Financial Aid

Harvard-Westlake is committed to enrolling the most talented and deserving students regardless of their financial background, and to maintain a balanced, diverse community of students representing a variety of cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We realize that the cost of tuition is well beyond the reach of many families. For those who demonstrate financial need, we offer a comprehensive program of financial aid that is unmatched in Southern California.

Melanie León

Melanie León

Director of Financial Aid



Melanie is originally from North Carolina. Before starting in our Admission Office in 2007, she taught in a small charter school in the West Adams area. In 2014, she became the Director of Financial Aid.

Along with her role in the Financial Aid Office, Melanie teaches a Library and Technology 7 class and is an advisor to new 9th grade students. 


Marian McCorry

Marian McCorry

Associate Director of Financial Aid


Approximately 20% of the student body receives financial aid. Tuition grants, awarded for demonstrated need, average $27,000 this year and range from a few thousand dollars to 99% of tuition. Families from a wide range of income levels have qualified for assistance based on individual family circumstances, and Harvard-Westlake strives to meet 100 percent of demonstrated need for each student it enrolls.

First, consider the true cost of an independent school education. Tuition in 2017-18 is $37,100. This means roughly $41,000 including books, lunches, transportation, and other costs.

Calculate your ability to cover these costs. If you cannot cover expenses out of income and judicious use of assets, consider your other options. If you are counting on gifts from relatives, it is important to discuss with them whether or not they can maintain that help over the course of your child’s career at Harvard-Westlake. Loans can be difficult to obtain in the current economic climate and drawing heavily on equity is risky.

If you need financial aid, now is the time to apply.  

The financial aid application process, although separate and distinct, runs concurrently to the admission application process. Visit our How to Apply for Financial Aid page for more information. 

The Financial Aid Committee meets to consider candidates for admission who have been rated highly by admission officers during the admission file reading process. We consider those candidates on the basis of qualities, but also try to distribute our grants across a wide spectrum of families with different levels of need. While there is a sizeable aid budget, in the end there is a finite amount of aid available. Therefore, the reality is that it is more difficult to be admitted when applying for financial aid.

The school strongly discourages this approach. When a family submits a “full-pay” application to Harvard-Westlake, this communicates that the family will be capable of covering all educational costs for the upcoming year and the foreseeable future. The school budgets accordingly and commits its limited financial aid funds to other families. Although Harvard-Westlake maintains modest emergency funds for families that request aid subsequent to admission, those funds are strictly reserved for families that encounter dramatic, unforeseeable financial reversals after matriculation. Modest aid may also be available for families whose income growth has not kept pace with that of tuition and other school expenses. No funds are available for families with pre-existing needs not disclosed at the time of admission. Such undisclosed need can thus lead to student withdrawal and should be avoided at all costs. 

We seek to help families who have demonstrated need. The Financial Aid Committee uses the School and Student Services (SSS) as the basis for its determination of what a family is expected to contribute toward educational expenses. The SSS methodology takes into consideration such things as taxable and non-taxable income, assets and investments, and makes allowances for things such as daily living expenses. The formula also considers family size and the number of children attending tuition-charging schools. 

We consider that both parents have an obligation to contribute to the extent they can to their children’s educational expenses. We take into account the assets and income of both natural parents. We cannot be bound by the assertion that one parent has disclaimed legally or otherwise any responsibility for educational expenses. If either parent has remarried, we will consider the income and assets of the step-parent, keeping in mind the obligation of that step-parent to his or her natural children. If either parent lives in a household with another adult, we may consider the assets and income of that person, depending on circumstances. In view of this, both natural parents and their current spouses need to fill out a separate PFS form.

Requests to consider extenuating circumstances, such as a missing parent or one who has not provided support and has not been in contact with the family for a lengthy period, should be explained in writing in a letter to the Financial Aid Office.

Since it is our belief that families bear the primary responsibility for financing the education of their children, it is our policy to expect both parents to contribute financially. If a parent is not working for pay, an additional income equal to tuition will be imputed into the calculation.This policy does not require the parent to work. It only attempts to adjust the level of need by accounting for the income that the parent could earn if he or she chose to work. 

Exceptions to this policy may occur if a parent is caring for a child not yet of school age, a child with a disability, a seriously ill child, parent, or grandparent, or if a parent is disabled and cannot work. Each application is evaluated individually. Please inform the Financial Aid Office in writing of these circumstances at the time of your initial application.

You must apply for aid at the time the younger sibling applies for admission. The financial aid application must be for both children, and if the younger child is admitted and you qualify for aid, both children will receive the same tuition grant.

Other K-12 and undergraduate tuitions you pay are figured into our calculations of need, but in order to receive aid from us you must apply for aid at all schools your children attend. You should note that graduate school tuition money is regarded as an investment rather than an educational expense, in that it rapidly pays for itself in higher income levels. With this in mind, both parents and students frequently take out federally subsidized loans, in addition to the direct aid that is available at the graduate level.

In addition to the tuition grant, a Harvard-Westlake financial aid package automatically includes coverage of most necessary expenses that your child will incur at the school. The school covers 100% of required expenses for any course. This would include items such as books and materials for a class. The school helps with other expenses such as transportation cost and attendance at our summer programs. Many students participate in our travel study programs in both the US and foreign countries with school assistance. Each student receives a moderate draw account that they can use to help pay for bookstore or cafeteria expenses. Our goal is to help parents with expenses, but also to enable financial aid recipients to participate fully in school life and feel comfortable in their environment.

The school has a plan that allows families who receive financial aid to spread the cost over ten payments at no additional charge.

No. We do not give academic, athletic, or other merit scholarships. Financial aid at Harvard-Westlake is completely need-based. 

Yes. We will ask you to file a new PFS and submit your tax declarations and W-2 and/or 1099 forms each year. The school will continue to award a level of aid appropriate for your level of demonstrated need until your child graduates.

Admission decisions are sent out in March. Tuition grants will be announced at that time. If accepted and awarded financial aid, the grant amount will be included on the online contract. 

Important Dates and Information

November 2, 2017
SSS Financial Aid application process begins.

December 8, 2017
Financial Aid application deadline for current HW families.

January 9, 2018
HW Financial Aid Workshop (upper school campus). Please call to reserve a seat at the workshop. 

January 16, 2018 
Financial Aid application deadline for new applicants.

March 9, 2018 @ 5:00 PM
9th-11th grade admission and financial aid decisions posted online.

March 16, 2018 @ 5:00 PM
7th-8th grade admission and financial aid decisions posted online.

HW uses School and Student Services (SSS) by NAIS to help determine financial aid grants.

HW SSS code: 3736

Visit the How to Apply for Financial Aid page for more information.

Further Questions

Financial Aid Office
3700 Coldwater Canyon
Studio City, CA 91604