The opportunity to obtain a private high school education can be very rewarding for a student. A study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics found that private school students had a more demanding curriculum, scored higher on standardized tests and were more likely to attend college. These benefits do not come without a price, as tuition for these private institutions averaged $10,500 a year at the time of publication. Scholarships are available to help offset the cost and make a private school education more affordable.
Nationally, scholarship funds are in place to provide aid to families. These funds are very competitive, as many students are applying for a limited number of scholarships each year. The Children's Scholarship Fund and the Young Scholars Program provided by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation give financial support to low- and moderate-income high school students who demonstrate excellence both in and out of the classroom. Each fund has an application process that varies and can be found on its website.
With nearly 60 regional funds in place nationwide, these scholarships are less competitive than national scholarships. Depending on where you live, scholarships are available based on economic need as well as academic performance and achievement outside of school. Each of these funds has different requirements in place but provides thousands of dollars in scholarships to high school students yearly. As with the national application process, each fund's application procedure varies.
Localized Financial Aid
Many private schools provide financial aid independently to students on a case-by-case basis. Made available through donors, this money is awarded to students who meet admissions qualifications but are unable to pay full tuition costs. The aid comes in the form of full or partial tuition and is need-based. Catholic school students may qualify for Archdiocesan Financial Aid, which is provided through the church. These scholarships are made available to students who fill out an aid form and are deemed eligible to receive tuition each year. According to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Financial Aid website, more than $8 million is available to pre-kindergarten through high school-aged Catholic students from the Catholic Education Foundation. This type of tuition assistance varies depending on individual student needs, family income and, in some cases, academic achievement.
Merit-Based and Athletic Scholarships
If your student doesn't qualify for need-based assistance, and the cost of a private school education is still steep, there are alternative ways to obtain a scholarship. Most private schools offer full or partial athletic scholarships to students who excel on the playing field. In successful private high school athletic programs, an allotted amount of money is set aside each year for this purpose. These schools also provide merit-based scholarships to students who excel in the classroom. The amount available and the requirements vary by school, but admissions counselors can assist you with the process.
- National Center for Education Statistics: Findings from the Condition of Education 2002: Private Schools - A Brief Portrait
- The Center For Education Reform: K-12 Facts
- PrivateSchools.com: National Scholarship and Voucher Programs
- PrivateSchools.com: Regional Scholarship and Voucher Programs
- St. John's College High School: Tuition and Financial Aid
- Trinity School: Tuition and Financial Aid
- Gonzaga College High School: What Does Gonzaga Cost?
- Archdiocese of Los Angeles: Financial Aid