Is private school really worth the cost?Studies overwhelmingly show that private school students outperform public school students on the ACT and SAT. There have also been studies that show:
So depending on your values, it might be worth the cost.
But what does all of this matter if you can't afford it?
As the tuition assistance administrator at our school, I have watched so many families from all different income levels figure out how to pay the cost of private school. Many of them were middle-income families who, with careful planning and budgeting, found a way to make it work. If you have decided a private school education is the best option for your family, don't assume you can't pay for it until you have spent some time counting the cost.
The expensive price tag of private school may seem overwhelming, but there are many options to help you afford it.
Budgeting and Financial Planning
Make it a priority to live within your means. The family you see on Instagram taking fancy vacations every summer and driving flashy cars are likely overwhelmed with debt. Create a detailed budget to understand your income, expenses, and savings. Choose a budget that accommodates the cost of private school tuition. This may mean you must let go of nicer cars and expensive vacations. I have even seen some families downsize their homes to pay for education. Use your budget to establish your priorities. How we spend communicates what we value. As you make financial commitments throughout the year, remember the cost of education will increase yearly.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Many private schools set aside budgetary funds for tuition assistance. An estimated 28% of private school students receive some form of financial aid. The most common question about tuition assistance is, "Is there a maximum gross income amount that excludes families from getting assistance?" The simple answer to this question is no. CCA calculates a family's capacity to pay tuition based on assets, income, and expenses. Every family is unique financially, and the outcome of the qualifying calculation varies for each family regardless of income level. If you need help paying for tuition, I encourage you to apply. Based on how a school qualifies a family for assistance, you might be declined, but you might receive some assistance, and you would only know if you tried.
Education Investment Accounts
Did you know you can use a 529 plan to pay for tuition? A 529 plan is an investment account designed to encourage families to save for future college expenses. Parents can invest after-tax dollars on behalf of a child for the purpose of education. Money contributed to the 529 is not tax-deductible, but any growth in the investment is tax-free. Parents can withdraw funds to pay for K-12 private education. You can also use Coverdell ESA for school tuition and expenses. There are annual limits on contribution amounts and income participation limits, but you will have more control over how you invest this money. Check with your financial planner to learn which options work best for you.
Ask family members to help.
Consider asking your parents, grandparents, or other family members to help cover the cost of private school tuition. Many family members consider private school a valuable investment and are willing to contribute.
Many schools do not require full tuition payment at the time of enrollment. Check with the school to see if they offer payment plans. Be aware you may have to pay a fee to participate in a payment plan.
A private school education is a substantial financial sacrifice for many families, but with persistence and planning, it is achievable. Many parents believe the return on investment is well worth the cost. Please prayerfully consider whether it is worth it for your family and if your family can afford it.