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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There are only a handful of free private schools in the United States. Most of them were founded many years ago by visionary, community-minded individuals who believed that children from working class and poor families should have the same educational advantages as children from families with money. The impact these schools have had on society is enormous. The benefits to thousands of students and their families are priceless.

As you read about these schools and watch the videos, remember that all of these schools believe very emphatically that an education does not consist solely of academics. Each of these schools understands that a child needs nurturing and counselling so that he can make the most of the opportunities before him.  These schools expect the child's family to be involved. His education is a partnership of three: home, school and student. That's what it takes to provide the solid foundation a child needs in order to succeed in his adult life.
 
De Marillac Academy, San Francisco, is an example of the very best sort of educational initiative sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church. Established by Daughters of Charity and De La Salle Christian Brothers the school provides tuition free schooling for middle school age children in one of San Francisco's poorest neighborhoods. More about the mission of the Academy here.
 
 
The key to De Marillac's ability to accomplish its mission is the Academy's Schoolwide Learning Expectations. The Academy isn't providing simply a top-notch . . .read more
No doubt about it, private school tuition costs are rising. Some schools seem to be rising at a faster rate than others. Why? What's behind those tuition increases? Unfortunately for many private schools costs of basic goods and services have risen dramatically. Energy costs alone chew up a major part of any school's budget. Faculty and staff salaries and benefits are a substantial part of  budgets as well. In order to attract and retain qualified, skilled and experience personnel, you need to offer a decent compensation package with annual increases. Most schools also offer free or substantially reduced tuition for children of faculty and staff.

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.
 
Is it worth it? Private schools have to spend their income wisely. They
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Le Rosey which bills itself as 'the prestigious international boarding school' tops the scale at a princely $114,000 in tuition and fees for 2014-15. Sundries are not included. The school is located in Switzerland and is owned a Swiss couple who are 'Les Directeurs'. What sort of clientele enjoys Le Rosey's proximity to some of the best skiing in the world? You guessed it: children of the rich and famous from every corner of the globe. The school does offer some need-based scholarships.
 
Back in the real world private schools in the U.S. get along with boarding tuition and fees running in the $40-45,000 range. Forman School tops the list at $64,150 for 2013-14. Tuition and fees at most day schools will run you approximately $20,000-25,000 a year.

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
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Whether you are a parent looking to send your child to a private K-12 school, or your child is currently enrolled in one, you are probably exploring your options for how to pay for tuition and the other costs associated with a K-12 school. The following information will guide you as you consider the many loan program options available to help you pay for your child's private education.
 
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. Waiting until the last minute is never a good idea when it comes to matters financial. By starting your research early you give yourself time to plan paying for this major expense on the best terms possible.
 
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. Knowing what a potential award might be helps you plan your borrowing.
 
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
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The number of organizations offering scholarships for private school students is limited. In addition to the list of organizations below you should also check to see if your state has and Scholarship Funding Organizations. Apptoximately 14 states have SFOs.  Most admissions officers will be able to advise you about scholarships available in your area.
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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.