As I mentioned in the first article in this series, many parents are interested in private schools but immediately stop thinking about it when they look at the tuition page on the school's website. In addition to the tuition assistance programs referenced in that article, schools also have discount programs. And in the past few years, more and more schools are adopting a form of what is called "Variable Tuition". Here's some info on both of these programs.
If the high tuition cost itself isn't enough of a hurdle, what do you do when you've got two (or more!) children to educate! Most schools understand this and many have automatic multiple-child discounts. Other schools take this into account in their tuition assistance programs. When the amount of tuition a family has to pay doubles, often the tuition assistance award more than doubles. In either case, make sure to ask how multiple children are handled.
Many schools also have special discounts as incentives for new families. Though this just helps with one year, it does make a difference. In addition to individual school programs, I've seen other new-family discount programs offered through Christian radio stations. Here in the Washington D.C. area there are a few stations (WAVA, Shine FM) that have these programs available. Again, they are typically for new families for the first year.
Affiliatied Churches and Other Programs
If the school you are interested in is associated with a particular church or denomination, there might be a discount for being a member of that church. I'm not suggesting that you shop for or change churches to get a tuition discount - just make sure you ask if your church or denomination has an affiliated school. There can also be discounts for pastors, missionaries, or others in full-time Chrisitan work.
One of the more recent trends is for schools to have a variable tuition rate, with the amount changing based on the financial (and other) circumstances of the family. You also might see it called Indexed Tuition or Flexible Tuition. In some ways its not too different than tuition assistance. Instead of adjusting a tuition assistance award, the school reduces the tuition payment amount. Schools that offer such programs are recognizing the need to be flexible in their approaches to families and enabling them to attend.
Make Sure to Ask - and Expect a Discussion, not a Policy
The main take-away is to make sure to ask about tuition discounts. And expect to be able to have a conversation about tuition. Though many schools have third-party services that help them ensure there is equity among the recipients of tuition assistance, you should be able to talk to someone about your specific financial situation.
For additional information about Tuition Assistance, check out the first blog article in the series, or watch our recorded webinar on the topic.