Most schools expect payment of fees in two installments: one due in the summer, typically by July 1, the other in the late fall, typically by the end of November of the current academic year. Still others do their billing by semester or term. Some schools will permit payment with a credit card. Simply write a check twice a year and pay the sundries monthly. Ask for a discount if you pay the entire year in advance. Discounts of 5-10% are common.
Tuition Payment Plans
Most schools participate in tuition payment plans which are offered by outside providers, not the school itself. The way these work is that you pay one tenth of the expenses each month to the payment plan provider which in turn pays the school on an agreed basis. It can be a real boon to your cash flow by allowing the payments to be spread equally over a number of months
Almost every school offers some form of financial aid. You have to file an application for aid with the school and also file a standardized form such as the Parents' Financial Statement issued by the School and Student Services for Financial Aid. The amount of aid which you can reasonably expect depends to a great extent on the size of the school's endowment, how much the school really wants to recruit your child, and how the school allots its scholarships. Several schools now offer a virtually free education if your family income is below $60-75,000. So, if you need financial aid, see what the various schools on your short list can offer. Finally, be sure to ask around your community. Many civic and religious groups provide scholarships.
You could borrow against your assets to pay for a private school education. There are also some specialized educational loan programs available. It is always a good idea to consult your tax adviser and financial planner before making a major financial decision such as this.
Many major corporations will pay for tuition and related educational expenses for dependent children of expatriate employees. So if you are posted to Belgium tomorrow, the main issue you will face is getting your children into the local international school. Fortunately for you the tuition expenses will be paid for you by your company. Ask your Human Resources department for details.