Financing an Independent School Education
While everyone will agree that a private school education can be expensive, it doesn't have to break your budget. Affording a quality education does take some planning, and most families employ several strategies to keep the costs within reach. In this planning it is important to realize that the family bears the primary responsibility for financing their child's education to the extent that they are able.
The best source of information lies with the financial aid officers at the individual schools you're considering. They can explain the full range of financing options that the school offers so that you can see how these options fit within your financial planning.
Among the most common of financing options is financial aid. These grants are based upon the financial need of a family and do not need to be paid back. The money for these grants comes directly from a school's budget and demonstrates the school's commitment to having a socio-economically diverse student population.
Another common option is a monthly payment plan. These plans are administered either by the schools themselves or by outside agencies approved by a school and allow families to spread out their tuition payments over a period of eight to ten months. In most cases, payments start before the school year begins
Occasionally schools also offer loan programs. Loan programs differ from payment plans in that they charge interest, require creditworthiness, and often include fees beyond interest payments. Families utilizing this option should look carefully at both the short and long-term financial impact.
Remember that financing a private school education requires some planning on your part and most families take advantage of at least one of the above options. No matter which of these options you decide to use, following deadline dates for submitting the necessary forms is most important. Missing a deadline or not following directions might well diminish your chances of utilizing that particular financing option. And remember that the admission and/or financial aid officers are willing to help you understand these options. They are interested in the same thing you are - providing a quality education for your child!
Visit the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) web site for additional financial aid information.