How to afford a private school education

A private school education may be in the future for your children.

Some parents may dream about sending their children to private school but assume the tuition makes these schools inaccessible. However, a private school education is available to everyone. There are numerous options available to help finance an elementary and secondary education.

First of all, research your schools of interest to find the cost of tuition. There will probably be other costs that must be paid, too. You may be required to buy textbooks, make donations, or pay special school fees.

Armed with a good estimate of the tuition and costs, parents should create a written budget and determine if there is any money that can be reallocated for tuition. Scrutinize the budget for items that can be reduced, replaced or eliminated.

Most private schools will divide the tuition payments into monthly installments. Making monthly payments may make tuition easier to afford then making one lump sum payment.

Next, contact the school to see if they offer any in-house scholarships or financial assistance. The schools may offer tuition discounts. Some common discounts are:

  • Multiple children in attendance
  • Referral of potential students
  • Tuition prepayment
  • Affiliations with religious, ethnic or social organizations
  • Parent Service – Parent provides a service that the school would ordinarily hire someone else to perform. The parent provides the service for a discounted tuition rate.

There are school vouchers and scholarships available nationally and regionally. Vouchers are used to reimburse parents for tuition paid to schools. Scholarships and vouchers may cover all or part of the tuition. An online search or visit to the private school will find these sources.

Signature loans are another choice. Signature loans are unsecured loans that only require the borrower’s signature. Parents should evaluate other options before borrowing money to pay for elementary or secondary tuition. Think about the impact that borrowing will have on your ability to save for retirement, pay for postsecondary education or other future goals.

In addition, contact your family members. They may be willing to help fund your child’s private school education or know of resources to assist you.  

For information about budgeting and other money management and homeownership topics, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

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