4. How to Afford High School

Many high schools recognize that not all families can afford to pay full tuition for their children. Private high schools throughout the Bay Area offer a variety of financial aid options to students. Some schools offer generous scholarship packages based on the student’s score on a test. Some require interviews, while others have financial aid programs that are entirely needs-based. Most do not widely publicize their aid programs, but instead let parents take the initiative in applying for aid.

You must contact individual schools you are considering to find out what financial aid they offer. There is a great deal of competition for limited scholarship dollars among high school students, so you will need to act quickly and make sure that you meet all deadlines. Most high schools do not consider applicants for financial aid who miss a deadline by even a single day.

Here are some more questions to consider when evaluating high schools:

  • How much is tuition? On what schedule does the school expect this tuition to be paid?
  • Does the school offer its own financial aid?  How much?  What is the deadline to apply for financial aid? If it is too late to apply for this year, could I get aid next year?
  • What fees are not covered by tuition?  
  • How much is the registration and/or application fee? (Be sure to distinguish between refundable deposits and nonrefundable fees.)
  • How much will books cost?  Uniforms (if required)?  Other extra fees for activities, lunches, sports, etc.?
  • Is there a finance charge for monthly payments?  What are the penalties for late payments?
  • Does the school require or strongly encourage parental participation in fundraising activities (e.g. selling chocolates, helping with bake sales, etc.)?


Posted on May 3, 2013 .