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:
Updated May 25, 2016 |
Borrowing to Pay for Private School
Borrowing money to pay for your child's private school is one of several options you have.
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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Updated June 09, 2016 |
Scholarships for private school students are rather limited. Most support students in their area. Here are some organizations which offer funding.
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.
Updated May 25, 2016 |
Fees and Financial Aid For Overseas Parents
A brief look at fees and financial aid for overseas students.
Tuition at private schools ranges from $5,000 a year for primary grades in a parochial schools to almost $50,000 a year for boarding school. Like the wide range of private schools available, the costs vary greatly for several reasons. Sound management and healthy endowments are two major reasons some schools seem to be able to offer more for less.
Remember: American private schools receive no state funding, yet they must comply with all the laws and regulations which affect their daily operation. Retrofitting older buildings with new technologies, maintaining extensive physical plants, coping with soaring health and liability insurance, legal, and energy costs are just a few of the factors which come into play in determining tuition fees. While private schools are theoretically exempt from property taxes, most of them make substantial contributions to their local towns and cities to help offset the cost of maintaining police and fire protection. The overhead at a private school is enormous and complex with all the attendant impact on fees.
There are a host of ‘extras’ which also must be factored into the cost of an American private school education. Text book and academic material fees, sports fees, clothing, uniforms, transportation to and from school, application fees – the list seems endless. Most schools will provide a breakdown of the ‘extras’ for you upon request.
Financial Aid
Financial aid for expats is generally not available. The assumption is that your company will pay for your child’s education as part of your compensation package. That’s fairly standard
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Updated April 09, 2015 |
Will The School Give Me A Refund If My Child Withdraws Early?
What happens if my child suddenly takes sick before the end of the school year? What if he is expelled? Answers here.
You have just paid $45,000 for a year's tuition and fees at St. Sedgewick's. You are all set, right? Not exactly. What happens if your child suddenly takes sick before the end of the school year? What if circumstances beyond your control force you to withdraw her from school in March? What if he is expelled? In brief, you are obligated for the entire year's tuition and fees regardless of whether your child completes the year or not.
What Are My Options?
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
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Updated May 25, 2016 |
Private School May Be Free If You Make Less Than $75,000
Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth set the pace. Now several top private schools are offering free or greatly reduced tuition for children from families making less than $75,000.
Over the past two decades private schools have developed very generous financial aid programs. This has happened for a variety of reasons. But the most compelling reason is that private schools want to diversify their student bodies. They want to attract academically well-qualified applicants whose families simply cannot afford the enormous expense of sending their children to private school. Generous financial aid programs are one way of helping schools achieve that goal.

Here's how Exeter describes why it offers the very generous financial aid it does:


"Socioeconomic diversity has been a characteristic of Phillips Exeter Academy from our founding. It's built into our ethic—to attract and teach 'youth from every quarter'—and it's crucial to the nature of our community and our classrooms."


St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire expresses its commitment to financial aid as follows:


"We are committed to making St. Paul’s an affordable option for families.


To honor this commitment we will:

  • Consider a household income of $80,000 per year or less as qualifying for full financial aid.
  • Families with an annual income of less than $200,000 will not pay more than 10% of their income toward tuition per year." 

Deerfield Academy outlines its full-need grants as follows:


In 2012-2013 over 28% of our financial aid recipients received full-need grants. These full-need grants include 98% or more of tuition coverage as well as other forms of assistance. These can include coverage for laptop and schoolbook purchases, travel allowances, stipends for school supplies, music and dance lessons, and

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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.