Private high school tuition can appear prohibitively expensive for some families but the reality may be more affordable than you think. You can get financial assistance to attend private high school. In fact, nearly 30 percent of private students receive some financial aid. If your child would like to attend private high school, but you thought the cost would be an impenetrable barrier, you might be able to break through. However, it’s critical to understand the process.
Apply to Private High School
Before you can access financial aid, you first need to select a school, apply, and get accepted. Complete the application to the best of your ability. Much like the components of a college application, your application to a private high school must highlight your child’s fit to the school and willingness to accept the academic rigor required. In addition to academic transcripts, you can expect to include such required items as standardized test scores, a parental statement, a student essay, and letters of recommendation. You and your child will likely also need to participate in an admissions interview. Once you are accepted, you can apply for financial aid.
Learn the Difference: Need-Based and Merit-Based
Need-based financial aid is determined by your family’s demonstrated financial circumstances and ability to pay. Merit-based scholarships that help lower your family’s tuition contribution are solely based on the applicant’s academic and/or extra-curricular abilities meeting outlined criteria (i.e. certain GPA or testing cut-offs).
Apply to the Private High School for Financial Aid
Most private schools do offer financial aid, especially those that are part of the National Association of Independent Schools. As you prepare your application, be sure to share any special financial circumstances that may impact your family’s estimated contribution. This is especially true if you feel that there is not enough space on an aid application to paint the full picture of your ability to pay full tuition. Be sure to research the particular school’s financial aid application process and platform. Some schools, like Gravitas, use the TADS application which allows families to use a single application to apply for aid at more than one school. Timeliness of your application is vital because schools’ financial aid budgets are limited and tuition assistance may be allotted on a first come, first served basis.
Consider Additional Sources for Financial Aid
Although reaching out to the school for financial aid should be your first choice, there are several other options that might help finance your child’s private high school education. A 529 Plan is a federal tax-advantaged savings plan originally built to cover the cost of college tuition. However, it was expanded in 2017 to include K-12 education. Another option is a Coverdell Education Savings Account. These tax deferred trust accounts offer tax-free growth and withdrawal for education expenses. Scholarships may also be available through programs like the Children’s Scholarship Fund and Cooke Young Scholars. And some states offer school voucher programs that assist with private school tuition. You may even find tuition assistance in the form of alumni scholarships. It’s important to do your research and uncover all the resources you can.
Before you give up on your child’s dream for a private high school education, contact Gravitas. As the online extension of the prestigious Stony Brook School on Long Island, NY, Gravitas is passionate about providing a rigorous education, along with sound moral teaching, to a diverse student body. Contact us today to find out how to apply and what financial assistance might be available to you.