“The Sliding Scale means that, as a community, we recognize the central role that class plays in creating obstacles to equity and access. It means that we reject the notion that wealthy people simply are accepted into a school on their child's intellectual merit, while the poorer child has to win an "award." It means that the cost of educating our children is borne by all of us according to our abilities and that those of us who either start as or end up as full-paying families have no more "natural" access to the benefits of education than anyone else. It means that our school is a community comprised of a range of families united by the commitment to educate any child, not just my child.”
Jennifer Morgan-Bennet
Former MCS Parent

About our Sliding-Scale Tuition Model

In 1970, MCS parent and economist Franklin Roosevelt worked with MCS Founder Gus Trowbridge and other families at the school to come up with a tuition model that supported the school’s mission of creating real diversity and equity in education. The sliding scale concept they developed was predicated on the idea that a family’s financial commitment should be in equitable proportion to its economic resources. 

Today, in a city with the most segregated schools in the nation, MCS stands apart for having maintained unparalleled diversity in its student population and staff for over 50 years while providing a high-quality progressive education that prepares MCS graduates to gain entrance to the city’s most competitive public and private high schools and boarding schools in the region.

An Equal Process

Our Sliding Scale Program allows MCS families to educate their children as equal members of an economically, racially, and culturally diverse community eliminating the categories of “financial-aid” and “full-pay.” MCS does not offer "awards" or "tuition discounts;" all MCS families are committed to contributing meaningfully according to their resources. The Sliding Scale Application via Clarity®  is what allows the school to calculate each family's tuition based on their unique financial profile.
All families are asked to complete a Sliding Scale Application via Clarity® when applying for admission and annually thereafter when re-enrolling to determine their tuition fee.
Families can choose not to submit a Sliding Scale Application by signing a waiver agreeing to pay the annual maximum tuition fee throughout their child’s years at MCS.


  • Our Sliding Scale Program is open to ALL families.
  • Applications must be submitted in a timely manner in order to secure enrollment and the individualized tuition fee.
  • Current families with outstanding tuition will not be considered for this program until payment arrangements have been made with our finance office. MCS will not offer re-enrollment contracts to families in arrears.
  • The Sliding Scale Application is reviewed by the Tuition Management Committee and applications are kept confidential.

Sliding Scale FAQs

List of 10 items.

  • Application Timeline

    October 02 -    Application opens
    November 21 - Application deadline for current families 
    December 1 -   Application deadline for new families 
  • Are there policies around divorced, separated or never married families applying for the sliding scale?

    MCS takes into account information for both custodial and non-custodial parents/guardians, who must complete the sliding scale tuition application and provide required documents. MCS cannot be bound by the claim that one parent has no responsibility for educational expenses.
    Separated or divorced parents/guardians or parents who have never married retain the obligation to contribute to the educational expenses of their children, whether or not there is a legal agreement between them to do otherwise. If there is a claim of non-involvement in a child’s life and, thus, exemption from financial responsibility, MCS may require documentation by the custodial parent.
    In the case that yours is a verifiable single-parent household, you will have the opportunity to share this information on your application via Clarity.
    This policy is standard in many other schools and colleges.
  • Are there policies around single income families applying for the sliding scale?

    As a matter of equity MCS believes that each family should contribute to their child's education and the community proportionally, reflecting their commitment to their child's education. As such, MCS is not able to subsidize a parent or guardian's choice not to be employed. If there are circumstances that preclude a parent or guardian from working outside of the home, such as caring for young children, or prevailing medical reasons, please make note of this on the sliding scale tuition application.
  • Does a parent's choice to go to grad school or stop working affect their sliding scale application?

    MCS does not have the resources to subsidize a parent’s voluntary reduction of income, i.e., voluntarily terminating employment or becoming self-employed and expecting reductions in tuition contributions. We assume that a parent who is enrolled in graduate school will continue to earn income and/or will fund their education without significantly impacting their resources.
  • Who should complete the application if the tuition is paid by a non-custodial parent or grandparent(s)?

    It is not a given that the custodial parent(s)/guardian(s) are the primary providers for the tuition. If the responsibility for tuition payments lie with a third party, please contact Ingrid Gomez, Director of Admissions and Enrollment, to discuss the best way to share this information on the application.
  • Payment Plans via Blackbaud Tuition Managementâ„¢

    Enrollment in Blackbaud Tuition Management™ management is required. Families choose their method of payment annually when student contracts are issued.
    OPTION A- Payment in full
    25% Enrollment Deposit on return of signed contract.
    100% of the tuition (less Enrollment deposit) paid on or before July 1st
    OPTION B – 2 Payment Plan
    25% Enrollment Deposit on return of signed contract.
    50% of the tuition (less Enrollment Deposit) due by June 1st
    50% tuition due by November 1st
    OPTION C – 4 Payment Plan 
    25% Enrollment Deposit on return of signed contract.
    25% of the tuition (less Enrollment Deposit) on or before April 1st, July 1st, September 1st and February 1st 
    OPTION D – 12 Payment Plan
    25% Enrollment Deposit on return of signed contract.
    A twelve-month schedule of payments running from May 1st to April 1st
  • Additional Blackbaud Tuition Managementâ„¢ Fees

    • A late fee of $40 will be automatically charged if payment is not made by the 5th day of the month when tuition is due.
    • An ACH fail fee of $30 will be automatically charged if payment is attempted and funds are not available.
    • A 3% credit card fee is automatically charged if you choose this payment method.
    • $500 late re-enrollment fee for contracts submitted past the deadline, and $1,000 if the contract is submitted after March 31st.
  • After School Fees

    • Our Afterschool Program is NOT included in the tuition fee.
    • Afterschool classes cost around $50 per day, please note that this amount is subject to change. This covers a daily snack and two hours of programming.
    • The Afterschool schedule begins at dismissal and ends between 5:30 - 6 p.m.
    For more information about Afterschool please click here.
  • Sibling Discount

    Sibling discounts are calculated automatically in your Sliding Scale Application via Clarity, and will be reflected in your individualized tuition fee.
  • Voluntary Giving at MCS

    The school's unparalleled commitment to economic, racial, and cultural diversity in enrollment is underwritten by our unique sliding-scale tuition program. The built-in challenge of this model is that tuition revenue covers only approximately 75 percent of the school's annual operating expenses. MCS is an intentionally philanthropic model that relies heavily on generous support from the MCS parent community in many forms. We strongly encourage and value the contributions of all MCS parents in helping to sustain our commitment to socioeconomic diversity through direct giving, volunteerism, and thought-partnership. For more information, please contact the school's Director of Advancement.
©2020 Manhattan Country School. All Rights Reserved.