When I think of financial aid, I think of families that are working hard to make ends meet but just can’t quite cover all of their basic living expenses. What I don’t think of is families earning $150,000 per year or even $300,000 per year. However, in some instances, these families are applying for and receiving financial aid for primary and secondary education costs. The headline "Families earning $300K getting financial aid" just appeared on the CNNMoney.com homepage, and it certainly grabbed my attention.

 

To sum up the article, the recession has affected families at all income levels, including high-income earners. This is not a surprise to me. What is a surprise, though, is that while families in the lower income brackets have to choose between buying groceries and paying a utility bill, some of the high-income families are not willing to sacrifice their child’s private education to make ends meet so they are asking for needs-based financial assistance.

 

Since these institutions are private, they can define needs-based criteria as they see fit. Eric Long, financial aid director at Tabor Academy, explains that parents who are able to pay a good portion of the tuition actually have a better chance of receiving financial aid than parents who can’t contribute much, if at all.

 

"The more you can pay, the better your chances are of being funded. 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." Source: CNNMoney.com

 

As a parent, I understand the importance of a child’s education and that it would be difficult to eliminate a coveted private school spot if there were a way to avoid it, in this case via financial aid. I have to admit, though, that I was extremely surprised that needs-based is a term that can be used to describe financial aid given to a family earning more than 95 percent of the rest of the population.

 

After reading the article I delved into the comments. Lola29’s comment made me chuckle, "The headline should be, 'No one should pay sticker price for private school tuition.' Clearly, it's negotiable for up to 50% off." It doesn't get to the heart of the situation but it certainly looks at it from a different perspective.

 

The majority of the other comments are of an us-vs.-them nature, it's the Republicans' fault, it's the Democrats' fault, and so on. At least Lola29's take on it was original.

 

Also on MNN: 7 places to get a free online education

 

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