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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:17 pm 
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Hello, All, can anyone share some information about the following?

From the information on the Eton website and Westminster website, it seems pretty clear that for King's Scholars and Queen's Scholars, the guarantee of additional funds (beyond the 10% at Eton and 50% at Westminster that are automatically covered) to cover whatever is left over of the full annual costs, after the amount reasonably afforded by the family. For example, if the schools determine that a family can afford 5,000 pounds a year, the school will find the remaining 25,000 or so needed for the King's Scholar's (or Queen's Scholar's) education.

However, for students admitted to Eton and Westminster who do not win a scholarship, do people know if it is 50%, 75% or pretty much 100% assured that if a family can afford only part of the yearly cost of education at these schools, the schools have sufficient funds to cover the rest?

I ask because I know Eton, for instance, is trying to reach a point (as with the most richly-endowed universities and boarding schools in the U.S. (Harvard, Princeton, Exeter, Andover, etc.) where they can guarantee 100% of the demonstrated needs of admitted students, but I don't know if they are there yet.

The materials on the website are very vague on this point and they do not make a guarantee but I was curious to know if it is a practical reality even though not guaranteed publicly.

Thanks much!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:06 pm 
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Eton and Westminster are certainly not in the position to being needs-blind as yet and I would be surprised if a school ever really could be as they rely on fee income to support bursary so what would happen if one year all students required 100% bursaries. If your son is offered a place at Eton by sitting the Y6 pretest then you can fill a bursary form in and you should get acknowledgment of what you may get by the November after the test was sat.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:14 pm 
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you describe "demonstrated needs" of the students and maybe a case where the it is decided that the parents can afford £5,000 per year.

I think the problem is that quite often a school may think the parents can afford a figure but the parents feel that it is still way beyond their means.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:34 am 
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Thanks for both responses! The tip about the bursary form after the assessment is very helpful.

The way American schools have gotten to the point of being able to be needs blind is through endowment. Exeter has an endowment of nearly $1 billion USD and Andover is not that far behind. Harvard's endowment is in the tens of billions.

Regarding "demonstrated need," the normal rule of thumb in the U.S. is that a prep school or university will typically ask a parent to contribute roughly 10% of their gross household income per year toward the education. Obviously, if a family owns $100 million of real estate and has an income of $50,000, they will be asked to contribute more than $5,000 but most people with incomes of $50,000 don't own lots of real estate so this rule of thumb works fairly well. Hence, a family with a combined gross income of 100,000 pounds per annum might be asked to contribute 10,000 pounds toward the cost of Eton or Westminster (if this same rough formula applies in the UK).

If anyone has any insight into whether the expectations of schools like Eton and Westminster are wildly different from what I've written above for U.S. schools, it would be greatly appreciated.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:48 am 
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Some schools are a little more specific about the contributions they expect of parents, see here, for eg:

http://www.clsg.org.uk/page/?title=bursaries&pid=76

In general, when we looked into it, we found that it's viable for most families only if you have a very low income, or are prepared to put huge constraints on the entire family's life for the sake of one child (which might be fine for an only child, but less so if you have more than one). If you have an average or slightly above average income for a public-sector job (let's say you're a teacher or a bbc producer earning £40k or just above) and you live in the SE of England with associated housing and transport costs it's going to be very hard to make the sums add up. The calculations tend to take equity into account, so if you have significant equity in your house you would be expected to remortgage for eg, which involves a significant risk to the whole family's future financial security.

If you are earning less than about £30K, particularly if there is only one earning parent, or you are a single parent, then the level of support you get might make the sums look more feasible, and if you are on a very low income, at or just above benefit levels, then you'd probably receive a level of support that would cover most or all of the costs.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:59 am 
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I meant to add that iirc Westminster do make guideline figures available, because I'm sure I saw some when we were looking at doing a 6th form application for my daughter. Possibly you have to be at the point of actually filling in an online bursary application form before they really get down to nuts and bolts?

But I think the figures were comparable to what I posted above, ie. even on a joint income of £50k a year it was really, really tight, and we felt we couldn't make that financial commitment to advancing one child's education at the risk of not being able to offer equivalent support to the others, and also potentially jeopardising our ability to save for our retirement and children's university education. Have a look here to see how Christ's Hospital do their calculations (yes, very different type of school, but I expect the economics look pretty similar, and CH have a fatter endowment than most other schools).

http://www.christs-hospital.org.uk/adm- ... utions.php

If you really can't find the information on the websites, I'm sure the schools will have some kind of comparable guidelines re expected parental contributions and how they do their sums, maybe phone the bursars and ask?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:08 am 
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Janet - are you looking at the schools because you have a child you wish to send there - or are you undertaking the research for another reason - such as an article?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:30 am 
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I doubt a family income of $100,000 would only be expected to pay 10% of the fees. British schools will never reach the same point as America because we are not as benevolent a nation when it comes to funding education or giving back to the school, once successful and well-off, that gave a huge bursary to the individual.

FWIW I would choose (if DS had let me) Exeter over Eton or Westminster. It is superior in every way, especially academically and it's difficult to ignore it's 5 observatories and on site marine lab.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:43 am 
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Eton offer up to 100% bursaries and a good percentage of their intake are receiving some financial aid. I had a long chat with the lady in admissions there who not only encouraged me to apply for my son, who is taking the testin November this year, but also was able to waive the registration fee in view of our income. This information was taken verbally, on trust. A wonderful, kind, understanding lady who I would recommend anyone considering Eton to talk to. Not posh, very normal indeed, very considerate and kind.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:34 pm 
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US schools are endowed in a way that would even make UK's most endowed school only drool in envy. No comparison really on the two so if you are comparing UK to the US needs blind its very different here, top Boarding schools in the States like Andover and Exeter nearly have a billion dollars in endowments. In short schools here arent needs blind as most American schools because they simply dont have such eyewatering endowments.

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