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
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
- Pay the fees in two installments.
- Sign up with a tuition payment service and pay monthly installments.
- Borrow the funds you need.
- Apply for financial aid.
- Investigate other funding sources.
The way these plans work is that you in effect are borrowing from them. You borrow one year's tuition fees and incidentals. Then you repay in equal installments, generally 10 installments. The plan in turn pays the school on the tuition due dates. This is a good payment option if you need to spread the payments over several months.