Tuition Assistance / Financial Aid

Applying for Tuition Assistance

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There are two kinds of financial aid available and each has it’s own application form:
Heart of Iowa School Tuition Organization (STO)
Financial Aid for School Tuition (FAST)

Heart of Iowa School Tuition Organization

As an accredited school, we have access to tuition grants through this program.

To be eligible for a tuition grant, a student’s family income must be no more than 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Iowa Code section 422.11S). All eligible families who apply will receive a grant, with the amount awarded based on a tiered scale according to percentage of poverty guidelines. The grant is paid directly to the school and credited to the family’s tuition.

Download the PDF application: STO Grant Application

The Application contains additional information and also lists the income eligibility limits for the current year (2nd page). Applications should be returned to the school office by the date listed on the application form.

For more information on School Tuition Organizations, see the information from the Iowa Dept. of Education at:
https://www.educateiowa.gov/pk-12/options-educational-choice/school-tuition-organizations-sto

Financial Aid for School Tuition (FAST)

All families applying for aid via FAST must also complete the STO application. Families may choose to apply only for the STO tuition grant if desired.

Ames Christian School utilizes Financial Aid for School Tuition (FAST), a third party assessment and verification service. FAST provides a need-based financial aid analysis which includes a recommendation of what a family should reasonably be able to contribute toward tuition.

Information provided to FAST is confidential and private. This service provides an extra level of confidentiality by providing only the critical pieces of information to the Financial Aid Committee. The committee reviews the results of the FAST analysis and expected STO tuition grant and awards a financial aid package to applicant families. All families will receive 100% of the STO tuition grant they are qualified for regardless of the FAST recommendation. This financial aid package details the remaining tuition which will be the responsibility of each family. Offers of financial aid will be sent to families for consideration. Families may either accept or decline the offer. The total amount of financial aid available via FAST application is set annually by the school board.

Families are required to complete the FAST application and mail in all required tax documents before they are eligible for financial aid in excess of an STO award. Families seeking financial aid must reapply each school year. Because financial aid dollars are limited, and families need timely information to finalize enrollment for the coming school year, applications must be received by the deadline for equal consideration. Any applications received after the deadline may be considered if funds remain after the initial round of aid has been awarded.

Who Should Apply?

Any family with a student in kindergarten through sixth grade who feels the combination of their income and expenses limits their ability to reasonably pay the full tuition is encouraged to apply.

How Do I Apply?

The FAST application process is available by clicking the FAST logo near the top of this page, or Click Here for the FAST site.

The application process is self-guided and there is a downloadable guide to help you prepare your financial information prior to completing the online application. You may log in and out of the site, though you should be sure to save changes as you make them.

For questions, please use the online email and a 24/7 phone help line that is provided by FAST instead of calling the school.

Things to Know

Most of the form requires details about your income, assets, and expenses. We recommend downloading the application guide to help with preparing the required information.

There is a $43, non-refundable application fee. This fee is payable online, but is not required until the entire application has been completed. Cards with the MasterCard, Visa, or American Express logos are accepted for payment.

Please follow the guidelines provided by FAST during the application process for submitting state and federal tax returns. Envelopes are provided by FAST for these unstapled documents to be mailed in and are available in the ACS office. FAST will email you if additional information is required. FAST will not make any recommendations (and aid will not be awarded) without receiving all the required documents.

Expectations of Families Receiving Scholarships

In order for the financial aid to be valid, parents must be accepted for enrollment and complete the entire registration process, including payment of the registration fee. To receive your scholarship throughout the school year tuition must be paid on time.

Finally, the school simply could not operate efficiently without the countless hours of volunteer time invested. At least one parent from every ACS family is expected to volunteer, serve, or donate to a minimum of one large and one small fundraiser annually. We expect scholarship awarded families to volunteer with Christian passion at fundraisers and events for the betterment of ACS.