Financing

Boarding school can be a substantial investment, or relatively affordable depending on your family's financial situation and potential scholarship options. Here you’ll find information on tuition, fees and all of your financing options. From payment plans to scholarships, work study to sibling discounts, parents have choices when funding a boarding school education. Find out how much boarding school costs, learn more about the Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS), and identify boarding schools your child may attend for free.
View the most popular articles in Financing:
Financing a boarding school education can be very confusing for many parents. You wonder whether you make too much to be eligible. Is there a specific time when you apply? Here are some facts most of us didn't know about private school financial aid.

1. You have to apply for it.
 
Applying for financial aid at most private schools is a separate process from applying for admission to the school. You also need to make sure that you apply early. This is particularly important if the school has no specific admissions deadline or rolling admissions. Each school has allocated a specific pool of funds for financial aid. Once it is spoken for there generally are no more funds in that academic year.
 
2. You may be eligible for free tuition if your family income is below a certain amount.
 
Exeter, Andover, Groton, St. Paul's and Deerfield, to name just a few schools, all have financial aid programs which offer a tuition free education to admitted students whose income is below a certain threshold. The threshold varies but is in the $60-75k range. Why are these highly competitive schools offering a free education to children from families with incomes below $75,000? Simply because they want to make their excellent educations available to a wider constituency. When tuition and expenses creep into the $50,000 range, it means that only a tiny percentage of American families can afford to attend those schools. Schooling has to be . . . read more
One of the first questions parents have about sending their child to a boarding school is how to pay for it. Since I am not Boston Kennedy but rather a poor Scots Canadian, I remember well confronting that reality when we were investigating schools for our eldest daughter.  This hub is designed as a guide to the financial side of things as you explore boarding schools.
 
How Do They Pay for It? examines the answers to a question one of my young employees asked me when he discovered that many boarding schools cost way more than what he made in a year.
 
Borrowing to Pay for Private School looks at that option in detail. One thing which I have learned over the years is to learn about the various options you have. Try to understand them as best you can. Then sit down with a professional adviser and have her explain which ones best suit your particular circumstances. You are unique. What works for one family might not be the best option for you. A qualified professional adviser such as an accountant, a financial adviser, a tax attorney or your trusted family attorney will see advantages and disadvantages in each option and point those out to you. Money well spent.
 
How Much Do Schools Cost? attempts to illustrate how schools can cost nothing all the way up to over $100,000 a year. (That high end school happens to be in Switzerland and most likely will not . . . read more

Most private schools offer a variety of payment options. Hopefully one or more of these options will suit your needs.

Payment Type
N-PK
PK-8
9-12/PG
 
One Payment
Y
Y
Y
Two Payments
Y
Y
Tuition Payment Plans
Y
Loans
Y
Y
Financial Aid
Y
Y
Work Study
Scholarships
Vouchers
Y
Sibling Discounts
Y
Y
Y
Free Schools
Y
Y
Miscellaneous Fees
Y
Y

One Payment

What this means is that you write a check for the entire year’s tuition. Some schools will give you a cash discount when you pay cash up front.

Two Payments
When you pay using two payments, most schools expect one payment in June or July (or some time well before school begins) and the second payment in December. The split varies from school to school. Some schools split the years fees 50/50. Others 60/40. For example, if your child’s tuition and fees total $50,000 and the school wants 50% in July and 50% in December you would write two checks for $25,000 each. If the school bills 60% of the tuition in July, you would pay $30,000 then and $20,000 in December. Each school determines how its tuition payments work. Be sure to review payment options carefully when . . . read more
I remember wondering years ago how we were going to pay for our daughters' private school educations. It was a major expense then. It is still a major expense today. Back then in the 90s boarding school cost $11,000 a year. Because paying for boarding school involves a major part of the income for most of us, let's look at the options which are available to you.
 
You can pay for boarding school in several ways.
 
By check
 
Fees at most schools are payable in advance. You will receive an invoice with your acceptance letter. Half a year's tuition and other fees are due in  the summer, usually in July or early August. The second half of the year's tuition together with other fees is due in December. Payment dates vary from school to school but most expect payment around these times of the year. If you have your child's boarding school expenses allocated already or have sufficient income to cover two substantial payments a year, then paying by check might make sense for you. Effectively you are paying cash for your child's education. Should you expect a cash discount? It never hurts to ask.
 
 
Don't forget to budget for the other fees besides tuition. Your tuition invoices will not include items such as tuition insurance, fees for supplies used in special courses, textbooks and supplies as well as your child's athletic equipment. Boarding your daughter's horse is not included in tuition. Neither are music lessons. 
 
Plan on paying for . . . read more
One of the major issues most families consider when thinking of sending their child to boarding school is the cost. Though it may seem daunting, the boarding school financial aid process isn’t as complex as you might think, and understanding the system will pay off in the long term.
 
Recently, boarding schools began reshaping their financial aid policies to allow more talented, middle-class students to attend their schools. Today, a large percentage of students at boarding schools receive some form of financial aid from grants, and in some cases that number is as high as 40%. Each school’s aid policy is different, and officers are your best bet for accurate information. Contacting them will give you a better understanding of the steps you will need to take, but below are some basic tips that will apply to all schools.
 
What is financial aid?
Financial aid is funding intended to help students cover the cost of attending private schools (tuition, board, fees, etc.). Aid does not have to be repayed (unlike loans).
 
Generally, the endowment of a school correlates directly into the amount of financial aid that can be offered. Each year, a percentage of the budget is set aside for financial aid. Thus, it’s very easy for a boarding school to run out of financial aid. 

Tip: sending in all the required documents as soon as possible increases the chances that your student gets an affordable package.
 
What types of financial aid are there?
Aid generally comes in two forms: merit based or need based.
 
Merit-based aid (synonymous in most schools with grants) examines . . . read more
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Financing

Financing Overview

Don’t let the cost of boarding school deter you. From private loans, to scholarships, there is help available. When is payment due? Does your boarding school offer a tuition payment plan? How much financial aid is available? In this section you’ll find the answers to these questions and more.