Most private schools offer some financial aid to middle class families. They do this because it creates a student body that represents all socioeconomic backgrounds. Do you think it's fair for a middle class family, especially one who owns a home and has savings, to receive aid?
Here's a little background info: Most private schools are members of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), and the organization handles tuition assistance applications. The association's Web site says: "For the academic year 2005–06, 972 NAIS members awarded $957.7 million in financial aid. These same schools reported that 18.7 percent of their students received some financial aid. The average award for boarding school was $17,295 and for day schools, $9,232." (I'm assuming this figure is for both elementary and high schools.) The NAIS doesn't provide any information on salary cutoffs or whether or not you can still receive aid if you own a home—it simply says, "The amount of aid a family receives may vary considerably from school to school. The size of its endowment, its tuition costs, and its philosophy of awarding aid affect how much a school offers."
The Hamlin School's brochure on financial assistance, which includes helpful financial aid case studies to portray the range of eligibility. For example, there's a family with a gross taxable income of $163,000. They own a house and have savings. They receive $9,000 a year toward tuition for two children. And there's a family with a gross taxable income of $73,000, no house, and no savings. They receive $20,000 toward tuition for one child.
A dated (2002) yet informative article in The New York Times, Schools Extend a Hand to Middle-Class Parents. It specifically states that many private schools offer assistance to middle-class families who own homes—and in fact schools are trying to attract these families to help maintain socioeconomic balance. Schools don't want a student body that consists of just rich and poor.
What do you think?