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!
Jessica Aiyasami, director of admissions for The Orchard School, and Grace Trahan-Rodecap, director of marketing for Cathedral High School, share some tips and advice for parents who are looking for tuition options.
What do you say to parents who are considering private school for their child but are concerned about the cost?
Aiyasami: There are several opportunities families can explore when considering private school for their child’s education. The first consideration is financial assistance. When people think about financial assistance, they often think their family would not qualify. The reality is that a wide range of families qualify. Awards can range from minimal to nearly full tuition. It is important to understand each school’s timeline for applying for financial assistance. Most schools will have a limited financial assistance budget, so it is key to apply on time to take full opportunity of available funds.
I recommend partnering with the admissions office. Do not hesitate to ask questions to understand the actual cost of attendance and all available affordability options. A few questions to ask are:
What are the payment options?
Does the school accept vouchers?
What is included in tuition (lunch, books, field trips, etc.)?
Are there other fees to consider?
Lastly, ask for help from grandparents or other family members. Private school education is an investment. Sometimes, you may find a family member who is willing to invest in your child.
Trahan-Rodecap: I would recommend researching the schools that pique your interest. Private schools often have tuition assistance and scholarship programs that can make a private school education affordable.
What else should parents consider?
Aiyasami: Private school education is a financial commitment, yet may be more affordable than one may have previously thought. Traditionally, parents do not consider paying tuition until their child attends college. If the thinking is adjusted and there is a better understanding of the benefits of a strong educational foundation at an early age, families may rearrange their lifestyle and invest in private school education. Students with a solid early education foundation can often acquire scholarships once they get to college. 529 education savings account plans can now be used towards private elementary and high schools. Some families may want to consider using a portion of their 529 plans to pay for private school education.
Trahan-Rodecap: [Many Indiana private schools, including Cathedral High School] participate in the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program, known widely as the “Voucher” program. Families who meet specific guidelines might be eligible for a Choice Scholarship (Voucher) through this program.
To be eligible to participate in the Indiana Choice Scholarship (Voucher) Program, the student must have legal settlement in Indiana, must meet income eligibility guidelines based on a family’s 2021 federal tax returns, and must satisfy at least one of the pathways. The income eligibility guidelines are based on the 2020-2021 school year. The 2021-22 guidelines are expected to be announced in March 2022.
If you are interested in a private school education for your child, there are many wonderful schools in Indianapolis and the surrounding areas that offer assistance and scholarships. Reach out to the admissions office to find out what’s available to your family.