Admissions & Program FAQs

Saint Mark’s School is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Independent schools are distinct from other non-public schools in that they are independently governed by a board of trustees and that they are funded primarily through tuition, charitable contributions, and endowment income. To be eligible for membership in NAIS, schools must be accredited, nondiscriminatory, 501c3 non-profit organizations.

Saint Mark’s School is fully accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Homework at Saint Mark’s is designed to be intentional and relevant. Homework is an opportunity for students to be independent learners, to explore and think creatively about subjects, apply knowledge to novel situations, and review skills and strategies. Students are exposed to home assignments at a developmentally appropriate level in all grades.

The school offers childcare before and after school hours. Our extended care opens each morning at 7 am and closes at 6 pm. In addition, after school classes such as dance, Mandarin, coding and more are offered on campus after school. The extended care program and after school classes cost an additional fee outside of tuition.

We partner with Choicelunch to provide hot lunch service for students in developmental kindergarten through 6th grade. Preschool families are asked to provide their student with a daily lunch.

Our graduates attend some of the best secondary schools in our area, including those listed below in alphabetical order. On average, 90% of our graduates matriculate to their first choice middle school. For more information about our middle school placement process, click here.


California School of the Arts
Campbell Hall Episcopal School
Chandler School
Episcopal School of Los Angeles
Flintridge Preparatory School
The Gooden School
High Point Academy
Mayfield Junior School
Harvard-Westlake School
Pasadena Christian School
Polytechnic School
Westridge School for Girls

Our teachers are required to have a valid elementary-level California teaching credential or a minimum of 3-5 years successful teaching experience. Our preschool teachers meet the qualifications necessary for being considered fully-qualified teachers as per the requirements of preschool licensing. The average tenure of our faculty is 10 years.

With a focus on early childhood and elementary education, our academic program honors childhood by focusing on developmentally appropriate, engaging academics in intentional learning spaces. By intentionally educating the whole child, we guide students toward academic excellence, encouraging an intellectual curiosity that creates lifelong learners.

Decisions will be released on March 8, 2024 at 5 pm. Applicant families will be notified through email and through our parent portal.

Each grade level is composed of 40-44 students, divided into two classes of approximately 20-22 students in each classroom.

Finance FAQs

Tuition assistance is a grant, not a loan, given to qualifying families based on financial need to offset the costs of a Saint Mark’s education. The grant does not have to be repaid. Saint Mark’s does not offer merit-based scholarships.

Yes. Each year, Saint Mark’s makes grants typically ranging from $1,000 to nearly full tuition. We recognize that every family situation is different and that even a small amount of assistance can make a critical difference for many families.

The admission and tuition assistance processes are separate but interdependent processes with decisions made by different committees. Tuition assistance applications are kept strictly confidential, and they do not influence admission decisions.

All tuition assistance information will be treated as highly confidential. Only the Tuition Assistance Committee will see this information, and only the Committee and the Business Office will see the actual award amount. Faculty members are not privy to any financial submittals, nor are they aware of which families receive tuition assistance.

Saint Mark’s uses the calculations provided by FAST, a third-party, as a starting point in determining the demonstrated need of a family. Demonstrated need is the difference between the cost of education at Saint Mark’s School and a family’s expected contribution to that education. Factors considered include the information provided in the FAST application, tax forms, the number of children in tuition-charging schools, as well as extenuating circumstances. Additional criteria are used for those who are self-employed or own a business, or if there is a non-working parent and all children are of school age. There are circumstances in which a family might be exempt from the policy of imputing a salary for a non-working parent, such as caring for a disabled or elderly parent, or staying home with an infant or toddler.

The Tuition Assistance Committee uses the FAST methodology as a basis for its determination of what a family might reasonably expect to contribute toward educational expenses. The total amount available from a family for education costs considers all children attending tuition-charging schools, through the undergraduate level. Saint Mark’s expects that a family requesting aid from Saint Mark’s will also apply for aid at all other tuition-charging schools.

Yes, both parents will need to submit completed forms and tax information. All financial information is kept strictly confidential, and at no time will one party have access to the other’s information. If a parent is no longer involved in the life of a child in any way, please speak directly with the Chief Financial Officer. Saint Mark’s awards a single grant to the student; it is the responsibility of the parents to determine a payment schedule. Questions regarding payment schedules can be directed to the Accounting Manager in the Business Office.

Current families who are receiving tuition assistance can expect to receive a similar grant each year if the financial analysis from FAST, income, and assets remains the same. However, every family must reapply for tuition assistance each year and meet all of the stated deadlines. If the current financial picture for the family changes, the tuition assistance award may be adjusted based on the updated information. Families who file late applications will be reviewed and awarded aid based on remaining funds and may not be awarded assistance based on demonstrated financial need.

Saint Mark’s realizes that some families experience unexpected temporary financial stresses, due to the sudden loss of a job, family illness, unexpected medical expenses, or other circumstances. Families are strongly encouraged to contact the Chief Financial Officer or Accounting Manager as soon as it becomes apparent that there is a change in circumstance. The Business Office is happy to work with families to develop a temporary payment plan during a time of difficulty. We are unable to help if we are unaware of the changes in a family’s financial situation.

You may appeal the tuition assistance award by submitting, in writing to the Chief Financial officer, the following information:

  • A letter detailing any new or recurrent information (regarding employment status, income, expenses, etc.) that will be important for the Committee to consider, including the amount of additional funding that is being requested.
  • Any additional information you feel is important for the Committee to know.

The funds for appeals are limited and will be directly impacted by the number of acceptances and declines from the initial offers of assistance. The Committee will make every effort to distribute available funds during the appeal process in the most equitable manner possible.

All families will be asked to donate to the Annual Fund, as it is a vital link to the overall health of the School. The Saint Mark’s Annual Fund campaign allows the School to fully fund regular annual operating expenses, including faculty and staff salaries and benefits, facilities expenses, field trips, equipment, and supplies necessary to deliver a fully integrated curriculum. Every gift to the Annual Fund, regardless of size, matters. What is important is that everyone participates at a level that is meaningful to them.

We strongly encourage all families who will require financial assistance to meet our stated deadlines. We cannot guarantee that funds will be available at the end of the admission season.

Families applying for tuition assistance should be guided by the principle that the primary responsibility of financing a child’s education rests with them, not with the School. Tuition assistance is not intended to cover 100 percent of the cost of tuition and required fees. Families who choose an independent school place a high value on their child’s education, and this value is generally reflected in lifestyle choices that permit the use of some of their discretionary resources for the cost of education.

Saint Mark’s subscribes to the guiding principles that the primary responsibility for the cost of a child’s education resides with the family and that tuition assistance must be based on demonstrated need, not on willingness or unwillingness to pay. The Tuition Assistance Committee utilizes all data provided through the application and tax documents submitted and verified by FAST to determine the family’s “demonstrated need.” Demonstrated need is the difference between the cost of education at Saint Mark’s School and a family’s expected contribution to that education.

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