Financial Aid Initiative
Pingry's Philosophy Regarding Financial Aid
An integral part of Pingry's strategic mission is its financial aid program. A robust financial aid budget is vital to Pingry's ability to both continue to attract, admit and enroll top candidates to the school, including families who cannot afford the full tuition, and to enrich our community with students of different socioeconomic backgrounds.
In this economic climate, financial aid has become more critical than ever - for both our current families who can no longer afford Pingry and for new families who require assistance in order to attend. Without a strong financial aid endowment and annual support for financial aid, the School runs the risk of losing its best students and candidates.
Frequently Asked Questions about Financial Aid at Pingry
Why is there a need now at Pingry for greater financial aid?
Pingry's need for financial aid has increased dramatically this year, with 33 returning families applying for aid for 45 current students who had not previously requested aid. This is an increase of 49% over last year, and an increase of 88% in just 5 years. The dramatic increase of students requiring financial aid to remain at Pingry is indicative of the effect that the economy is having in our region and on our families, many of whom are tied to the financial industry. A strong financial aid budget in today's economic environment will strengthen the school's outreach efforts to attract the area's best candidates for admission, in addition to helping Pingry to assist our current families.
Where has financial aid come from in the past?
The Pingry School's endowment fund currently stands at $52 million, which is a decrease of 26% from our high in FY2008. Fifty percent of the endowment is restricted to financial aid; the remainder is unrestricted or designated for faculty support. As recently as the 2005-2006 school year, Pingry was able to meet its financial aid need solely through the portion of the endowment dedicated to financial aid. In comparison, and because of the combined impact of a dramatic increase in need for financial aid and the impact of the economy on the endowment, the 2009-10 financial aid budget is only 38% funded from that portion of the endowment. The remainder of the Financial Aid budget is funded through unrestricted income from the endowment and current operating funds.
How does Pingry prioritize and structure its financial aid grants?
Pingry's first priority with respect to financial aid has been to fulfill the needs of existing Pingry families. Secondly, Pingry commits to funding the full need of a student, rather than only a portion-a partial grant would only make it more difficult for that student to receive the full benefit of the Pingry experience and would add an undue burden on the student's family. Finally, Pingry makes financial aid awards across a spectrum of need, from small grants to full scholarships. In all cases, Pingry financial aid is all grant aid; students are not required to take on debt or repay financial aid as part of the financial aid packages offered by the School. While our aid budgets have increased over time, demand for aid has outpaced the growth of our budgets and in recent years we have had to turn away some students each year.
How much is spent on financial aid and how many students benefit from it?
The percentage of students receiving financial aid, the amount of financial aid awarded, and the percentage of Pingry's budget made up of financial aid have all increased dramatically in the last 9 years. The total number of students receiving aid has increased by 99% since 2001. The average grant per student also grew over this same time period from $13,052 to $20,683-this is reflective of the increase in tuition, as well as the changing demographics of our students.
From its founding until today, Pingry has placed its highest priority on attracting exceptional students. For many years, the cost of a Pingry education was within reach for most who applied. However, the large increase in the cost of providing a first class education and Pingry's increased outreach for outstanding students, combined with the economy's effect on our families, have dramatically increased both the quantity of financial aid needed and the number of students in need of support, and this has made financial aid even more important to Pingry's mission.
How are the individual awards and average size of awards determined?
Each year, current and newly accepted families are invited to apply for aid as part of their (re)enrollment. Pingry uses a combination of the Tuition Aid Data Services (TADS) application (an industry standard tool), Pingry's own Financial Aid Request Form and copies of a family's IRS tax forms to determine a family's eligibility for financial aid and resulting grant award. TADS computes financial need using a formula that takes into account total family income and assets, number of dependents, general living and medical expenses, extenuating financial situations, and number of children in tuition-charging schools. Pingry then reviews the TADS results in conjunction with all other information provided by the family- including a statement of current circumstances-in order to determine the financial aid grant that is fair and equitable.
What will happen if I don't invest in financial aid at Pingry?
Without your support, Pingry cannot possibly sustain itself at its current high standards on a long-term basis. The recent economic downturn took a toll on Pingry's endowment, operating budget, and support base. This year alone 45 returning students applied for financial aid for the first time. This need represents not only an additional expense but also a loss in annual fund revenue, as many of these families have been strong financial supporters of Pingry in the past. The aggregate need of the 2009-2010 financial aid recipients represents three times the funding available through the endowment allocated to financial aid. This drastic increase in need has put a strain on Pingry's operating budget at a time when tuition increases must be kept as low as possible. Without an investment in the program, the delicate balance between attrition, admissions selectivity, facilities maintenance, and the desire to attract and retain the most talented faculty cannot be maintained. No one wants to sacrifice any of these areas for another.
In order to increase our commitment to financial aid and reduce the burden on future operating budgets, the Board of Trustees has set a fundraising goal to substantially increase the portion of our endowment directed to financial aid.
Why should I donate to Pingry financial aid?
Reasons for giving are many and varied. One individual, having personally relied on financial aid to pay for school, may view giving as a social responsibility. Another may have a strong personal commitment to our current families during these challenging times. And yet a third may choose to support the value to Pingry of an economically diverse student body. Regardless of personal motivation, each gift will have a lasting impact.
Are there naming opportunities when donating endowment funds for financial aid?
Endowing a fund for financial aid is one of the invaluable ways a donor may invest in the education of our students. The Pingry School is therefore pleased to offer several options for donors interested in establishing a financial aid named endowed fund:
- A gift of $1,000,000 provides a fully endowed Pingry Scholarship (any grade)
- A gift of $750,000 provides partial financial aid assistance for two Pingry Scholars (any grade) or full assistance to one student in the Lower School
- A gift of $500,000 provides partial financial aid assistance to one Pingry Scholar (Upper School)
- A gift of $250,000 provides partial financial aid assistance to one Pingry Scholar (Lower or Middle School)
Gifts at any of the above levels offer donors the opportunity to name a scholarship fund in their name or in the name of their choosing.
Can I donate to financial aid over time?
Gifts may be paid over a period up to five years.
Another option for our donors is a gift of "Cash & Futures." This type of gift allows the donor to establish an endowment fund for financial aid over a period of time (the "futures") while providing the projected income on an annual basis (the "cash") until the gift is fully paid and invested. A Cash & Futures gift addresses both the long-term endowment and short-term operational needs of the school for financial aid.
Pingry also welcomes non-endowment gifts for financial aid. For example, a gift of $25,000 per year will sponsor one student at Pingry, however we also offer several gift and sponsorship opportunities on a longer-term basis, should you wish to support a student throughout-or for a portion of-their Pingry career.
For more information on giving opportunities, please contact the Development Office at (908) 647-7058.