Private school tuition

We send our two boys to an excellent private school in SF, for which we receive heavily discounted tuition. We are considering looking into buying a condo instead of continuing to rent our current apartment. We are aware that home ownership affects financial aid, but are unaware of the algorithm that our school uses to determine how much. Of course, the school will not divulge this information. Does anyone knowledgeable about the private school arena have any idea how we could ballpark this on our own? It would not be affordable for us to buy if it means that we'd be paying significantly more in school tuition. Education, not home ownership, is our top priority. Thanks for your time!

Parent Replies

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It varies by school, but broadly, most independent schools protect a percentage of home equity from the aid calculation but presume that if you have significant equity in your home, you could potentially tap some of that equity to pay for tuition. A new condo is not likely to factor into this heavily--either you are buying with a mortgage, in which case you'll have relatively little equity, at least initially, or you are buying with cash, in which case you have (presumably) already been reporting those savings to the school as part of your aid application. The two scenarios that might impact aid are if you are taking funds for your downpayment out of a 401K (which is allowable for first-time homebuyers) or getting help from a family member. Retirement funds are generally fully protected so that would change how those funds are considered. For families using existing cash resources for a downpayment on a mortgage, though, buying a condo is unlikely to hurt your financial aid eligibility, since most schools look at your income vs. debt and other obligations.