The admission season is now open for the 2017-2018 school year.

We will ultimately be a Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade school.  For the 2017-2018 school year, we offer Pre-Kindergarten through 4th grade, and will add an additional older grade each year.

Click here to apply at


The first step in the application process is to schedule a visit to The Downtown School. You and your child will have a chance for in-depth exploration at our school. We will discuss your family’s goals and philosophies regarding education and help you decide if The Downtown School is the best fit for you and your child. To schedule a visit, please call us at 802-768-8769 or email us at

We are currently accepting applications for Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade for the 2017-2018 school year. We will continue to grow and add an older grade each year until we reach our full Pre-K through 8th grade size.

As an independent school, we are able to adjust our entry dates to meet children at their appropriate developmental level. In general,  children applying for admission to Kindergarten should be five years old by November 15th or be currently enrolled in a full-time Pre-Kindergarten program.  Children applying for admission to Pre-Kindergarten 1 (full-day) should be four years old by October 30th. Children applying for admission to Pre-Kindergarten 2 (short-day) should turn four between November 1st and December 15th. If your child is close to these dates, we will ask you and your child to meet with the appropriate classroom teachers regarding finding the right fit for your child.

Once you have decided to apply, please click the link at the top or bottom of this section to apply online.

Apply Online:

Click here to apply at


Families of Kindergarten and older students residing in Sandgate, Winhall, North Bennington, Stratton, and other “sending towns” can send children to The Downtown School using sending town tuition.  Sending town tuition varies from year to year, but will generally cover approximately 90% of your tuition costs for the school year. Tuition for students not from sending towns is listed below.

The Downtown School is an Act 166 Vermont Pre-Qualified Pre-Kindergarten program. Pre-qualification means our school’s pre-k program has been recognized by the State of Vermont as a notably high-quality program.  Pre-qualification also means nearly all families who are Vermont residents and whose three-, four-, or five-year-old children attend our pre-k program are eligible to have the state equivalent of 10-hours per week of their tuition paid by Act 166 funds.  For the 2016-2017 school year, this amount was $3092.  The rate is adjusted each year.  These funds are available regardless of family income.

Tuition for the 2017-2018 school year:

Kindergarten through 4th Grade – $15,000

Pre-Kindergarten Monday-Friday 9am-3p (Pre-K1)  – 4-years-old by October 30th – $11,000*

Pre-K Monday-Friday 9am-12:30pm (Pre-K2) 4-years-old between 11/1 & 12/15 – $8700*

*As a prequalified program, families of most three-, four-, and five-year-old Pre-K students are eligible to have the state equivalent of 10-hours per week of their tuition paid by Act 166 funds.  For the 2016-2017 school year, this amount was $3092.  These funds are available regardless of family income.


At The Downtown School we believe that diversity, including economic diversity, creates a more vibrant educational community and we take seriously our ongoing commitment to financial aid. We also consider a family’s investment in their child’s education to be one of the most important investments a family can make, and we expect all families to make a financial contribution to their child’s education. Financial aid awards are based on demonstrated financial need and available funds, and most often consist of assistance with 10% to 60% of tuition cost.

If you decide to apply for financial aid, please submit your Financial Aid application within one week of the time you submit your Admission Application to The Downtown School. 

Financial aid is not available for pre-kindergarten, as pre-kindergarten families have access to both Act 166 funds (regardless of income) and need-based Vermont Child Care Financial Assistance (“state subsidy”).  Financial aid is not available for students from sending towns, as sending town payments cover approximately 90% of tuition.

Financial aid is determined by both the family’s ability to pay and the amount of scholarship money available.  Families apply through TADS, a leading provider of financial aid assessment.  TADS estimates a family’s ability to pay tuition costs through analysis of family income, expenses, and family assets. TADS fully audits all applications, checking against 1040s, W2s, business schedules, and other required financial documentation.  By using a third-party expert in financial aid assessment, we are able to most fairly allocate available financial aid funds.

Our financial aid funds come directly out of our operating budget, which also supports salaries for our teachers, supplies for our classrooms, and other essential school expenses.  We ask you to work with us so that available financial aid funds can be distributed where they are most needed. We expect families to make education a very high priority in their financial planning. Assuming both parents are able-bodied and do not have very young children to care for at home, we would note that both parents have the ability to work and contribute to family income.

An independent school education is expensive for nearly every family, and it is common for families to need to re-adjust their financial priorities to afford an independent school. We ask you to reach out to other family members, such as grandparents, aunts and uncles to assist you in paying your child’s tuition.  We also ask you to prioritize educational expenses above expensive travel, luxury purchases, vacation homes, and other discretionary expenses.  By all working together in this way, we are able to most fairly allocate financial aid resources where they are most needed.

It is difficult for us to guide you as to whether you should apply for financial aid, as every family’s overall circumstances are different. Your decision to apply for financial aid will not impact whether or not your child or children are accepted to The Downtown School.

Financial Aid applications including all supporting documents are due by February 3rd, 2017, and require the submission of financial documents including but not limited to:
Completed Form 1040 and all supporting schedules.
W2 forms and 1099 forms.
Business tax returns if you own or co-own a business.
In the case of divorced or separated parents, both custodial parents must file a financial aid application and all required documents in order for a family to be considered for a financial aid award.
If your 1040 is not yet complete, a copy of your prior year 1040 and copies of your W2 and/or 1099 will be accepted. A copy of your 2016 1040 must be received by TADS by April 20th.

Please submit your financial aid application via the links below:

Financial Aid Worksheet:
Click here to apply at

Financial Aid Application:
Click here to apply at

If you prefer a paper application, you can request one from TADS at 800-477-8237


If I apply for financial aid will it affect whether my child is admitted to The Downtown School?
No. Admissions decisions and financial aid awards are determined separately.

Are current finances the only consideration taken into account when reviewing financial aid eligibility?
While a family’s current finances are looked at closely, we also expect a family to maximize its earning potential to contribute as much as possible to tuition. For example, assuming both parents are able-bodied and do not have very young children at home, we would note that both parents have the ability to work.  If one or both parents own their own business, and this business has for several years provided less than a livable wage, we may consider this a lifestyle choice rather than a means of maximizing income.

If I receive financial aid one year, will I automatically receive it again the next year?
Families must reapply annually for financial aid. Each applicant’s financial needs will be reassessed each year.


The Downtown School admits students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, and sexual orientation to all the rights and privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarships, and other school-administered programs.


©2017 The Downtown School, Manchester, VT