Posted on: 6 June 2017
Some families have to make a difficult choice about which school to send their children to. Other families face an even more difficult problem – a lack of choices. If you live in an area with schools that aren't performing well, or if you have a child who is gifted, has special needs, or just isn't a good fit for their assigned school, it can be frustrating to realize that you can't get your child assigned to a different public school and can't afford private school. However, you may have more options than you think. Even if you can't afford private school, you may be able to find funding to pay for you child to go. Check out a couple of strategies that can help you afford private school for your child.
Your state may operate a voucher or state scholarship program that provides funding for kids to transfer to private schools. Not every state has a voucher program, but 14 states do, and if voucher programs continue to grow in popularity, you may soon see them in your state.
Each state has their own rules about how they distribute vouchers and to whom. The state of Florida, for example, offers two different programs. The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program is designed for low-income families. Essentially, your child can get a scholarship if your income is below a certain threshold. They also have the Gardiner Scholarship, which is designed for students with special needs.
Parents of special needs children should be aware that even if your state doesn't offer vouchers, your school district may pay for private school tuition if your child's needs can't be met in their public school. You can learn about the policy's in your area by checking with your state's department of education.
It's common to think of scholarships as something that only college students receive, but plenty of private groups offer scholarships to kids as well. Many of these are contests: kids apply by writing an essay, winning a spelling bee, or completing a project.
The awards vary depending on the group that's offering the scholarship. In some cases, scholarships are earmarked for college, but in other cases, winners receive cash or savings bonds that could be cashed in and used to defray the cost of private school. It's worth encouraging your child to compete for scholarships in areas that they're interested in, even if the prize won't cover their whole tuition – you can always supplement the scholarship with other funding.
Don't forget to check with the private schools in your area to see if they offer grants or scholarships for students. Many schools do have internal financial aid programs. They may offer assistance for low-income families, and if your child is gifted or talented, the school may have merit scholarships available to them as well.
What's more, you may find that the school is willing to work with you on payment plans. It's customary to pay tuition in large chunks, like once a year or once a semester. But many schools do offer other payment plans, so if you need to pay monthly, you may be able to.
Your child's education is important, so don't assume that you're out of choices before you've exhausted all of your options. It may take a little creativity and persistence, but you can find a way to send your child to a school that's right for them.Share