When you hear the words private school, do you see dollar signs? Maybe you’ve dreamed of this type of education for your child, but have dismissed the idea immediately because of cost. If you are a parent who wants a private school education but has reservations about the price tag, there are options available that can make it a bit more affordable. You just need to know where to look!
Sharing their tips and advice for parents who are looking for tuition options are Sharon Shumardi, director of community engagement for Bethany School; Anne Dettmer, director of enrollment and financial aid for The Miami Valley School; and Elaine Pearl, the associate director of admission for Summit Country Day School.
What do you say to parents who are considering private school for their child but are concerned about the cost?
Pearl: Many private-independent schools offer ways to partner with families who qualify. Research affordability opportunities on the school website or have a conversation with the admission representative to help guide you through their process. Typically, students must first become accepted to the school before financial aid is awarded. Complete your due diligence for each school to determine the “best fit” for your child, followed by completing the admission process, which might require testing, a release of records and teacher recommendation. Many schools bundle their fees into the tuition so as not to have additional add-ons. However, a lunch fee and extended-care (coverage outside of school hours) may need to be factored additionally.
Shumard: Front-ending your child’s education is a financially smart move. If you invest early in a private education, not only do children reap the rewards of having a solid education while they are in the early stages of development, but many times it can lead to scholarship opportunities in high school.
Dettmer: Tuition shouldn’t be a barrier to enrollment. At MVS, we use need-based aid to keep a family’s tuition obligation within their level of affordability. Fifty-five percent of our students in grades K-12 receive tuition assistance, and we give out over $3 million in aid each year. The average aid package is over half tuition, with many families receiving more.
What else should parents consider?
Pearl: You might want to explore the outcomes of a school — meaning, the number of college scholarships that their recent graduates are attracting from institutions. Making the investment in an independent or private school in the early years can have an enormous impact on college costs in the future. Additionally, high performing students may qualify to take Advanced Placement courses in high school which are credited to the college transcript.
Dettmer: Don’t let the full tuition numbers keep you away. As the only independent school in the Dayton area, we know our tuition is higher than other schools. But a lot of our families pay less than they would elsewhere.
Shumard: Shop around. There are many options for private schools. Many of us are institutions that have been transforming student’s lives for years and the tuition is quite affordable.
If you are interested in a private school education for your child, there are many wonderful schools in Southwest Ohio that offer assistance and scholarships. Reach out to the admissions office of the school you’re interested in to find out what’s available to your family.