Understand the CostAt the beginning of the school year or before enrolling your child, sit down with school staff to ensure you understand the total cost. This figure will vary from one school to another, as well as by location, and a secondary school will cost more than an elementary school.
Ask About Financial AidSome schools may help lower and middle-income families with tuition. Experian mentions that some schools do. Also, having more than one child in a private school will often qualify for a discount. You may need to apply for the aid each year. Oftentimes, a monthly payment plan can be worked out—or working as a helper—in some way—in the school may also help reduce the cost.
Determine Your BudgetAfter knowing the cost, look over your current budget to ensure you bring in enough money to afford it. Oftentimes, both spouses need to work to pay for their children’s private education.
You likely will need to exert careful money management to ensure your children can go through 12 or more years in a private school. These schools may also offer K–4 and K–5 to help children prepare for first grade.
At the same time, you do not want to sacrifice having enough money on hand for an emergency fund and some for a vacation or two during the year. Having some extra money for emergencies is necessary because one spouse may become unable to work if an accident or a health situation occurs.
Pay Off Existing DebtAs soon as you can, you want to pay off your debt. As long as you are paying interest on your debt, it means less money to use for something else.
Consider Education Savings PlansTwo savings plans have benefits for education—the Coverdell and 529 plans. Neither plan offers deductions on your federal taxes, but you can deduct it on state taxes in some states—if you live in that state.
Funds Can Be Used for K–12, Too529 plans are not just for college; you also can use them to pay for elementary and high school education. As of 2019, the funds in a 529 plan can also help pay off student loans. In addition, you can withdraw money from one account to pay for the education of more than one child.
Start Saving EarlyIf money is rather tight, you also want to give yourself some time to get started on saving money for your child’s education.
Loans Are AvailableIf necessary, you may need to take out a loan to pay for the education expenses. Some lenders have special loans available for private schools with lower interest rates. You could also take out a personal loan, but it will have higher interest rates.
Public Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)Another option to get help with tuition is an ESA—which is not the same as the Coverdell ESA. MoneyCrashers states that when a child is taken out of a public school, the money for that child’s education gets placed into a savings account. Sometimes, this money can be withdrawn by the parents for education. They are usually given a prepaid debit card for it.
An ESA differs from a voucher because you can use it for more than just tuition, such as online learning, tutoring, and even for homeschooling in some places.
There are multiple ways to come up with the money you need for your child’s private education. Good financial management can make it possible, as well as taking advantage of available resources to reduce your costs—if they are available.