Sample Aid Calculations

Schools consider many factors in determining how much they believe your family can contribute toward educational expenses. They look at your income and expenses, assets and debts, taxes paid, household size, and number of children enrolled in any program that charges tuition.

Despite what you may have heard, there is no specific income cutoff for financial aid, and no school will expect you to sell your home to pay your child’s tuition. Home equity is factored into the evaluation, but it is not a major consideration.

Even a calculation of your family’s expected contribution is just an estimate. NAIS encourages schools to adjust the contribution to reflect family circumstances and the local cost of living.

The following sample aid calculations will give you a sense of how schools determine family contributions.

  Married couple, one parent works part time, moderate assets Single parent, one child attending college, few assets Both parents work, multiple children applying to the same school, high assets
Parent 1 Income $35,000 $85,000
Parent 2 Income $80,000 $135,000
Number of Children 1 2 4
Home Value $320,000 $200,000 $625,000
Mortgage Debt $200,000 $160,000 $370,000
Non-Retirement Savings $30,000 $8,000 $40,000
Other Real Estate Value $0 $0 $165,000
Investments $0 $0 $32,000
Tuition Cost $25,000 $25,000 $25,000
Family Contribution $17,631 $2,967 per child $14,138 per child
Suggested Financial Aid Grant $7,369 $22,033 $10,862 per child


Remember, just because your family is eligible for financial aid does not guarantee that the school has enough financial aid available for your family. Talk to the admissions or financial aid office about your specific circumstances.

If you do not qualify for financial aid, there are other financing options, including tuition loan programs, payment plans, and home-equity loans/lines of credit. The financial aid office can help you find ways to make an independent school education affordable.