Affording Dunham

Think you can't afford Dunham?
Think again!

We firmly believe that there is no better choice than Dunham if you’re looking for a Christian school where students are challenged to think, inspired to create, empowered to lead, motivated to win, and prepared to reach their God-given potential in college and in life. 

We understand, too, that the decision to provide an independent school education represents a significant financial investment in a child’s future. Our desire is to make it possible for families to enroll their children at Dunham regardless of their economic circumstances. Many families don't realize that we offer merit scholarships, need-based financial assistance, and several payment plans. Take a moment to learn about our Virtus Scholarships and our tuition assistance program. Please contact our Admissions Office if you have questions. We're here to assist you in making a Dunham education possible for your child.

Did you know?

  • We have a merit-based scholarship program for new students in grades 6-10.
  • More than $1.8 million in need-based financial assistance was awarded last year.
  • 34% of our families receive tuition assistance.  

The Virtus Scholarship

The Virtus Scholarship Program at Dunham awards full-tuition merit scholarships to new students entering grades 6-10 who have demonstrated excellence in academic achievement, character, and leadership. The Latin word Virtus – interpreted as excellence, character, courage and worth – reflects the essential qualities expected of students desiring admission to The Dunham School. Virtus Scholarships are based on individual merit, not financial need. All new students who believe they meet the eligibility requirements for the scholarship should apply. Candidates who are not awarded a Virtus Scholarship may be considered for a Merit Award and are also encouraged to apply for tuition assistance through our financial aid program.



Any new student entering grades six through ten who meets the following criteria may be considered for a Virtus Scholarship:

  1. Students must be currently enrolled in 5th through 9th grade at any school and in good academic and disciplinary standing. 
  2. Core coursework grades earned for two consecutive years must be equivalent to a 3.75 GPA or higher.  A student whose achievement levels place him or her at the top 10% of the class will be given priority selection consideration.
  3. National standardized test scores of 90th percentile or higher for two consecutive years.
  4. Scores of 8 or above on all sections of the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE).
How to Apply


  1. Candidates should submit a standard admissions application by January 15, indicating that they wish to be considered for the Virtus Scholarship along with documentation that demonstrates they meet all eligibility requirements.
  2. Candidates will complete a standardized test and submit an essay; testing will be scheduled during the school week if candidate has not been tested at Dunham within the past six months.
  3. Once a candidate's admissions file is completed and reviewed by the Virtus Scholarship Committee, candidates will be contacted to schedule an interview.
  4. Scholarship award notification will be made within five days of the interview.
Terms of Scholarship


  1. The Virtus Scholarship covers full tuition for one year.
  2. Awards do not include fees for dining, technology, or miscellaneous fees.
  3. The award is reviewed each year and renewed only if the student continues to meet the high academic expectations and continued leadership and citizenship.
  4. Included with the notification of the award will be instructions for completion of the on-line enrollment contract.  This binding enrollment contract must be completed within five days of the award offer.  For contracts not completed by the deadline, the School will assume that the interest in the scholarship no longer exists and the offer will be withdrawn.  At that point, the scholarship will be awarded to the next candidate.

Merit Awards

New students entering grades 6-10 who fall below the Virtus Scholarship threshold may be eligible for a merit award. Candidates for these awards are identified through the Virtus Scholarship application process or admissions testing and interviews. Award amounts vary and are determined by the Merit Scholarship Committee.

Tuition Assistance

An independent school education is a major investment, requiring planning and often sacrifice on the part of parents.  As a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), we strongly believe the family, to that the extent that they are able, is responsible for financing a child’s education.  We do understand, however, that not every family has the means to cover the full cost of tuition and offer need-based tuition assistance for those who would otherwise be unable to consider enrolling their children at Dunham.

Financial need is evaluated by ISM's Financial Aid for School Tuition (FAST), a service that provides schools with a third-party analysis and guidelines for making tuition assistance awards fairly and equitably, after considering a number of factors, including income and assets, number of dependents, and the number of your children attending tuition-charging institutions. Allowances are made for living expenses, retirement, taxes, medical costs, and certain unusual expenses and debts. The FAST analysis serves as a guide for the School and is not a guarantee of an award amount. All tuition assistance decisions are made in-house by our Tuition Assistance Committee. 

Tuition assistance is available for students in PreK3-12th grade. Families who feel they may qualify are encouraged to apply.  Because funds are limited and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, we recommend parents apply early. Tuition assistance awards are made only after a student has received on offer of admission to Dunham.

FAST logo

To apply for tuition assistance for the 2020-2021 school year, submit an online application to FAST. There is a $45 fee, payable by credit card to, to file an application. The priority deadline to apply is January 27. We know you may have additional questions about tuition assistance and would be happy to meet with you privately to discuss the process.

Tuition Assistance Policies


  • Dunham accepts students based on their qualifications without regard to financial status; decisions concerning admission and tuition assistance are made separately. You are encouraged to apply for financial aid if you feel you may qualify, and you are encouraged to apply early, as funds are limited.
  • Tuition Assistance is intended as support for those families who, no matter what amount of sacrifice, would be unable to afford the tuition.
  • Tuition Assistance is an outright grant used to offset the cost of a private school and does not have to be paid back.  However, every family is required to pay something toward their child’s education.
  • Financial aid is not automatically renewable. Families must reapply annually.
  • Current students receive first priority in the awarding of financial aid.
  • While no distinction is made among students, each tuition assistance recipient is expected to maintain the highest standards for him/herself and to make a positive contribution to the Dunham community.
  • Financial need is evaluated by FAST, a service powered by Independent School Management (ISM). This service provides schools with a third-party analysis and guidelines for making tuition assistance awards fairly and equitably on the basis of need. By submitting a FAST application, you grant permission for a financial evaluation and calculation of your suggested parental contribution for education. FAST then forwards this computation to The Dunham School.
  • All financial information submitted or discussed is held in the strictest confidence and will have no bearing on admissions decisions.
  • The FAST analysis serves as a guide for the School and is not a guarantee of an award amount. All tuition assistance decisions are made in-house, and the School may not be able to grant the full amount of financial aid that FAST has recommended.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition and fees for the 2020-2021 school year are indicated below. Please contact the Admissions Office for a detailed explanation of tuition, fees, and payment options. Tuition and fees for the McKay Academic Center can be found here.

2020-2021 Tuition


Upper School
Grades 9-12 - $18,875

Middle School
Grades 5-8 - $17,895

Lower School
Grades 2-4 - $16,410
First Grade - $15,190
Kindergarten - $13,670
PreK 4 - $12,110
PreK 3 - $10,550

Additional Fees


Re-enrollment fee - $300 (non-refundable; due on or before Jan. 27; increases to $550 after Jan. 27)
Technology fee
 - $550 (PK4-12 only)
Dining Services
 - $790 (K-4); $1,000 (5-8); $1,100 (9-12)
Facilities Fee - $300 (PK3-12)
New Student Enrollment fee (K-12) - $750 (one-time, non-refundable fee for new students only; waived for children of alumni)

Tuition Payment Plans


Option 1 - one-time payment due by March 20, 2020
Option 2 - payment in four (4) equal installments due March 20, April 20, May 20, and June 20, 2020
Option 3 - payment in equal monthly installments beginning the month following enrollment with the final payment due Feb. 20, 2021; please note that six percent interest is added to monthly payments.

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