Kids and Finance: Affording a Private School on a Limited Budget

If you would've asked the pre-kid me where my offspring would attend school, I wouldn't have hesitated to say, "Well, the public school. Where else?" Fast forward to five years later. My twins, having successfully completed two years of preschool, were ready to go to kindergarten, even if the hubby and I were not. After discussion and visiting some local schools near the tail-end of our daughters' pre-k career, we decided to send our girls to a private school. If you knew our budget and income, you'd probably be snickering by now and wondering how we could manage that.

Private school tuition can be daunting; it certainly was to us, especially when doubled. Here are some legitimate ways we found to help cut down on those costs and make private school work within our budget.

School-Offered Discounts

The school we decided on had some discounts in tuition already available for those students and families who met certain criteria. For example, because we were enrolling two students at once, we did get a reduction in the second tuition. Taking this a bit further, if you happen to have more than two enrolled at the same time, the tuition for each subsequent student drops a bit more. So having multiple children at the same private school at the same time might help out in your financial department.

If the school you're looking at is affiliated with a certain church or religion, check into discounts linked to this. Our girls' school is Lutheran and is attached to a church; members of the church get a nice discount off tuition, while Lutheran members of other area churches are entitled to a different discount.

Tuition Assistance

It's not just for college anymore. In all seriousness, there could be a local program out there to help with private school tuition. We are fortunate to live in an area that has such a program dedicated solely to helping families living within certain incomes with private school tuition. Our local program, the Bison Fund, provides such assistance to some 1,300 children throughout the Western New York region. Do a little internet digging of your own or ask potential schools if there is a similar program near you.

Work with the School

My last bit of advice is to familiarize yourself with whoever is in charge of admission and/ or finances at the school of your choice and ask about any assistance you might be missing as far as tuition goes. If your region does not have a fund like that one described above, your school could still offer tuition assistance or reduction based on income. It does not hurt to ask.

Also, if the lump sum of the tuition is more than you can pay at one time (though there could be a financial incentive to do so), inquire about the possibility of a more manageable monthly payment plan. It has been my experience (limited though it is) that private schools will work with families.

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Anonymous's picture

Ashley @ Everything Finance wrote:

Tue, 10/11/2011 - 16:41 Comment #: 1

My kids attend the local public school and are doing well there. Our area also has a very rich Charter school system so I'd look into that if the public school wasn't working out.

Anonymous's picture

Alex | Perfecting Dad wrote:

Tue, 10/11/2011 - 18:59 Comment #: 2

I'm facing a similar dilemma to you. Our public school is not very challenging and I fear a bit for the child who just entered grade 2. I have talked with the teacher, and I see a little change but not enough. I'll try again soon and if nothing happens by Christmas I'm going to have to do something for the new year.

Melinda Gregory's picture

Melinda Gregory wrote:

Sat, 10/15/2011 - 11:59 Comment #: 3

@ Ashley - both my hubby & I attended public; we hold nothing against them, just wanted something with an emphasis on God for our girls.

@ Alex - we're finding out that our school does go above & beyond the public curriculum - it's a bonus in our eyes!

Anonymous's picture

The Kids-and-Finances Guide for Parents | MomVesting wrote:

Thu, 01/19/2012 - 21:45 Comment #: 4

[...] Speaking of private school: here are some tips for how to afford private school on a budget. [...]

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