For many families, a private school is the best choice for academic or religious reasons, but the cost can seem prohibitive. Fortunately, there are ways to afford the tuition without having to sacrifice everything else in your life. The following tips can help you come up with the funds for your child's education.
Tip #1: Ask about tuition programs
Some schools offer a sliding scale tuition program or a discount tuition option. Most often these are need-based and offered on a first come, first serve method. Although these won't cover the whole price tag, they can adjust the tuition amount to one that is more affordable. You will likely need to provide pay stubs or tax returns to prove your income and financial need.
Tip #2: Apply for a scholarship
Some private schools have scholarships available. These are usually funded by alumni associations or by supporting groups, such as the church the school is tied to. Some scholarships are need based while others are first come, first serve. Your admissions counselor should be able to help you figure out when and how to apply.
Tip #3: Get a discount
There are often discounts if you are sending multiple children to the same school. While the first child may need to pay full tuition, their siblings may be provided discounted admission. Some private schools also offer a discount if one of the parents is a former student. Membership discounts are also sometimes available. For example, a school tied to a religious denomination may give tuition breaks to members of the supporting church.
Tip #4: Work at the school
Taking even a part time job at the school may provide a tuition break. This is because staff members are often given tuition discounts or even free tuition for their children. If you were formerly a stay at home parent, taking a job at the school could be perfect since you will work the same hours your child is in school. Not all jobs require special training, either. For example, all schools need cafeteria workers, janitors, office staff, and student aids.
Tip #5: Use a payment plan
Finally, if you still can't pay tuition in a lump sum, check to see if there is a payment plan. Many schools offer you the ability to make monthly payments, thus breaking up the large bill into more manageable chunks that you can budget for more easily.
For more help, talk to a private school in your area.