Securing Access and Affordability

Our Vision

Financial aid is at the center of Thacher’s strategy for becoming the best school we can be.
This philosophy is inspired by two major factors:

  1. Financial aid is the most powerful tool we have to identify and enroll great students who will benefit from and contribute to our community.

  1. Communities rich in ethnic and socioeconomic diversity offer learning environments that are more dynamic, robust, and effective.

If we successfully meet our fundraising goal of $16M, we'll be able to significantly extend the reach of this essential program. Once implemented fully, we'll have approximately 20 more students on financial aid at the School in perpetuity; be able to increase the average financial aid award; and meet more of the extra financial needs that face our families, such as books, camping equipment, music lessons, and more.

Throughout our history, we have offered financial aid to families with the understanding that, in doing so, we not only offer opportunities to those who couldn’t afford a Thacher education on their own, but we also enrich everyone’s education. Research studies back this philosophy. By introducing new perspectives and disrupting conformity, socioeconomic and racial diversity prompt people to scrutinize facts, think more deeply, and develop their own opinions.

Additionally, Thacher strongly believes that by building a diverse community, we foster skills and qualities in our students that will prepare them, as The Banquet Song says, to “do the best work in the world that we can till the best we can do is all done.”
Ask about our matching gift programs for financial aid.

Financial Aid Goals

List of 4 items.

  • Provide financial aid for 20 additional students at the School in perpetuity.

  • Raise enough endowment that we can raise tuition assistance as a percentage of tuition from 19 percent to at least 28 percent.

  • Build general financial aid resources so the average financial aid award is higher.

  • Meet more of the extra financial needs (books, camping equipment, music lessons, etc.) that face families who would like to send their children to Thacher.

—Harry Andrews CdeP 1960 BSEE, MSEE, PhD

My four years at Thacher were undoubtedly the most influential in my educational development. Honesty, integrity, responsibility, study habits, and respect for the outdoors were all wrapped into an unimaginable experience for a 100 percent scholarship kid, the son of a single parent.”

Securing Access and Affordability

Financial Aid

Thacher’s ability to excel over the next decade and beyond is inextricably linked to our ability to recruit the most talented students, regardless of ability to pay.
Although we are more successful in recruiting and retaining top students than at any other time in the School’s history, we also know that few families can afford a boarding school education today. Thacher spends more than $3 million a year on financial aid, representing an average grant of $40,750 to approximately 68 students—a full 27 percent of Thacher students. This simply doesn’t compare with the 36 percent of students who receive aid at our peer schools.

Demographics and household income statistics show that we need to offer financial assistance to families from a broader segment of the U.S. in order to use financial aid to identify and enroll great students. According to the Tax Policy Center, just 2 percent of American households have the $250,000+ annual income necessary to afford our $57,000 +/- tuition. It's clear that relying on a narrow group of feeder organizations, schools, and populations will dramatically limit our ability to fill our student body with the quality and character we expect.

In the most selective boarding schools, “need blind” admission offices don’t consider family financial circumstances when offering admission to the students they most desire. At Thacher, we arrive at a point in our admission pool when we have to make compromises in order to make our financial model balance. We turn away highly qualified applicants—who would otherwise be admitted—because we can’t presently provide the financial support they unquestionably need.

We know that a Thacher education can change lives and that Thacher alumni go on to change the world. We need your help if we’re going to expand our financial aid program and cement our ability to offer life-changing opportunities to additional deserving students and strengthen the learning environment for everyone.

Financial Aid at Thacher

We know that students on financial aid have a disproportionate and positive impact within the Thacher community. In the last three years, 33 percent of our head prefects have been financial aid recipients even though only 27 percent of our students receive aid. Financial aid recipients were also overrepresented in other leadership positions at the School, including academic award recipients and underclassmen prefects. A potential contributor to these figures is the fact that our admission pool for students requiring aid is more competitive than that for full pay applicants: In 2016-17 we were only able to take 9 percent of applicants, whereas the admit rate for full pay applicants was 16 percent. These financial aid students also go on to outperform their full pay peers in the college admission process.
Ask about our matching gift programs for financial aid.

Campaign News

Back-to-School Playbook for the 2020-2021 School Year
The Thacher School
5025 Thacher Road
Ojai, California, 93023

Tel : 805-646-4377

Notice of nondiscriminatory policy as to students: The Thacher School admits students of any race, color, national, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other School-administered programs.