Let's look at the facts.
Conservative Investment Policies
The investment approach for private school endowments has historically been a conservative, cautious approach. Trustees and their advisors have generally been good stewards of their finances. They avoided risky investments such as derivatives and real estate despite calls from some quarters to maximize returns. The reason for the decline in their portfolio value is simple: just about every investment-grade instrument declined.
Back in the 90s, sustainability became an important principle in private school mission statements and philosophies. The National Association of Independent Schools has taken a leadership role in supporting all kinds of sustainability initiatives including financial sustainability with its 1,500 member schools.
From the Nais: "In order for independent schools to thrive in the 21st century, NAIS believes that they must be sustainable along five dimensions: financial, demographic, programmatic, environmental, and global."
As a result, schools with significant endowments (greater than $10 million) generally were well-positioned to weather the economic storm which 2009 brought on with a vengeance.
Financial Aid is a Priority
Financial aid goes to the heart of most private schools' commitments to diversity. It is not an...
The Foundation Center keeps Forms 990 for every non-profit organization which files with the IRS. It is fairly easy to see how much the school reported as income and expenses as well as a wealth of other data. Note that it is frankly impossible to compare apples to apples when it comes to private schools. Even their accounting and reporting varies from school to school. But a review of the data paints the same picture: costs are rising.
Another fact to consider is that tuition charged by a school does not completely offset expenses. That is why you will see your tuition bill filled with additional charges for technology, communications, laundry, athletics, uniforms and so on. These sundries, as the more bespoke schools style them, vary from school to school.
At the bottom of the scale in terms of fees are the parochial schools. The Roman Catholic, Jewish, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Seventh Day Adventist, Christian and Muslim schools offer great educations for a very reasonable cost. Most of these schools are day schools. Schools like the Cristo del Rey schools specifically target at risk children from families which could not otherwise afford a private school education.
Helping the affordability factor is the initiative taken by several leading prep schools. Read Private School May Be Free If You Make Less Than $75,000 for details.
Remember: most private schools offer generous financial aid. Be sure to ask each school on your list. Don't forget to apply as early as you...
Tuition Planning Advanced planning is your best option for financing a private school education. The first step in planning for education financing is to contact the admissions or business office at your child's current or prospective school. The financial aid officers at the school can help you learn about available financing options.
Today, a large number of private school students receive financial aid. Many schools offer financial aid in the form of merit awards and need-based scholarships. Based on eligibility, these awards can help make a private school education more affordable. Financial aid grants may cover a significant portion of your child's tuition depending on the school and eligibility.
About Private School Student Loans In addition to scholarships and grants, there is another valuable resource to help you pay for your child's education, particularly when grants and scholarships don't cover all the costs. In the past fifteen years, the emergence of private k-12 education loans has made all types of private school education more accessible. Private student loans are an excellent option that will help you avoid dipping into savings or using high-interest products...
The only remedy you have is to sign up for the school's refund plan. It typically acts like insurance in the event that your child withdraws before end of year. The insurance plan will pay for the unused/remaining portion of your child's time at the school. You contracted to pay for an entire year when you signed the contract with the school at the time she was accepted. You do not want to be out of pocket. Neither does the school. This is why tuition refund insurance is an important part of your planning for a private school education. Tuition refund policies are in place at every private school regardless of whether it is day or boarding, large or small, elementary/nursery school or high school.
St. Mary's policy is the sort of thing you can expect at most schools:
"To minimize the loss to a family due to early departure or change in boarding status, Saint Mary’s School has established a Refund Plan. Under ordinary circumstances, the Refund Plan...