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Financing an Independent School Education

An independent school education is an investment in your child's future. It is also a significant financial commitment. Many schools offer a variety of financing options, including payment plans, loans, and financial aid. Regardless of your family's financial circumstances, it pays to learn more.

Affording a quality education does take some planning, and most families employ several strategies to keep the costs within reach. In this planning it is important to realize that the family bears the primary responsibility for financing their child's education to the extent that they are able.

Costs

Tuition, fees, and expenses vary from school to school.  In most cases, the tuition a school charges covers only part of the actual cost of educating a student. The difference is made up by the school's annual fund and generous constituents - alumni, parents, friends, corporations, and foundations - whose tax-deductible contributions support the school.

Determining Need

Financial aid is usually awarded to those families who demonstrate financial need. Financial need is defined as the difference between the cost of attending the school and the amount the family can afford. Ability to pay is determined based on confidential information provided by the family.  You will be asked to complete a financial aid form and to provide tax and other financial information.

Financial Aid  (sometimes called Tuition Assistance)

NJAIS-member schools are committed to students from a wide range of backgrounds. To help families who might otherwise be unable to meet costs, most NJAIS schools have financial aid budgets.  The school offers grants that need not be paid back.  The financial aid comes directly from the school's budget and demonstrates the school's commitment to socio-economic diversity.  You can learn what is offered from the financial aid office of each school, often part of admissions.

Payment Plans

Even if you do not qualify for need-based financial aid, some independent schools offer payment programs that may make it easier to meet your child's education costs. For example, some schools offer discounts for prepayment of full tuition, and some allow families to spread tuition payments over the course of the academic year.

Loans

To help families meet the cost of an independent school education, some NJAIS schools offer low-interest loans. Others participate in loan programs sponsored by banks and other agencies that offer interest-subsidized loan programs. Loan availability varies from school to school.

Please remember that financing a private school education requires some planning on your part and most families take advantage of at least one of the above options. No matter which of these options you decide to use, following deadline dates for submitting the necessary forms is most important. Missing a deadline or not following directions might well diminish your chances of utilizing that particular financing option. And remember that the admissions and/or financial aid officers are willing to help you understand these options. They are interested in the same thing you are - providing a quality education for your child!

Visit the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) web site for additional financial aid information.

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