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Over the years, mainstream movies and television have helped perpetuate the misconception about private schools—that they are for the famous and rich. While this was true 50 years ago, access to private schooling has increased dramatically in recent years as more and more students from middle- and low-income families enrolling companies across Canada.
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Private school is not cheap, but there are options across the country for parents to enroll their children in an institution of higher education. But when you have to pay attention to your finances on a monthly basis, trying to find ways to pay for tuition and the associated costs of private school can be overwhelming.
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We recommend researching what’s available. “Don’t be shy about asking about scholarships based on need and use,” said Elena Holeton, director of admissions at St. Clement School in Toronto, Ontario. “Know that admissions departments are more than happy to have these conversations, and these kinds of questions are nothing to be ashamed of. Most people spend money to afford independent schools, and questions about financial aid are not uncommon.”
Making independent schools more accessible is a win-win scenario for all students, especially those who do not receive financial support. “Diversity makes campus life in countless ways,” said Graham Brown, from Brookes Westshore School, in Victoria, BC. This leads to highly motivated students, and a lot of diversity is beneficial in the classroom.”
If you think a private school is right for you but you’re not sure if you can afford it, don’t worry: you can finance your child’s private school adventure.
Below, find 18 tips to help you navigate financial challenges and find success for your child in the private school system.
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Financial aid has changed over the past 10 years, according to Kathy LaBranche, director of admissions at Trinity College School (TCS) in Port Hope, Ontario. “It’s becoming more and more important,” he said.
In fact, TCS offers $3.5 million in financial aid every year. The movies would have you believe that private schools are only for the elite, but the face is changing,” said LaBranche.
It is important not to be discouraged by the first school with a high tuition rate. In some cases, tuition may be fully funded by the government or other sources and may be free, or may be as high as thousands of dollars a year. You may be able to find an independent school that meets your needs and costs less than the first school you looked at.
Be upfront about your financial situation, and ask the school for recommendations on how you can benefit. Sometimes there are creative solutions. The willingness from schools to help parents has surprised some education experts and could be a way to help lower the cost of schooling. For example, one expert said he had heard of schools allowing fathers to work night shifts as janitors as a way to earn extra money to fund their child’s school fees and get and access to employee discounts.
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“One should always ask about ways to make it work. Schools are always looking for strong students,” said Brown. “We are all teachers. We want to help students.”
“Most schools offer payment plans,” Thomas said. “It doesn’t hurt to ask. All they can say is no.”
Howard Bernstein, a psychologist and executive director of the Chisholm Center, which offers special education services, said his school in Oakville, Ontario, accepts flexible payment plans when possible and even accepts them. years of school over a four-year period. “We are looking for different ways to help,” he said.
Volunteer hours may sometimes, but not always, be offered to help reduce the cost of tuition—although this is rare. Some schools do not use volunteers at all, while others offer many benefits to parents. Don’t be afraid to ask the school directly during the admission process, or to contact the school principal or admissions department.
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“A lot of schools have a family rate, and that can save hundreds of dollars a year,” Thomas said. This is especially important in faith-based schools (such as Christian, Catholic, Jewish, and Islamic schools), where discounts can start at 10 percent from the school for each sibling. Multiple child discounts vary from school to school but usually apply to the third sibling enrolled.
“Don’t close the door before you start looking because you’ve decided you can’t make it,” LaBranche says. Even if you think your income is too high to qualify for financial aid, it can’t hurt to research what’s available. Larger schools have more financial aid options than smaller and newer ones. Some schools offer multiple scholarships, though families may be limited to applying for one.
Some schools offer scholarships for students from a single-parent home, from the Cayman Islands, from Saskatchewan, or with exceptional artistic skills. Vouchers are the most common form of need-based financial aid. It can be from partial relief to full height.
Students applying for scholarships must write an essay explaining why they deserve the award. The best essays for a testimonial contain a very detailed profile of the potential recipient. Instead of a simple overview of all your accomplishments or contributions, give the school a brief overview of how your accomplishments relate to your character.
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The best rule of thumb is that it is better to apply sooner rather than later for scholarships, as many schools have rotating deadlines. Because the application process can sometimes be long, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and not get overwhelmed at the last minute with a stack of applications and essays to write.
While entrance scholarships, awarded to students based on their grades, do not require a formal application, awards that focus on academic, artistic, or athletic abilities (not referring to achievements in local work) often. “We already have students that I want to take, but our quota has been used up,” said Brown.
In Canada, you will find many non-academic scholarships for your child to apply for. Some of these include scholarships for community involvement, athletic and artistic achievements, and good participation in school life.
“There are many other organizations that can provide scholarships, such as sports teams, community groups, and religious groups,” says Nancy Edmison, a certified financial planner with the Investors Association in Mississauga, Ontario. “Check all your ways. It might be useful to see.”
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It is common for small communities to help pay to send local students to private schools, even if their educational options are limited. Many students receive support from fundraisers organized by organizations such as the Rotary Club.
Another example is the Calgary-basedProsser Charitable Foundation’s Choice Bursary, which supports 50 percent of tuition fees up to $3,500 per year for each student from a low-income family to attend a private or independent school. which is not funded by any local school board. in the Calgary area.
Eligibility is the best way to get a non-academic scholarship. For example, join some groups that interest you and get involved. A meaningful impact in one field is better than a small contribution in many different settings.
“People get stressed and embarrassed when they talk about finances,” LaBranche says. “Leave your pride and be open and honest.” Applying for financial aid does not affect your child’s chances of being admitted to a private school because admission is based on whether the student is qualified and achieving in the academic and extracurricular programs of school.
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The application process can be taxing, as you will need to provide income statements, tax forms, and lists of assets. Be sure to mention any special circumstances not disclosed on your basic income statement, Brown recommends.
Contact your employer’s human resources department about whether we offer corporate-sponsored scholarships. While most are intended for post-secondary schools, some companies offer scholarships for K-12 private schools. For example, the Investors Association joined with the Knights of Columbus in Mississauga to sponsor an essay contest called “Tomorrow’s Leaders,” with a private school scholarship as a prize.
The Canada Revenue Agency has a long-standing policy of allowing a portion of money paid to private schools to be labeled as a charitable donation. Schools must register as charities in Canada that provide religious education, said Jennifer Horner, senior tax manager at BDO Canada LLP. The school must provide the award amount by determining a percentage based on the tuition fee and issuing a gift certificate.
If your child has special needs, you may be eligible for a medical tax break on tuition at qualified schools with special staff. Bernstein said many expanded insurance plans will also cover preliminary science assessments at special schools like Chisholm, which can cost up to $1,750.
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Also, a portion of the fees may be eligible childcare costs for private schools that offer programs for school-age children or after-care preschoolers.
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