Have you been interested in having your child attend a private school but immediately stopped thinking about it when you looked at the tuition page on the school's website? The large numbers you probably saw can appear insurmountable and make it seem like private school is only for the very wealthy. You understand the benefits, but why bother thinking about something that is impossible? If you’ve ever felt like this, keep reading - I’ve got some information in this blog post (and future posts in this series) that may turn what seems impossible into a reality for your child.
I’ll begin with some details about Tuition Assistance and/or Financial Aid that is typical of most private schools and some misconceptions you might have.
Economic Diversity - Part of Most School’s Mission
You might begin thinking that private schools are only interested in wealthy families. While the tuition levels are set to enable the school to fund their programs, they are not typically intentional barriers to less-wealthy families. Most schools recognize the value of a diverse community of families and students and know that economic diversity is one of the important aspects. Most schools do not measure the value of students and families only by financial capacity but recognize that each student can contribute to the overall community in many different ways. Christian schools in particular understand this from Scripture. In 1 Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul relates a community of believers to a physical body. He points out the importance and value of every member in the same way that each part of a physical body is important. A weak body would have all the members be the same (like one entirely of ears!) In the same way, a Christian school community is strengthened by its diversity. You should be welcomed and appreciated regardless of your financial resources.
Part of the School Budget and Fundraising
Schools will always have a specific line-item in their budgets for financial assistance and expect to have families that will need the assistance to be able to attend. The amounts and the percentages vary school-by-school but you can be certain that some funding is available. Many schools also raise money specifically for the purpose of grants and scholarships that enable other families to attend. We’ve seen many, many families through the years that have a burden to give toward scholarships and have found great joy in enabling others to receive the benefits of a Christian education.
Most Families Probably Receive Tuition Assistance
You also might think that those receiving Tuition Assistance would be in the small minority. In reality, most private schools report that over 50% of their families receive some amount of assistance - espeically the schools with higher tuition amounts. You don’t need to feel embarrassed or unusual to ask about a school’s aid program and the staff should be happy to provide you with information and lead you through the process. Schools would much rather have you investigate the school and ask about tuition assistance than not showing interest at all.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask - You Wouldn’t for a College Education
I’ve heard from many families over the years that applying for tuition assistance is only for the families that are near or close to poverty. Hopefully, after reading the paragraphs above, you’d recognize that this is not the case. I’ve never heard anyone say that same thing with regard to paying for college, have you? The cost of private schools can approach or in some cases exceed the cost of college tuition - why wouldn’t everyone apply to see if they qualify?
There’s only one way to find out - ask!
You can guess and estimate all day long but in the end, the only way to find out how much a Christian Education would cost you and your family is to ask. If you have considered it in the past, but have been stopped by the tuition roadblock, I’d strongly encourage you to invest a little bit of time and effort to get the real answer. You want to be sure you’re making such an important decision based on facts!
For additional information, keep watching the blog for future articles or click below to watch our recorded webinar about affording private school education.