An independent day school serving grades K-12 | St. Paul, MN

Tuition, Financial Aid, and Scholarships

There is no investment with a greater return than a child's education. Every SPA family makes an investment in their child’s tuition, and our $3.4 million financial aid program provides a bridge for families who qualify.

Lower School tuition:

Middle School tuition:

Upper School tuition:

financial aid

At SPA, we work hard to attract and retain the very best students. Our commitment to a pluralistic educational experience means creating a community that is as diverse in socioeconomic backgrounds as it is in interests, experiences, and cultures. As such, our student body reflects the broad diversity of families from the entire east and west metro area and beyond.  Because many factors guide financial aid decisions, we encourage families not to make assumptions about whether they are eligible, but to have a confidential conversation with our Admission staff. Through financial aid and payment plans, we strive to make SPA affordable for all families whose children have been admitted. In 2019-20, our financial aid budget is over $3.4 million, which includes scholarships awarded through SPA's Redleaf Scholarship (Grades 6-9) and Malone Scholarship (Grades 7-9) programs. In total, 24% of our families receive some level of financial aid in 2019-20, which consists entirely of grants that need not be repaid. The chart below shows the percentage of awards given to SPA families at various family income levels. 

Family Income Percent of Awards
$0-$100,000 25%
$100,000-$150,000 48%
Greater than $150,000 26%


In addition to our robust financial aid program, SPA offers two additional need- and merit-based scholarship opportunities: The Redleaf Scholarships and the Malone Scholars Program. Read more below or contact Heather Ploen, Director of Admission, for details on these programs.

Frequently Asked Questions | Financial Aid

Important questions and answers about financial aid at SPA are below. Families are invited and encouraged to contact Associate Director of Admission and Financial Aid Anne Marso at any time with additional questions.

What is SPA's tuition?

SPA's tuition rates for 2019-20 are:

  • Lower School (K–5) $28,510
  • Middle School (6-8) $29,990
  • Upper School (9–12) $31,110

What is financial aid?

At SPA, financial aid consists of tuition grants, which do not need to be repaid. They are determined based only on a family’s demonstrated need and not upon academic, athletic, or other merit. “Demonstrated need” is defined as the difference between the amount a family can be expected to contribute to the cost of the student’s education and the amount of annual tuition at SPA. All families attending SPA are expected to contribute towards the education of their child at some level. We also expect that all parents with school-age children will be employed.

What is SPA's financial aid philosophy?

The purpose of the financial aid program is to provide access to our school and to promote socio-economic diversity in our student body. Affording a quality education does take some planning, and most families employ several strategies to keep the costs within reach. In this planning, it is important to realize that the family bears the primary responsibility for financing a child's education to the extent that it is able. The basic criterion for a financial aid award is demonstrated need.

How do I apply for aid?

The first step is to indicate an intent to apply for financial aid on your admission application. Parents then complete a Parents' Financial Statement (PFS) and submit it along with the appropriate fee to SSS. Tax forms and W-2s will be uploaded to your online application as indicated below. 

If your child is an applicant for admission:

    1. Complete the PFS by February 15. Forms can be filled out online at the SSS web site beginning November 1st. SPA's school code is 6862. All parents must complete a PFS, and be sure to fill out all items fully and honestly and provide clear explanations of all the circled items.
    2. By February 15, upload to your SSS application: a photocopy of your 2018 federal tax returns, and copies of W-2s.
    3. As soon as possible, and no later than March 1, upload a photocopy of your 2019 Federal Income Tax Return with W-2 forms and all the attached schedules.

If your child is a current student:

    1. As soon as possible and no later than February 15, complete the Parents' Financial Statement (PFS). This can be filled out online at the SSS site. In separated/divorced cases, both parents must submit a PFS and fill out all items fully and honestly and provide clear explanations of all the circled items. Current families applying for aid for the first time should call the Financial Aid office at 651-696-1339.
    2. A copy of your previous year's taxes should already be uploaded. By March 15, upload a copy of your 2019 Federal Income Tax Return, including copies of your W-2 statements and all attached schedules to your online application.

How are financial aid awards determined?

Awards are determined by the SPA Financial Aid Committee using a standardized calculation derived by The School and Student Service for Financial Aid (SSS). This calculation considers income, assets, liabilities, family size and the number of children attending tuition-charging institutions. After allowances for living necessities and taxes, discretionary income is considered available for education on a sliding scale. Families with larger earnings and assets are expected to make greater contributions.

All information required for the application process is kept in strictest confidence.

How many students receive financial aid?

In 2019-20, 24% of our students (grades K-12) received financial aid. Awards are distributed proportionately among all grade levels.

What does financial aid cover?

Financial aid covers portions of the comprehensive tuition and lunch fee. Books, transportation and other incidental expenses are excluded from aid.

Will applying for financial aid affect my child's chances for admission?

No. Admission decisions are independent of financial aid decisions. It is possible that a student with financial need will be admitted, but not offered aid, or put on a financial aid waiting list.

When will we learn if we will receive financial aid?

Financial aid decisions are mailed with admission decisions to families who have completed the process. The process may take longer if there are complicated or extenuating circumstances in the family situation. For families put on a waiting list for financial aid, awards may go out any time in the spring and summer if an award becomes available.

How does the process work for divorced, separated, or single parents?

SPA requires complete financial information from both the custodial and non-custodial parents, including the Parent’s Financial Statement form and tax forms. This information is collected in an attempt to determine the ability, not the willingness, of each parent to financially support his/her child’s education. If the whereabouts of the non-custodial parent are unknown, a good-faith effort must be made to locate him or her. In most cases, a letter from a third-party (such as a teacher or minister) will be required to verify that the non-custodial parent has no contact with the applicant.

If my child is already a student at SPA but has never applied for aid, can we apply?

We expect that families who begin by paying full tuition to the school will continue to do so unless unforeseen circumstances make that impossible. We advise families not to go to extraordinary lengths to pay full tuition their first year in the hope of receiving tuition assistance the following year. However, if your financial situation has changed significantly since you joined the school, you should apply for aid. The school makes every effort to be helpful in case of circumstances beyond a family’s control (i.e. loss of job or unexpected illness). The school is usually not able to support parents who choose to make a change in their employment status which reduced their income (i.e. a working parent who returns to school, or a parent who chooses to quit his/her job to start a business).

Should we apply for financial aid if we don't know if we'll qualify?

We encourage every family in need of financial assistance to apply. A number of factors are used to determine financial need, so it is impossible to specify income levels or other criteria that would guarantee a student receive financial aid. Income, assets, taxes, family size, unusual expenses, parents' ages and number of family members in tuition-paying schools are just some of the factors used in the equation to determine financial need. There are many factors that affect award decisions, but SPA is committed to meeting the needs of a broad spectrum of families. 

Is financial aid available for supplemental costs?

SPA makes every attempt to give each student access to the special programs that the school offers. We provide supplemental assistance for students with educational opportunities, such as foreign language exchanges and instrument rentals. However, we expect families to contribute significantly, as SPA has limited funds available. We also offer limited supplemental assistance for students to participate in after-school program and to purchase the required laptop. To apply for supplemental aid, please contact the Financial Aid office directly. Please bear in mind that these supplemental aid grants are all subject to the availability of funding.

What are the deadlines for applying for financial aid?

Important financial aid deadlines to remember are as follows:

February 1
Intent to Apply for Financial Aid (for new families or those previously without aid)

February 15
Parent Financial Statement to SSS
Upload 2018 tax forms including W-2s to SSS application (for new families or those previously without aid)
Upload Signed, undated IRS Form 4506-T to SSS application
Upload 2019 tax forms to SSS application (for new families or those previously without aid)

March 15
Upload 2019 tax forms including W-2s to SSS (for returning families already receiving aid)