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.
View the most popular articles in Financing Basics:
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Financing Your Kids’ Education: Coronavirus Edition
Learn more about how the coronavirus can impact the financing of your child’s education.

Parents turn to private K-12 education for all kinds of reasons, from overall quality of curricula and individualized teaching strategies to location and religious affiliation. Now they may be adding another motivation to the list: overcrowded classrooms and public school bus rides just seem more dangerous in the age of coronavirus.  

If you’re home-schooling your kids right now, the day they return to classes may seem like a distant dream. (How’s your blood pressure?) But September will come—with or without online classes. Chances are you’re making decisions right now that will affect at least a year of your child’s future. Chief among them may be how you will continue to finance your child’s private school education.

In 2020, the average cost of K-12 private school tuition reached $11,012. Depending on where you live and whether you have elementary-, middle-, or high school-age kids, your mileage may vary. But across the country, student loan debt has been increasing steadily along with the rising cost of education. K-12 loans aren’t subsidized by the federal government like higher-education loans. Still, many parents clearly believe that private school education is worth the investment. The question moms and dads should be asking themselves is, “How can I be sure I’m investing wisely?”

School Stability

The global coronavirus pandemic has injected uncertainty into every sector of the economy. That’s true at the micro-level, as many parents join the fast-expanding ranks of unemployed workers. It’s also true for private schools, whose economic well-being is based on parents’ ability to

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The New Tax Code's Implications For 529 Plans For K-12 Schools
Changes to the Tax Code in late 2017 included the addition of saving for K-12 private school education to 529 plans. We take a look at what this means for families thinking about private school for their children.

In December 2017 the 115th Congress of the United States passed a major act dealing with taxes. One of the changes in the Tax Code pertained to ESA or Educational Savings Accounts. Most parents and grandparents are probably familiar with ESAs as a means of saving for their children and grandchildren's college educations. Congress has expanded Section 529 ESAs to include K-12 education expenses as well as college expenses.

First, a bit of history. The educational savings accounts known as Section 529 plans were created by the Small Business Job Protection Act Of 1996. The section of this act which pertains to educational savings accounts is entitled PART VIII—QUALIFIED STATE TUITION PROGRAMS. The text begins on page 141. This is worth reading so that you can discuss the topic with your financial advisor when you set up your 529 plan.

Changes to the Tax Code

On Friday, December 22, 2017 President Donald Trump signed An Act to Provide for Reconciliation Pursuant to Titles II and V of the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2018  While the Act has effects on a wide range of tax situations, the specific text pertaining to K-12 educational expenses can be found on page 74.  Here is the relevant paragraph:

‘‘(7) TREATMENT OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY TUITION.—Any reference in this subsection to the term ‘qualified higher education expense’ shall include a reference to expenses for tuition in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public,

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Why Does Tuition Vary So Much?
How can you compare schools objectively when the costs seem to be so different from one school to the next? We look at some of the reasons why private school tuition varies so much.

Beginning the school search process is a lot of fun. Those beautiful photographs of tree-lined campuses and sports activities, the candid shots of classroom scenes portraying kind, patient teachers, the history of the school and its many accomplishments over the years as well as all those famous graduates - it is all very impressive. So, you make a list of schools which you want to examine in greater detail. At this point in your school search process,  the question which I posed in the title of this article begins to surface.

I can hear you wondering how you are going to compare schools objectively when the costs seem to be so different from one school to the next. One boarding school charges $56,000 for tuition, room and board while another school in the same state lists its tuition, room and board as $28,000. Why, then, do some schools cost so much and some cost so little?

Boarding schools

Your costs for schools which charge the most for their services range from $45,000 to $65,000. These schools are residential schools or what we commonly call boarding schools. As well as charging for tuition and related expenses, these schools have to bill for room and board. You will notice that some schools offer two types of boarding arrangements. One is the customary seven-day a week boarding; the other is a five-day boarding scheme where the students reside at the school during the week and return home on the weekends. The five-day boarding

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Paying for Private School: 7 Options
Don't assume you cannot afford private school. Don't assume that you make too much money to be eligible for financial aid. Ask. Always ask.
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
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5 Financial Aid Dos and Don'ts
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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Recent Articles
Learn more about how the coronavirus can impact the financing of your child’s education.
Our children's education is a critical concern. That's why we elected to send our kids to private school in the first place. However, this COVID-19 virus is controlling everything. And it will continue to do so indefinitely until we have vaccines to protect us. With that in mind, here are five things you need to do when you are a parent with children in private school during this horrific pandemic.
If you are thinking about private school for your child in the aftermath of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, you should exercise even more due diligence than you usually would. More here.