Private school options

Will attending a private high school better your teen’s financial aid chances?

Private school options

Private Colleges

What do you tell families who feel that they have to choose between private school tuition or saving for college?
If a family knows the private college is the best choice for the student and their budget can accommodate the cost, then the decision may be made already. Understanding how to fit these bills into the scheme of the family’s life is imperative. 

In your experience, does a private, grammar school education have a bearing on the type and the amount of available financial aid?
Because the term financial aid is truly based on need, we find that the school one attends (public or private college) does not typically get you more aid. Your income, investments and assets dictate your ability to qualify for financial aid. Occasionally, scholarships are considered financial aid, although they are typically based on student merit, such as school attended and grade qualifications. Parents may find some private schools provide superior programs and that in turn may qualify students for more scholarships.

Do you have any statistics that show that a private school education increases the likelihood of scholarships or other types of financial aid? 
Scholarships are awarded for a range of specifics, such as minority class, religion, heritage, and involvement in community and athletics, or high GPA, excellent grades or a well-written essay. Some scholarships may be given just for students attending a certain high school, but the fact a student attended a private high school will not usually increase their chance of getting scholarships. Financial aid is awarded based on need and if the parents and students do not have need, they will not qualify for most types of financial aid, regardless of the fact they attended a private school.

Are there ways to finance private school in order to make it easier to save for college? For instance, are private school loans that allow families to spread payments out over a number of years a good idea? 
Tuition Payment Plans such as Sallie Mae’s TuitionPay offer an interest-free, debt-free way to spread tuition payments over a number of months. The TuitionPay plan is not a loan: There are no interest payments, just a low annual enrollment fee. Plans like this allow parents to spread payment out so that they can better handle the cost of college.  

How much should parents save toward college per child?
This is definitely an individual decision. If a parent is allowing their student to choose their own college, it is important to understand that school’s costs. Visit the school’s website and pay close attention when schools state they are raising their tuition, it’s important to understand costs before you set up a plan to pay them. After all data is gathered, then parents and their students can devise an informed plan, fitting to their individual situation. Some parents completely cover tuition for their students. Some parents say they will only pay for X dollars or percentage, leaving the student responsible for the remaining amount.

How should parents go about deciding what percentage of a college education they’re going to pay?
Some parents choose to pay for college solely through personal funds, and others ask their students to play a role in paying for college. If asking a student to assist in the paying of their own tuition, remember their Stafford loan limits are minimal (Stafford loans are $3,500 for freshman year), covering a small percentage of the yearly tuition. This could be a good way to actively involve your child in the responsibility of not only attending college, but paying tuition as well without overburdening with large debt.

Beyond simply trying to save more, do parents need to plan or do anything differently when they also anticipate paying for graduate school?
Many parents get caught up in the need to pay a very high price for students’ undergraduate education at an elite college and then must pay for an expensive graduate program. We advise parents to find the right undergraduate school for their child, but also one that fits their pocketbook. Spending more money than is necessary to attend a top name undergraduate school may not always be what it takes to get into graduate school. Don’t assume an expensive undergraduate school will secure graduate admissions or even guarantee a job. Typically the degree you earn and skills you acquire in college are what drive your ability to get a job, not the name of the school.

This article provided by Sallie Mae. For more information, visit and review “5 Steps to Paying for College”.


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