The BASIC Fund helps to level the playing field for low-income kids for higher education.

“Our scholarships do more than just provide a safe, quality education for Bay Area children. We empower parents with choice, allowing them to stay within their communities, and to give back.
It’s an exponential effect.”

Rachel Elginsmith, Chief Executive Officer

In 2022, The BASIC Fund provided over 3,500 scholarships to children in over 240 schools around the Bay Area.


We believe that every child, regardless of their background, neighborhood, family income, or culture, deserves a quality education in a safe environment.

We offer the gift of education to the Bay Area’s poorest children, increasing their statistical chance of graduating high school from less than 75% to 98%. With your help we can continue to make that a reality.

How we are different

  • Scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need, not merit.

  • Families choose the school that best fits their need - not The BASIC Fund.

  • We keep families together by including all siblings.

  • To provide stability for our families, we are committed to supporting each child through 8th grade.

Making An Impact


of BASIC Fund alumni graduate from high school


of BASIC Fund alumni go to college


of CA low-income grads enroll in college

"Thank you so much for helping us send our daughter to this school. There are a lot of families like mine. God bless you, BASIC Fund!"

Elsa, a BASIC Fund parent

PreK-8th Grade Scholarships

The BASIC Fund provides scholarships to thousands of students each year, and we've supported 26,000 students since we started in 1998. Our scholarships are awarded first-come first-served on the basis of financial need. The awards are based on household size and income, covering anywhere from 25-75% of a school’s tuition, up to $2,500 per student per year.

How we are different

We focus on scholarships because they work. An independent study of our programs concluded that the academic performance of BASIC Fund students improves over just one year, and showed that the high school graduation rates of all BASIC Fund students is over 98%. The results of our model demonstrates the ongoing effectiveness of our approach. Further, 78% of BASIC Fund students enroll in college versus 57% of California low-income students. 65% of our graduates are awarded significant, and often full, scholarships to private high schools in the Bay Area. Program graduates going back to public schools enroll in High Schools with top test scores and excellent parent ratings. For those who go on to district schools, 97% of our graduates are attending, and graduating from high schools with above average API scores.

The BASIC Fund accepts all siblings in each family, keeping families supported and together.

To qualify for tuition assistance families need to meet the following requirements

  • At least one child from the family will be entering private school for the first time

  • The student will attend a registered private school in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano or Sonoma counties in the upcoming school year

  • The student meets all academic and other admission requirements of that school

  • The student will be entering PreK-8th Grade

  • The family must agree to pay a portion of the tuition, and participate in their children’s education

  • The family meets the following income eligibility guidelines

If you have any questions about our qualification guidelines please check out our FAQ page, or just contact us.

Household Size Maximum Annual Household Income
  25% of Tuition 50% of Tuition 75% of Tuition
2 $45,780 $34,335 $22,890
3 $57,580 $43,185 $28,790
4 $69,380 $52,035 $34,690
5 $81,180 $60,885 $40,590
6 $92,980 $69,735 $46,490
7 $104,780 $78,585 $52,390
8 $116,580 $87,435 $58,290
9 $128,380 $96,285 $64,190

Household Size includes you and all other family members living at your address for which you claim financial responsibility.

Household Income includes the total gross income of ALL household members.

* BASIC Fund eligibility guidelines are based on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guidelines effective March 1, 2022.

Apply Today

2023 BASIC Fund Online Application.

School Finder

Use the School Finder tool to see where we support hundreds of Bay Area families.

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Become a BASIC School

To become a Participating School with the BASIC Fund the school must be chosen by the parents of a new student, who’s family qualifies for The BASIC Fund. We believe parents are the best judge in what educational environment is the best for their children.

However, to ensure that BASIC Fund scholarships are being utilized in the way they were conceived, we require that in addition to being chosen by the parents of incoming students the school must meet our minimum standards*, listed here.

*The BASIC Fund reserves the right to discontinue scholarship support for students at your school if a pattern of parental complaints, significant multi-year drops in student attendance or malfeasance on the part of the school appear evident.   

  • Must be registered as a Private School with the State of California.

  • Must be a physical school in sound building facilities (not online, home, or virtual school) located in the nine Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma) served by BASIC Fund.

  • Must register online with The BASIC Fund. Complete the Registration include School Tuition/Fee schedule and sign off the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and School Standards.

  • A school visit with BASIC Fund staff to meet with school administrators regarding BASIC Fund process, a school tour, review the curriculum, and be allowed to observe a class in session, if requested

  • Preschools must be part of a Private Elementary school to participate in the Program. Students must be 3 years or older.

  • Must support students in a safe, healthy and nurturing environment characterized by trust, caring, dignity, respect and professionalism

  • School personnel must agree to assist BASIC Fund in keeping accurate records of school statistics and information as well as BASIC Fund student data and records

  • Demonstrate fiscal and ethical responsibility providing accurate management of BASIC Fund scholarships in accordance with BASIC Fund policy

  • Partner schools verify each student’s attendance twice per school year, and provide additional information including enrollment, tuition and auxiliary services on an annual basis.  Scholarship payments are made twice per year.


In this section you will find resources for Families.

We Can Help!

We encourage all of our schools and families to participate in the excellent programs offered by the organizations listed in these pages.

If you’re looking for help with a specific issue please contact us!

We’re here to help!


Resources For Families

Helping families connect with the services they need to ensure their own stability and assist their children in being successful is a very important part of the program.

Read More


The BASIC Fund tries to make the application process as easy as possible, but please visit this page if you have any questions.

Read More

"I thank you for what you have done because you have given us something no one can ever take away: hope and the courage to strive to reach whatever we aspire to be."

-Tammia, a BASIC Fund alumna, and graduate from Ithaca College


The BASIC Fund is a privately funded 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to advance education equity for low-income families by helping offset the cost of tuition at private schools in the Bay Area.

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