Affording RA: 4 Case Studies

Oftentimes when a family thinks about applying to independent school, they worry about the cost, making inaccurate assumptions about affordability. Families will sometimes assume they can’t afford tuition, there is no aid available, or that they won’t qualify for grant money. However, just as families learn about the right fit for their child(ren)’s academic and personal growth, they learn about RA’s tuition assistance program and realize the school helps roughly 28% of its students with an award each year, with the average award offsetting tuition by 40%. And just as the families who enroll their children at RA are diverse in their backgrounds, so are their tuition assistance needs. When we look at the community of families as a whole--and the $2M of tuition assistance to support their attendance--we appreciate the individual stories and partnerships with each; the examples below are constructed from RA’s financial aid committee over the past several years using elements from composite profiles.

Please note that while we have provided some basic financial information in each profile, it is important to understand that many other considerations can affect an award decision. If you would like to discuss your family’s specific circumstances in greater detail, please do not hesitate to contact our Director of Financial Aid, Dave Suter.
Case #1: Family of four, with one, an applicant for Grade 6, who lives with both parents, and has an older sibling at the public high school.
 
The family’s income is $245,000. The family owns their home, has some equity after living there for a decade, and both parents have accumulated retirement savings of roughly $225,000. There were no allowable unusual expenses. After the School and Student Services (SSS) calculation was adjusted for the Fairfield County, CT and Westchester, NY costs of living, the following was determined:
 
  • Tuition: $38,585
  • Estimated Family Contribution determined by SSS: $28,250
  • Aid offered by RA: $10,335
Case #2: Family of four, with one, an applicant for Grade 2, who lives with both parents, and has a younger sibling in full-time day care because both parents work.


The family’s income is $318,000. The family owns their home, has some equity after living there for a handful of years, and the parents have retirement and cash assets of nearly $400,000. There were unusual expenses of $25,000. After the School and Student Services (SSS) calculation was adjusted for Fairfield County, CT and Westchester, NY costs of living, the following was determined:

  • Tuition: $33,015
  • Estimated Family Contribution determined by SSS: $21,740
  • Aid offered by RA: $11,275
Case #3: Family of three, with one, an applicant for Grade 4, who lives with a single parent, and has an older sibling at boarding school.


Both parents, though divorced, have a cumulative income of $130,000. Both parents rent their homes, their assets total about $90,000 and there were no allowable unusual expenses. After the School and Student Services (SSS) calculation was adjusted for the Fairfield County, CT and Westchester, NY costs of living, the following was determined:

  • Tuition: $36,930
  • Estimated Family Contribution determined by SSS: $7,930
  • Aid offered by RA: $29,000
Case #4: Family of five with an applicant for Kindergarten, a sibling applying for Pre-Kindergarten, and both live in a single-income family as one parent stays home with an infant.


The family’s income is $410,000, and they own their own home, but with little equity having just moved to it last year. There are high “unusual expenses” related to the care of an elderly grandparent in the home totaling $40,000. They have significant assets in retirement and savings of almost $350,000. After the School and Student Services (SSS) calculation was adjusted for the Fairfield County, CT and Westchester, NY costs of living, the following was determined:

  • Tuition: $21,010 + $26,460 = $47,470
  • Estimated Family Contribution determined by SSS: $41,380
  • Aid offered by RA: if both children enroll, $6,090; if one child enrolls, $0.

Resources For Families


Ridgefield Academy safeguards the confidentiality of all financial information supplied by applicants and does not publicly identify recipients of financial aid, except with parental permission. Only those persons directly involved in the financial aid process or in its administration will review this information.