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.
View the most popular articles in Paying For It:
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5 Financial Aid DOs and DONTs
Part of the private school selection process is financial aid. We point out five issues about which you should be aware.
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...
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Comparing Tuition Costs By Location
Why does one private school cost less than another in the same area? Why are certain areas of the country much more expensive than others? We examine tuition costs around the nation.
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...
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Understanding Private School Tuition
We look at why tuition costs vary so widely from school to school.
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...
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Why Tuition Insurance is Necessary
You insure your property and valuables. Here's why tuition insurance is necessary when you attend private school.
Many parents think that tuition insurance is a waste of money or that they really don’t need it. Here’s why they do. 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.

What does tuition insurance cost? Typically you will pay .009% to 1% of the face value of the education charges. As noted above tuition insurance is mandatory unless you pay in one payment up front.

Tuition insurance affords protection and peace of mind for parents and the school. Specifically you would need tuition insurance in the event that your child is forced to withdraw from the school. There are several reasons why that might be necessary.

An illness or injury
The last thing any of us parents want is for something to happen to our darlings. All of us in our quiet reflective times breath a sigh of relief that we have gotten thus far without serious accident or injury to our children. But the reality is that the unexpected can and does happen. God forbid...
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Scholarship Funding Organizations
A Scholarship Funding Organization (SFO) is an organization which provides financial assistance for attendance at private school.
An SFO is a Scholarship Funding Organization. Basically it is an organization which provides financial assistance for attendance at private school. Each SFO is a legal entity with its own rules and governing regulations.Always ask if an SFO has been set up in your state. Scholarship Funding Organizations are permitted by an act of the state legislature and allow corporations to donate tax-deductible funds for K-12 scholarships.

Arizona Independent Schools Scholarship Foundation
The Florida Tax Credit (FTC) Scholarship Program
Georgia Tax Credit for Private School Costs and Scholarship Donations
Illinois—Education Expenses Credit
Iowa—Education Tax Credits
Iowa—School Tuition Organization Tax Credit
Louisiana—Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program
Louisiana—Elementary and Secondary School Tuition Deduction
Maine—Town Tuitioning
Minnesota K–12 Education Credit and Subtraction Program
Ohio—Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program
Ohio—Educational Choice Scholarship Pilot Program (EdChoice)
Pennsylvania—Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program
Rhode Island—Tax Credits for Contributions to Scholarship Organizations
Rhode Island Scholarship Alliance
Utah—Carson Smith Scholarships for Students with Special Needs Program
Utah—The Parent Choice in Education Act
Vermont—Town Tuitioning
Wisconsin—Milwaukee Parental Choice Program
District of Columbia—DC Opportunity Scholarship Program

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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.