Throughout the United States, there are an estimated 10.4 million private school students. If you’re one of these many families or want to become one as you begin to consider your options for educating your children, you might be wondering how to afford private school education.
How to Afford Private School
There are a number of ways that parents can save on tuition, such as scholarships and financial aid programs; however, a good percentage of parents opt for loans with attractive interest rates.
But before you take the loan route, let’s look at some other options you have to reduce the cost of private school.
1. Apply for Private Scholarships
There is an abundance of available scholarships for private school students. Scholarships provide monetary assistance that can be used to offset the cost of tuition and other expenses.
2. Apply for Financial Aid
Most, if not all private schools have financial aid options for lower-income families.
They also have merit-based aid available for students that show real academic promise.
Applying early is recommended when it comes to securing financial assistance.
Usually, applications must be submitted no later than February 1, and awards are typically made at the beginning of June.
3. Choose Your School Carefully
Just because it is expensive doesn’t mean it is a good school.
Be sure to do some research on the school you are considering.
Find out how they rate with the Better Business Bureau and what their accreditation is.
If you have children with special needs, find out if they cater to students with disabilities.
Ask for information about graduation rates and other important facts that will help you decide if it is a good fit for your child.
You are going to spend a lot of money so you want to be sure that it will be worth the price.
The bottom line is just because it is an expensive school doesn’t mean it is the right fit for your child.
4. Check into Tuition Payment Plans
Some schools have payment plans that allow you to make tuition payments all year long through monthly payments instead of having to come up with one large lump sum at the beginning of classes.
5. Negotiate Tuition Rates
A lot of private schools will negotiate their tuition rates. Their rates are flexible. They don’t advertise that fact, of course, but it is true especially if they are in a position of needing to increase their enrollment.
When you are checking out the school be sure to ask if there is any flexibility in the tuition.
6. Apply for State Voucher Programs
State-sponsored private school voucher programs may be available in your state.
Eligibility requirements will vary from state to state.
7. Get a Borrowing Plan for Your Education
A student loan may be the most convenient method for financing your child’s education.
The loan will have a fixed interest rate and can be repaid over time as a series of monthly payments.
Private student loans offer attractive interest rates; however, it is important to consider other factors such as the ease of repayment and repayment term length before making your final decision.
If you go this route, but sure to only get enough to cover your private school tuition.
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8. Take Advantage of State Tax Credit Programs
Many states offer tax incentives to their taxpayers.
These include both religious and non-religious schools.
Be sure to check with your state for more information on the tax credits that are available.
9. Work with a Financial Aid Consultant
Whether you’re receiving financial aid or utilizing private school scholarships, it is a good idea to work with a financial aid consultant to review your finances and make recommendations about saving for your child’s education, paying as you go, or financing options over time, based on any remaining federal loan eligibility.
10. See if Your State Has a Private School Choice Program
Some states offer school choice programs, which provide tuition assistance for students to attend private schools.
11. Utilize Discount School Supply Vendors
Education materials are costly, and many families find that they can save money by shopping for school supplies and uniforms at discount vendors.
The Internet is a great way to find the best deals on everything from basic writing tablets to scientific calculators.
12. See If the Grandparents Will Help with Expenses
If you have grandparents who enjoy seeing their grandchildren and want to help with some of the educational expenses, see if they may be willing to contribute.
This can be a great way to save some cash for your family.
There is a good chance your children’s grandparents have a vested interest in your children’s education and will be happy to help out with tuition costs if they can afford to do so.
13. Start Saving Early
If your children are very young, start saving now.
Even if you don’t have a lot to contribute right away, put away what you can as early as possible.
It doesn’t take long for money to add up and every little bit helps.
14. Choose a School in Your Community
A school close to home will save money over a boarding school.
Your kids will be happier staying at home as well.
15. Find Outside Scholarships
Many organizations offer scholarships for children attending private schools.
Take the time to research and complete applications for any that are relevant to your child’s situation.
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To Sum it All Up:
None of these options are necessarily going to work for everyone, but they can offer solutions if you are trying to figure out how to afford private school education. The earlier you start the process the better luck you will have to get your kids into private education.