Frequently Asked Questions
When was the school founded? Where is the school located?
Preparing children for a faith-based life built on a strong foundation of academic excellence and personal character was the dream of Providence Academy’s Board Chairman and Founder in 1994. After gathering a visionary group and working for many years, the vision turned into reality, and ground was broken on March 25, 2000.
The Academy first opened its doors to just over 200 students in September 2001 at its new campus located in Plymouth, Minnesota (just northwest of Minneapolis) and houses the entire student body conveniently under one roof.
What organizations accredit/approve Providence Academy?
Providence Academy is accredited by the Independent School Association of the Central States (ISACS) and is approved as a Catholic School affiliated with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as well as by the State of Minnesota Department of Education. In addition, the Academy is a member of The College Board, ERB (Educational Records Bureau), the National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC), and the Minnesota Association of Independent Schools (MAIS).
Who attends Providence Academy?
Our student community is a multi-talented group of nearly 800 diverse students coming from over 60 towns/cities in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area, with a handful of students hailing from outside of the United States. Demographically, two-thirds of our students are Catholic and two-thirds of our students receive tuition assistance. The student body is comprised of boys and girls in Pre-kindergarten through 12th grade .
Are non-Catholic students welcome at Providence Academy? Are there religious requirements?
Yes, we encourage Catholics and non-Catholics alike to attend Providence! Religious life is essential at Providence and is something that is part of the daily routine. Religious education is required for Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade, which includes Biblical foundations, solid catechesis, and ongoing evangelism.
Fidelity to the teaching authority of the Catholic Church assures that our students encounter, and are invited to embrace, the fullness of the Christian faith in their lives. We pray as a community twice daily, at the day’s beginning and at noon, and students attend Mass weekly with classmates in their division (i.e. Lower, Middle, and Upper School).
Our campus ministry program offers retreats with the help of NET Ministries, a national group headquartered in St. Paul that specializes in evangelizing and discipling youth. ‘NETters’ are known for their fidelity and energy and are a special part of our community.
Are uniforms required for all Providence Academy students?
Yes, Providence students are required to wear school uniforms, which must be purchased directly from one of three approved uniform suppliers (Land’s End, Donald’s, or Educational Outfitters).
The school uniform contributes in a substantial way to the overall identification of Providence Academy, as well as enhances student morale and the overall learning environment.
We offer some choices when it comes to student uniforms. Please see the Uniform Page for more information.
Does Providence Academy provide busing options?
Yes, our bus fleet travels throughout the metro, bringing students to school conveniently, safely, and efficiently, on a daily basis.
Learn more about options, routes, and rates by visiting our Transportation page.
How long is the school day? Does Providence Academy have an Extended Day program?
The school day lasts from 8:30 am – 3:15 pm. During a conventional school year, students may arrive as early as 7:30 am and our Lower School After School Program (‘Kidventures’ and ‘Little Pals’) is offered at an additional cost from 3:15 pm – 6:00 pm. Our Middle School students are offered an After School Program at no additional cost.
Please note that, due to the unusual circumstances surrounding COVID-19, our Extended Day hours and availability may be modified.
Please visit the Extended Day page for more information.
Where do students eat? What lunch options are available?
All Providence Academy students eat in our Great Room. They can choose to bring their own lunch or are welcome to purchase a school lunch provided by Taher, a Minneapolis-based food services company. Taher provides popular, healthy, varied, and well-balanced menus on a daily basis for $4.25 with designated beverages (e.g. milk, bottled water) included for all students, regardless of lunch option.
The main entrée includes optional soup and salad bar for all students, and Middle and Upper School students have an additional “grill” option available. Lower School parents are invited to eat lunch with their students, if they wish.
You may view our current Lunch Menu to see daily lunch offerings.
What arts and athletics offerings are available?
In addition to academics, Providence Academy strongly believes that arts and athletics are vital to the education of a well-rounded student.
Beginning in the Lower School, students learn the fundamentals of art, take up musical instruments, and participate in concert performances as vocalists and instrumentalists.
Middle and Upper School students continue developing their artistic abilities through music classes and concerts, theater courses/clubs and productions, as well as through art classes and individual instruction (e.g. strings lessons). Upper School students may also pursue a comprehensive studio arts program (with portfolio development), including drawing, painting, printmaking, 3-dimensional design, and clay.
Visit our Fine Arts web pages for more information.
Providence Academy Athletics seeks to instill our mission of faith, knowledge and virtue in our student athletes. It is our belief that the experience of being an athlete at Providence Academy will enhance the character and virtue of all students at the school, and its reward will be lasting and lifelong.
When is the best time to visit Providence Academy?
Pretty much any time! Prospective families may schedule a visit throughout the year, whether it’s for an evening Open House, a morning Preview Day, a student Day Visit (half or full “shadow day”), or for an individual tour. You may contact the Admissions Office at 763-258-2502 or by email for more information.
Whenever you decide to come, we look forward to meeting you!
Are tours available outside of Open House/Preview Day events?
Abolutely. In fact, individual tours are available year-round during Admissions Office hours, Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, except for holidays when the school is closed.
When planning your visit, please note that Christmas break, spring break, and summer break Admissions Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm. Please contact the Admissions Office at 763-258-2502 or by email to schedule a tour.
When should my family begin the application process?
We encourage prospective families to begin the application process in September or October of the fall preceding the school year a student wishes to attend Providence Academy.
Applications completed and received by our January Priority Deadline will receive admission decisions by late February. Beginning in March, we will continue to accept applications throughout the rest of the year on a space available basis (including for mid-year entry).
Please visit the Admissions Process page for details.
Does Providence Academy accept international students?
Providence Academy has a school-to-school exchange partnership with an American School in Madrid, Spain. In addition, PA admits a limited number of international students into the high school program on a one-year exchange (J-1 Visa) through approved international exchange organizations with whom the Academy has set up special partnership.
PA does not accept international students before high school unless they are living with their parents in the Twin Cities area. Please contact the Director of Admissions and Marketing for more information.
What criteria is used for admitting students?
When selecting students to join our community, our Admissions Committee looks at several areas, including student transcript/grade report, academic recommendations, assessments and standardized test results, student and parent interview responses, and extra-curricular involvement.
It is important for our community that we admit students who will be positioned for a successful academic career as well as who will embrace our school mission. Please visit our Admissions Process page for details.
Are any applicants given priority consideration?
Yes. Siblings of current students are given special consideration if they apply by the priority deadline. Providence prefers to keep families together; however, admission is not automatic for siblings.
All applicants, regardless of family connection, are evaluated according to the same criteria. All admissions decisions weigh the best interests of the individual child and the school.
Are letters of recommendation required for all applicants?
Yes. Lower School applicants (those entering Pre-K through 5th grade) must have one academic recommendation form from a current teacher (Pre-K and Kindergarten candidates with no prior school experience are exempt).
Middle and Upper School applicants (those entering 6th grade and above) must have two academic recommendation forms from current teachers (one from a Mathematics teacher and one from an English teacher).
Personal recommendations are not required but will be included as part of a student’s application file if received. Please note that personal recommendations are most appropriate from people who know the student personally.
Does Providence Academy make use of a wait pool?
Yes, depending on current year, optimal class sizes, and other situational circumstances such as social distancing requirements.
If we have reached optimal enrollment, we will place admissable students in a wait pool. Offers of acceptance from the wait pool will be made on a rolling basis throughout the spring and summer months as openings become available.
Wait pool activity varies from year to year and is impossible to predict. If you would like information about current enrollment for a specific grade, please contact Deb Spears, Providence Director of Admissions, by calling 763-258-2504 or by sending her an email.
Financial Assistance Questions
Is financial assistance available? How is it funded?
Providence takes pride in making our Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools an affordable and wise financial investment for any family.
The school relies on revenue sources such as annual giving to fully fund the financial aid, grants, and other sources of assistance that make attending Providence a reality for our families.
In 2015-16, Providence awarded nearly $3 million in tuition assistance to PA families, and nearly 1/3 of current students receive some sort of tuition assistance.
Who should apply for financial assistance?
Any family that may be concerned with meeting the cost of attending Providence Academy is encouraged to apply for financial assistance.
Many factors are taken into account during the financial assistance application process provided by TADS (Tuition Aid Data Services), a third-party partner who processes financial assistance applications for Providence.
Applying for financial assistance does not guarantee an allocation of funds, however, if a family does qualify for aid the school will work within the parameters of the award.
Please contact Deb Spears, Providence Director of Admissions, for more information on the financial assistance process by calling 763-258-2504 or by sending her an email.
How does my family apply for financial assistance?
Does Providence prioritize financial assistance allocations?
Yes. The first consideration of allocated funds is given to renewal applicants (i.e. current students) who have completed all financial assistance application requirements by the deadline.
Second consideration is given to current students and from newly admitted students.
Tuition assistance is not available for international exchange students.
All new and renewal applicants who complete all financial assistance application requirements after the deadline are considered for any funds that remain or that may become available at a later date.
Please note that funds are not guaranteed for families whose application requirements are received after the deadline.
Who determines a family’s need? Is the information confidential?
Providence utilizes a third party assessor, TADS (Tuition Aid Data Services), for all tuition assistance applications. Evaluations result in a variety of grants for families in varying amounts of tuition covered.
These grants reflect the availability of funds in the greater pool of candidates as well as assessment of individual student/family financial need.
Tuition assistance awards are determined by a very small, select committee that does not include Providence faculty. No one outside of that committee, aside from the Providence Academy Business Office, are aware of who receives assistance.
Is financial assistance automatically renewed each year?
No. Providence requires families receiving assistance to re-apply each year in order to be considered for allocations.
Understanding that it is the family’s obligation to ensure with the Business Office that all accounts are current, if a family is in arrears and has not made special arrangements with the business office, the Financial Aid Committee may not allocate aid for the following year.
If a family’s financial status changes, the amount awarded may be more or less aid in any given year.
What about separated or divorced parents?
Providence expects that separated or divorced parents will contribute to the cost of their child’s education regardless of whether or not there is legal obligation for them to do so.
In the cases of divorce or separation, Providence requires information from both natural parents and step-parents. In order to be considered for financial assistance, each parent is must complete and submit a TADS (Tuition Aid Data Services) application.
While the financial assistance committee will consider the assets of both natural parents and step-parents in determining an award, the committee considers the other obligations of those step-parents as well.