How to Afford a Private School Education

Sending your child to a private school can be expensive. Through scholarships, financial aid and strategic budgeting, many families are able to find ways to afford a private school education.  

The value of a private or independent school education far surpasses that of just high school. With a lifetime of knowledge, experiences, and resources, private education can provide your child with skills for a lifetime.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, private schools have seen an uptick in enrollment. Due to the new online nature of classes and extracurricular activities -- and with many private schools embracing a hybrid learning model with in-person classes -- private schools have been able to pivot particularly well during this challenging time.

Private School Education = an Investment in Your Child’s Future

Presentation High School President, Holly Elkins, understands that the cost of a private school education may be a financial burden. “This is an investment you are making, and we know that you have many, many choices,” she says. “We are here to support you because we really believe that [a Presentation education] is an investment that lasts a lifetime.”

Presentation’s need-blind admissions process guarantees that all eligible students can attend Pres, no matter their financial need. We encourage you to reach out with any questions and visit our admissions page for more details on our application process and programs. Additionally, you can watch the recent Presentation video on financial aid and important tips to navigate the process, no matter where you are applying.

Tips for Affording a Private School Education

Do your research on how to afford a private education before applying. It will save you time and money.

Review the school’s financial aid philosophy and procedures: 

  • Is financial aid need blind? This means that applying for financial assistance does not affect any admissions decision. 
  • What is tuition and what is the average aid package? For the 2020-21 current students, Presentation distributed more than $2.2 million in financial aid, with an average award of $14,887 toward its $22,000 annual tuition. Typically, schools require families to reapply annually for financial aid.
  • Is the process individualized? Each family situation is unique. Does the school’s financial aid process weigh each family’s situation when making decisions about financial aid?
  • Who can apply and for which grades? 
  • What comprises an aid package at a school? For example, in 2020, Presentation eliminated its work-study program for financial aid recipients to create a more equitable experience for each girl.
  • What’s covered by financial aid? Tuition only? Room and board, if it’s a boarding school? Textbooks and other fees? If the latter is not covered, does the school offer programs to meet those additional, and often substantial, fees?
  • Does the school accept payment plans? 

What is the school’s approach to financial aid during COVID-19? “At Presentation, we are especially sensitive to the unique financial challenges associated with COVID-19 and unstable employment and business operations,” says Holly Elkins of her school’s approach to helping families during these current challenges. 

Know and follow all deadlines for financial aid applications. Most private schools use the FACTS Management Systems, an independent company that helps independent schools across the country determine the need of a family. Schools use the FACTS recommendation and additional information provided by a family to make a decision. The FACTS site has great FAQs about the financial aid process.

Provide accurate financial information to a school, especially if your finances have changed during COVID-19. Typically, you will need to provide a list of other children, additional dependents, all sources of income, priority of spending, debts, and expenses. 

Apply for financial aid, even if you think you won’t qualify. Most schools, like Presentation, offer different levels of awards. If you don’t apply for aid, you cannot be considered.

Invest early. Very similar to how families may start saving for college tuition for their children, saving even earlier for a private education can help benefit your child in the long run. Education savings accounts, most state-based, allow you to save money for your child’s education without being taxed on the money directly. 

Scholarships for a Private School Education

Whether you’ve been planning to send your child to private school, or you’re looking for new ways to save money for the final years of your child’s education, taking advantage of other money-saving services can alleviate some of the stress of tuition payments as well as help you afford a private school education.

Some schools will offer merit-based scholarships, but don’t limit your options to the school. There are a plethora of outside scholarship opportunities. Check with your church or synagogue for any educational scholarships for congregants. Civic organizations also may help with private school tuition through a scholarship. Do a web search for scholarships in your region and apply, if you are eligible. 

Additionally, depending on where you live, you may be eligible for state tax credit programs or state voucher programs

  • Financial Aid
  • Scholarships
  • Tuition