An education at an independent school is an investment in a child’s future. Deciding on the right school environment is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a parent. And for most families, financial planning is a major factor in the decision-making process.
An independent school education may be more affordable than you think. Most independent schools are committed to helping families find creative, manageable ways to pay for their child’s education. Among the options you can explore:
- Monthly tuition payment plans
- Need-based financial assistance
- Contributions from grandparents or other family members
- Tax-advantaged 529 and Coverdell education savings programs*
- Tuition loans
*Did you know? In Massachusetts, families can open both a 529 plan account and a Coverdell education savings plan account to pay for elementary private school tuition.
Both plans are different with different features. In late 2017, the 529 college savings plan law changed, allowing it to be used for private primary education tuition as well.
Before you decide that a particular independent school is out of reach for your family, talk to the admissions office and read through this section to learn more about the options that may be available.
How Does Financial Aid Work?
In this brief article, The National Association for Independent Schools (NAIS) explains the financial aid process and how aid eligibility decisions are made.
Financial Aid: Basics you need to know
What is financial aid?
Monetary assistance that schools provide to reduce educational costs to families. Most financial aid takes the form of grants that do not need to be paid back.
Where does financial aid come from?
Most is provided directly from the school and distributed on the basis of financial need.
What does “financial need” mean?
Need is the difference between educational expenses — especially tuition and fees — and your family’s ability to pay those expenses.
How do schools determine financial need?
They use an objective third-party service like TADS (Tuition Aid Data Service), which uses consistent metrics to view all relevant financials — and then guides the schools in determining how much a family can afford to pay.
What is the income level at which a family is no longer eligible for assistance?
There is no specific income limit. If you feel you cannot pay all the costs yourself, it’s worth the effort to ask whether aid is available.
What is the financial aid application process like?
Although most schools accept paper applications if you prefer, online applications make the process easier than ever. The TADS online application (used by Inly School and many others) further simplifies the financial aid process by utilizing a comprehensive online wizard that walks you through the application step-by-step. This wizard saves you time and energy by only asking questions that are relevant to your family, allowing you to edit as you work, offering you real-time assistance, and securing your information with encrypted data.
To learn more about financial assistance at Inly School, visit Affording Inly at www.inlyschool.org/affording-inly
Family Resources on Financial Assistance and Loans for Education:
Tuition Aid Data Service (TADS) is a financial aid service that works with families and schools to create successful educational opportunities. Our mission is to simplify the financial aid application process for both the family and the school, making it easier for you to offer your child a superior education.