1. Education

Paying Private School Tuitions


Paying for private school can be difficult. The average national cost of non-sectarian private schools is approximately $17,000 a year, and the yearly tuition at schools in areas such as New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. can be more than $30,000. While you may think that there is little financial aid for private schools, there are some sources of funding that you may not have thought of. Here are some ways in which you can find financial help to pay for private school:

  • Talk to the financial aid officer at your school.

    The financial aid officer at your school may know about merit and need-based scholarships that your child may be eligible for. Several private schools make tuition free for parents earning below about $75,000 a year. As many as 20% of private school students receive some form of need-based financial aid, and this figure is as high as about 35% at schools with large endowments. Keep in mind that schools with large endowments and longer histories can generally offer larger amounts of aid.
  • Check out scholarships.

    There are many scholarships and voucher programs for students at private schools. There are also regional scholarship programs. Some notable programs include A Better Chance, which provides opportunities for students of color to attend boarding and day college-prep schools around the country.
  • Research free private schools.

    There are completely tuition-free private and parochial schools across the country. Check out this list of free private schools .
  • Don’t forget to ask about sibling discounts.

    Many schools will offer discounts if you already have a child at the school. In addition, some private school financial aid officers will reduce the tuition for families paying college tuition at the same time they are paying private school tuition.
  • Spread out payments with tuition payment plans.

    Many schools will allow you to spread out your yearly tuition in installments. They may charge a flat fee or interest for this service. There are also many institutions that manage tuition payments at private schools across the country.
  • You can use tax-free Coverdell savings accounts.

    Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, which allow you to save up to $2,000 a year per beneficiary in tax-free accounts, can be used for tuition at private schools. The distributions from these accounts will not be taxed if the amount in the account is less than the beneficiary’s educational expenses at an eligible institution.
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