How to afford the private school of your dreams

It’s a simple fact - not everyone can afford to pay full-price tuition for private schools. However, that doesn’t mean that a high quality education is impossible to attain. Before you give up on a competitive school for your child, consider these tuition tips:


The ideal situation is to receive financial aid from the private school itself. Take time to research whether or not the schools you’re applying to offer scholarships, as some schools routinely give full scholarships to high achieving students. However, you’ll need to make sure to apply for these scholarships early – many applications are due months before you’ll hear back about admissions.

There are also nationwide scholarship programs for eligible students, such as A Better Chance for students of color, the Jack Kent Cook foundation Young Scholars Program for students with financial need, and the Children’s Scholarship Fund for low-income students grades K-8.

State voucher programs

Some states have voucher programs that provide funding to low-income or special needs families to attend private schools. Take a look here to see whether or not you are eligible.

Public exam schools and charter schools

The best schools aren’t always private schools – there are many great charter schools and public exam schools that not only rival a private education in terms of quality, but also don't charge tuition. However, because these schools are free, they can be more competitive and difficult to get into. For example, the public exam school Boston Latin School requires ISEE scores in the 90th percentile for a good chance of being accepted.

Negotiable tuition rates

It is a little known fact that private school tuition rates aren’t always set in stone. Check with schools to see if there is any flexibility with the tuition. Many private schools offer plans which let parents pay tuition in monthly installments, or can even lower tuition rates if paying in full isn’t feasible.

Good luck making a dream school affordable, and make sure you’re prepared for the admissions tests with our ISEE and SSAT practice tests.