Paying For It

Private school can be a big investment. Learn more about tuition costs, extra fees and the funding options available. We'll cover financial aid, scholarships, and outside financing. Explore some of the most expensive schools and learn where your child can attend free.
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I am always sad to hear parents rule out sending their children to private school because it is too expensive. The conversation usually begins with one of these facts as the reason for considering private school:
 
1. Their child is gifted.
2. Class sizes in the local public school are way too large.
3. Their child has a learning disability.
 
Any one of these reasons is a valid reason for considering private school. But, unfortunately, that is as far as considering a private school gets in most cases. Why? Because either the parents assume that they cannot afford private school or they looked at the page on a school's web site showing tuition and fees and panicked. 
 
Considering sending your child is a major decision. As with any major decision, it makes sense to do your due diligence before ruling anything out. When you take time to do a thorough investigation of the facts, as opposed to your assumptions, you just might be pleasantly surprised at what you discover. That applies equally to paying for private school.
 
Here then are six ways you can pay for a private school education. One just might prove to be the answer you are looking for.
 
1. Write a check.
 
Some people can afford to write a check for their children's private school tuition. If you are in a position in life where you can do this, don't forget to ask about a cash discount. Most schools will be thrilled to get their money up front. The usual practice is to . . .read more
DO Understand Why Some Private Schools Cost More Than Others
 
There are several factors which drive tuition costs. Location and facilities and type of school are three of the most important factors. Some schools cost more than others simply because of where they are located. Real estate prices vary widely throughout the United States as you well know. For example, it costs considerably less to rent space in Butte, Montana than in Los Angeles, California. 
 
Insurance costs vary from locality to locality as well. Schools need comprehensive liability and property insurance. That's not an expense a prudent private school business manager will stint on.
 
The school facilities vary widely as well. A 12 classroom K-6 school located in the 10 year old education wing of a church or temple will cost less to run than a similar school housed in a 1930s mansion set on 30 private acres in the countryside.
 
Boarding schools generally cost more to operate than day schools. That's because they offer 24/7 supervision of your child as opposed to the 8 or 9 hours daily supervision a day school will offer.
 
Schools specializing in remediating learning differences and disabilities cost even more because they employ experienced, highly skilled and trained para-professionals and professionals who work with students closely, often on an individual or 1 to 1 basis. That drives the labor cost associated with this kind of teaching much higher than when a teacher has a class of 12-15 students.
 
DONT Delay Finding Out About Financial Aid
 
Financial aid can be very confusing . . .read more
You and I can understand the average cost of tuition of private schools as detailed on Private School Review by being aware of a couple of factors. We will take a look at those factors and also show you how the cost of a private K-12 education varies from region to region. That way, if you have to move from one location to another, you will have a general idea of what to expect as far as your private school expenses go.

 

We will begin with a look at how the cost of elementary schools compares with schools offering high school grades.

 

 
Costs subsidized by religious organizations
 
Let's examine one reason why average tuition costs can be less in one area than in another. That has to do with the number of religious schools included in the statistics. I am not being negative here. Just factual. Faith-based schools, be they Roman Catholic, Jewish or Christian or any other religion, tend to be subsidized by their religious organizations. For example, a temple which establishes an elementary school will do so to serve its congregation in the first instance and then as an outreach to the wider Jewish community in the second instance. The tuition generally will be discounted for families who are members of the temple. This practice is similar to how state universities charge less for students who are state residents as opposed to students who are from out of state.
 
Using existing facilities
 
The next factor to consider will be non-cash subsidies such . . .read more
Comparing private school tuitions from one school to another is in so many ways the classic apples to oranges comparison. Why? Because each private school is unique. Each school has its own expenses and sources of revenue. But the variables implicit in the calculation of tuition cost are what drive the numbers. Income and expenses are unique in the same way each private school is unique. With that apples to oranges analogy in mind let's look behind the numbers we see on Average Private School Tuition Cost here on Private School Review.

 

Understanding tuition

 

 
In its simplest form tuition is the amount of money which a school charges for educating your child. Tuition is revenue or income on the school's balance sheet. This is the dollar figure which a school has to charge per student in order to offset all the many and varied expenses of running the school.
 
To arrive at the amount to charge per student the school has to add up all of its expenses. From that total it subtracts any income from investments, endowments and gifts. That net expense is what our tuition charges must offset. To remain viable a school simply must balance its budget. It cannot spend more than it takes in. If it does, it will soon go out of business.
 
The number of students for which a school has places is the next part of the calculation. For example, if you only have places for 350 students and your expenses are $10,000,000, that works . . .read more

Many parents think that tuition insurance is a waste of money or that they really don’t need it. I suppose if you happen to be fabulously wealthy, losing $30,000 or $40,000 because your child has to withdraw from her private school might not be a big deal. But for the rest of us, that's real money.

 
Here’s why you are required to take out tuition insurance. When you sign the contract with the school, you are responsible for the annual tuition, room and board charges for the academic year. The school will have operating expenses which it must honor regardless of whether your child completes the full year or has to withdraw after the second month.
 
To protect themselves most schools offer you two options: you can pay the entire year’s tuition, room and board in one payment by July 15; if you opt to pay in two installments or in monthly payments, then you will be required to purchase tuition insurance. The school has to know that the fees on which it is counting to balance its budget will indeed be there. Regardless of whether or not your child is at school or has withdrawn.
 
Here is how one tuition insurance provider explains the concept:
 
"The cost of a private school education is a substantial investment. The Tuition Refund Plan provides insurance to protect your investment. Because student withdrawals are sometimes unavoidable, the Tuition Refund Plan is a welcome resource for families who must commit to a full annual tuition . . .read more
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Paying For It

Financial Aid

Paying for private school can be expensive and financial aid can be a huge help. Here we'll cover the financial aid options, how eligibility is determined and how it can affect the admissions process.

Financing Basics

There are several ways to finance a private school education, learn more about your options here. We'll explore some of the most expensive schools, explain why tuition is rising and show you how it's all paid for.

Free Schools and Scholarships

Don't let the cost of private school deter you, many schools offer scholarships. Explore scholarships, how they are funded and get a list of schools your child may be able to attend tuition free.