If you want to afford private school for your children, there are a few ways you can make it happen. Deciding on a school for your child is a very personal decision. Some parents spend a lot of time, effort, and money to live in great school districts so they can send their kids to quality public schools. Other parents spend large portions of their paychecks to ensure their children get to attend private school.
There is no right or wrong choice; it’s really about your family priorities and preferences. However, if you do want to afford private school but you’re not sure you can, here are some tips to help you get started:
Tour Many Different Private Schools
Like anything, there is a wide range of options when it comes to private schools. You might think the most expensive one is the best, but that’s not necessarily true.
There might be a private school with more affordable tuition that might be a better fit for your child, depending on his or her personality. Or, there might be private schools just for girls or boys as well as private schools for gifted kids both academically and musically. There might be private schools in your area that cater to kids who learn in different ways. So, it’s important to see what’s available near you so you can get a good idea of what might be the best fit for your family.
Once you identify the private schools in your area, go to several different open houses. Meet other parents and teachers. Ask questions about what an average day is like. You might be surprised to find the private school you thought you wanted your child to attend isn’t the best fit for them after all. You also might learn about new schools in the area, religious schools, or other types of private schools that could have tuition that you can afford.
Ask About Financial Aid
Once you decide on one or two schools you like, ask if the school offers need based or merit based scholarships. I’m always surprised at how many parents won’t ask about financial aid options.
Sometimes, parents assume they won’t be able to afford school at all, even with aid. However, you never know until you ask. Some schools cap financial aid at 50% of tuition while others offer several full tuition scholarships each year. Many private schools also offer programs to help children from low income families attend. Again, you don’t know what’s available to you until you ask.
Similarly, some parents might assume they earn too much to get financial aid, but you might not know how they calculate financial need. Sometimes, schools factor in a parent’s student loan balance and other extenuating circumstances, so it’s always worth asking and applying for aid. Just because you make six figures doesn’t mean you’re disqualified for financial aid. Many schools will look at your total financial picture.
Make it a Family Priority
If you really want your children to go to private school, make it one of your family priorities. As parents, we have to make many different decisions about where our money goes. Some families value music lessons. Others love to travel. Some families might have larger homes while others prefer driving new cars.
There is no right or wrong priority for a family, but it’s important to remember that it’s hard to afford everything. That’s why if private school is important to you, it has to be one of your top financial priorities. That means that you always have it at the forefront of your mind.
So, if your family members invite you to go on vacation with them, you might have to decide if you’re going to prioritize the vacation or your child’s tuition. It also helps you make decisions about going out to eat, enrolling your kids in extracurricular activities, and more. If private school tuition is your top priority, it makes it easier to say no to the other extras in life.
If you make their tuition as important as paying your mortgage, something you work hard for and never miss, then you’ll have the right mindset for sending your kids to the school you want.
Get a Side Hustle
If you’ve researched all financial aid options and made tuition a priority, but you’re still struggling to afford private school for your children, it’s time to earn extra money.
Side hustles are all the rage these days, and there are hundreds if not thousands of different options. You can start a side hustle all on your own or start one with your spouse. Whether you start walking dogs in your neighborhood, cutting grass, delivering groceries, or babysitting, start working extra!
You would be surprised at how much money you can make by working an extra 10 hours a week on a side hustle. Your side hustle alone could fund your child’s private school education. All you need to do is just get started. And who knows? Maybe your side hustle can turn into a full time business someday.
All in all, if affording private school for your children is a priority for you, work hard to ensure it happens. Take the time to research schools that offer financial aid and tuition assistance. Then, hustle to make extra money so you can make your dreams for your kids a reality.