It’s getting harder to come by, even as tuitions hit $50,000 per year and higher. Here are some tips on how to get it.
Parents’ lifestyle matters. In some cases, where parents have contested an award, Mr. Marshall said he has gone so far as to ask them to show him a monthly budget.
“We had a family spend $20,000 on volleyball camp that summer and they applied,” he said, reeling off a list of other summer programs, from trips to France to $18,000 in tennis lessons.
“The family is responsible for paying for tuition, not the school,” he said. “We have to have some confidence the family is doing everything possible to pay for tuition before we step in, because our resources are limited.”
In the more affluent areas, parents sometimes need a reminder of what constitutes need. “You cannot be a member of a country club,” said Molly King, head of Greenwich Academy, a prestigious all-girls school from prekindergarten to 12th grade. “You shouldn’t have a second property, a boat, expensive vacations.”
She added, “While there are people who have suffered reversals, I think they’re surprised how high the threshold is for demonstrated need. They have expensive homes. We’d say you have significant borrowing power against your home.”
Yet Mrs. King said her school had increased its financial aid budget each year since the 2008 recession. It covers 25 percent of students.