid

We use a third party, Smart Aid, to assist us in evaluating financial need. Below is the process you need to follow to apply for Sliding Scale Tuition. You can apply in English or in Spanish. If you have any difficulties, do not hesitate to contact us.

Step One:

Create a Smart Aid account

Apply to Smart Aid

Step Two:

Complete the application

Note: You will need to upload a copy of your most recent IRS Form 1040, W-2, and pay stub to your Smart Aid account.

Step Three:

Receive Notification

Once we’ve reviewed your application, you’ll be notified directly. Mustard Seed’s Financial Evaluation Committee will communicate with you regarding the Sliding Scale Tuition decision.


When you’re choosing a school for your child, it’s normal to have a lot of questions to be sure you’re making the right choice. If that’s you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Director of Admissions and High School Guidance, Imaani F. Sanders, or Admissions Office Manager, Maya Butler for any questions. You can contact Imaani at [email protected] /201.355.6635. Maya Butler at [email protected] / 201.839.7436. Or fill out our Inquiry Form and we’ll contact you.

Request Information

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; the highest tuition rate does not completely cover the full 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 Smart Aid and 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, extenuating circumstances, and the size of the family.

If you have questions, contact Imaani F. Sanders ([email protected]), Director of Admissions and High School Guidance, or Angela Ho ([email protected]), Director of Finance.

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 is 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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