Wonderworks offers only need-based financial aid and only in the form of tuition waivers for Houston-area students demonstrating financial need. The following criteria determine whether students qualify for tuition waivers:
• Enrollment in a federally-subsidized free or reduced-cost lunch program at school. If you receive such a lunch at school, please indicate this in the financial aid part of the application and have an appropriate school official sign the line provided for verification. This, by itself, will serve as sufficient evidence of need.
• Enrollment in the Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) / Medicaid. If you are enrolled, please indicate this on the financial aid part of the application and provide a copy of your certificate of enrollment. This, by itself, will serve as sufficient evidence of need.
• Adjusted gross annual family income not exceeding four times the federally defined poverty level. If your family’s income falls within this limit (see: https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines), please indicate this on the financial aid part of the application by: filling in the income blank with the figure reported to the Internal Revenue Service. As documentation, you MUST attach a copy of a signed and filed first page of Form 1040EZ or the first two pages of Form 1040 or 1040A and, if self-employed, Schedule C “Profit or Loss from Business” from Form 1040. If parents are divorced and/or file separately, both must provide copies of tax returns.
The family income criteria set forth above are more generous than those for free or reduced-cost lunches, CHIP / Medicaid. Wonderworks uses them as a supplement to free or reduced-cost lunches and CHIP / Medicaid enrollments as a measure of need because we recognize that even the comparatively modest tuitions associated with our programs may overburden the resources of families who are neither very poor nor affluent. (For a fuller discussion of the nature of federal poverty measures and what they indicate, see this link to Teresa Tritch, “Reading between the Poverty Lines,” The New York Times, 20 September 2011.)
As a matter of fairness, Wonderworks expects only families who can afford tuition without undue stress or sacrifice to pay it. We also trust that those families fortunate enough to be able to afford private schools, recreational travel, independent counselors and other lifestyle enhancements that betoken affluence, will view Wonderworks’ tuitions as the bargain they truly are, no less than a timely investment in the intellectual and creative growth of their children.