How to Fund a Private School Education
Sarah A. O'Neill
Funding a private school education is much more attainable than some may think. Lynnette Lawrence, Tilton Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Coordinator, works with families to guide them through the financial aid process and explain financing options.
“The Tilton School Financial Aid Committee works hard to create a balance between affordability for families and the enrollment needs of the School," Lawrence said of the process. "While we believe strongly that funding a private school education is a family’s primary responsibility, we are firmly committed to helping families afford this choice. More than 40% of Tilton families receive financial assistance from Tilton in the form of need-based financial aid and/or merit scholarships.”
There are many ways to make funding a private school education more attainable. Here are just five.
Tuition Payment Plans
In general, every school offers several school specific tuition payment options. One option could be to pay the entire cost in one lump sum. Another option could be to split the cost into two payments: half a year's tuition and other fees are due in the summer, with the second half due around December (exact payment plans vary by school). Another option could be to spread payments out up to 8-10 months. The enrollment contract that arrives with your acceptance letter will spell out these payment options and include additional fees for tuition insurance and specific services that may be required, such as English language services, or academic services.
Financial aid is money from the school to assist with your tuition payment. The amount given is determined by the school alone, with help from School and Student Services (SSS). In addition to need as determined by the SSS report, academic performance, potential for athletic contribution, citizenship, leadership, diversity within the student body, and other qualities that may help create a healthy School and enrich the experience of the student body as a whole are taken into consideration.
TIP: When it comes to this process, deadlines are very important. If you miss a deadline, you could miss the opportunity all together. Financial aid decisions are independently made, and programs vary based on the school.
Most schools offer scholarship opportunities in-house. Outside organizations also exist that give scholarships to students attending private school. Similar to the financial aid process, scholarships are competitive with strict deadlines. Here is a helpful list of independent scholarship organizations.
Some families may prefer to take out a loan to fund a private school education. Like with any major financial commitment, it is advised to consult a financial professional before deciding which type of loan is the best route for you. Tilton School recommends two extended loan payment programs:
The general idea of a scholarship tax credit is that taxpayers can allocate part of their state taxes to a private nonprofit organization usually called a scholarship granting organization (SGO). In New Hampshire, businesses receive a tax credit for donations made to scholarship funding organizations that award private school scholarships, with certain stipulations. Any student who is currently attending a New Hampshire public school, including those with disabilities, are eligible to receive a scholarship under the program. Private school and home school students with household incomes less than 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines are eligible for a scholarship in New Hampshire. This percentage varies by state (Source: National Conference of Legislatures). You can find a detailed list of scholarship tax credit program by state on National Conference of Legislatureswebsite.