Desperate For Financial Aid And I Make $300,000 A Year

E.B. Hawkins

Receiving financial aid to attend private school can be one of the most life changing gifts that a young child can receive.

However, as the recession continues to effect families across the country, records indicate that more and more parents are applying for financial aid in homes where the annual income easily exceeds over $150,000.

As this trend continues, it shows that attending private school seems to be one area that parents are not willing to sacrifice in these hard times as 20% of families with that higher income have chosen to apply for aid, up from just 6% in 2002-2003.

"There's this pressure to give your kids what you think is the best," said Robin Aronow, a school admissions consultant in New York.

With this increase in request for financial aid from wealthy families, there is obviously much less available to the lower income households.

"A greater part of the school's community is demonstrating need and that makes us less able to afford a very significant financial aid package for low-income students," said Gould Academy assistant head of enrollment Todd Ormiston.

"Every year we see families with more means outpacing the families with less means," said Chantal Stevens, national director of programs at A Better Chance, a nonprofit that assists minority children in getting access to private schools. "It's not a pretty trend."

At Tabor Academy, a private high school in Massachusetts, families with incomes of over $350,00 have been anxiously applying for aid to pay the $50,000 a year tuition.

"Five years ago, they were full-pay families and they're not anymore. They just don't have the liquid assets," said Eric Long, Tabor's director of financial aid.

The real question in all of this is why are the school's giving in to the wealthy families first? Why not assess the low-income applications first, then make their way up the ladder?

According to CNN, unlike colleges that have need-based awards available to distribute, private schools are willing and able to do whatever they want including showing favor to those high-income families.

"The more you can pay, the better your chances are of being funded," Long said. "We're still looking for socio-economic diversity but our budget can absorb far fewer of those families that can only pay $500 to $1,000 a year."

Do you feel this socio-economic breakdown with financial aid is a problem in private schools?

Or do you feel that financial aid is to be used completely at the discretion of it's providers?