Parents want what’s best for their kids, especially when it comes to their education. But what’s a parent to do if they feel that their child is not getting the schooling, or hand-on assistance they need to excel in life? Fortunately, there are several educational avenues available today beyond public education, among them private schools. But affording private school can prove to be a challenge.
Creating even more of a challenge is sorting through other options, including charter schools, magnet schools, home schooling/online schooling, and parochial schools. Before delving into affordability, let’s take a closer look at each of these options.
Private Schools/Independent Schools
These two types of schools have some similarities. Funding sources for both include tuition payments, charitable donations, and endowments. Private schools might also rely on religious organizations for funds. Independent schools typically are governed by a board of trustees. Students need to apply for admission to be considered for either type of school.
These schools are independently operated public schools that are founded by community organizations, teachers, parents, for-profit companies or a mix of some or all. They are funded by tax dollars and often private funding. Students are not charged tuition.
Although charter schools must follow basic curriculum requirements established by the state they’re located in, they are not bound by many of the regulations that conventional schools must adhere to. Oftentimes they specialize in certain areas, such as the arts or sciences, and may be geared toward specific groups such as high-risk and gifted students.
Magnet schools, which have been around since the 1960s-‘70s, got their start as a way to desegregate public school systems by encouraging students to attend schools beyond their neighborhoods. These free public schools are often highly selective and competitive. They mirror charter schools in that many of them specialize in the sciences or arts. In addition to receiving public dollars, magnet schools are funded by local, state, and federal sources via donations and grants.
These are church-related schools that are owned and operated by religious institutions such as Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish denominations. Most private schools in the country are parochial operations. Many of these schools will accept students of other religious affiliations, but most of them require students to attend religion classes and participate in prayer services.
Parochial schools are funded by tuition payments, charitable donations, endowments, and government funds.
Home Schooling/Online Schooling
Many parents choose to educate their children at home using a variety of resources, including online classes and curricula. This type of schooling gives parents more control over the educational process and also frees up kids to pursue what interests them the most. It also provides for more flexibility as far as when a student “attends” school. Parents typically shoulder the financial burden of this type of education.
Several of the types of schools described above offer scholarships as well as financial aid to students, particularly those who are facing monetary hardships. And there are schools that will offer discounts if more than one child from a family attends the school.
In addition to these funding sources, parents can use a special savings account to help pay for schooling. According to Investopedia, “a Coverdell Education Savings Account is a tax-deferred trust account created by the U.S. government to assist families in funding educational expenses for beneficiaries 18 years old or younger. The age restriction may be waived for special needs beneficiaries. While more than one ESA can be set up for a single beneficiary, the total maximum contribution per year for any single beneficiary is $2,000.”
By researching the type of school you want your child to attend and exploring the funding opportunities it has to offer, you can pave the way for an exemplary education.