Removing Barriers for Scholars on Financial Aid

Pause and think:

What are some of the low-cost (or no-cost) supports you can provide students at your school?

How can a school determine if costs associated with an activity are a barrier for students to participate?


Although they tend to be less visible, the non-tuition costs associated with attending an independent school are very real for Scholars and their families. Expenses add up quickly, whether for a state championship sweatshirt at the end of a winning season, calculators for advanced math courses, or transportation for boarding students. Working together to remove or mitigate cost-related barriers is essential to ensuring Scholars and families are able to take full advantage of all the opportunities that you, as partner schools, offer.

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And on May 22, that is exactly the challenge that 25 schools came together with Steppingstone to tackle at the 2014 Independent School Consortium, which was facilitated by Steppingstone and hosted by
The Meadowbrook School of Weston. With so many schools represented, the conversation was rich and provided ample opportunities to share creative ways you are already addressing these costs (such as through a bookstore account for students on financial aid). Representatives from different schools were able to connect and gather ideas from one another, and walked away with next steps and resources to continue the conversation at your schools.

The progress made at this event demonstrates how partnerships between Steppingstone and placement schools can profoundly affect the experiences of Scholars and their families. “I learned that Steppingstone is a great resource to call on and is accessible for questions/concerns around supporting Scholars on financial aid,” said one attendee, showing that collaboration fosters a shared understanding of Scholars’ needs and how we can work together to address them. “I just hadn’t thought about the fact that Steppingstone could help so extensively with the exact issues at the top of my priority list,” replied another.

It wasn’t just schools who walked away from the event with a list of next steps. After hearing what partners shared at the event, Steppingstone has already started to update summer programing to better prepare Scholars for the transition to independent and public exam schools. And, when we came back to the office on May 22, our phones were ringing non-stop: Scholars were calling their Advisors all afternoon about services Steppingstone provides that you told them about after the event. This represents how strengthening our partnerships creates real results for Scholars.

Thank you to everyone who attended the event and contributed to its success. We look forward to continuing the conversation. For a list of resources that Steppingstone offers Scholars and their families, click here.