Attending private school can be affordable if you plan well, save money, and take advantage of tuition assistance and scholarship programs.
Step 1: Save money Save as much money as possible by cutting out all extras and taking advantage of discounts. Create a budget and stick to it.
Step 2: Open savings account Open a savings account and deposit money every week or month that is earmarked specifically for private school costs.
TIP: Family members and close friends may wish to contribute. Don't be afraid to accept gifts from them.
Step 3: Defer paycheck savings Defer savings from your paycheck. Parents of minors can put up to $2,000 annually into an account, enjoy tax-deferred earnings, and make tax-free withdrawals for qualified expenses, like tuition.
Step 4: Contact school financial aid officer Contact each school's financial aid officer to learn what they offer and identify other sources for assistance.
TIP: Shop around for the school that best meets your own financial plan. Ask for a special consideration review if you have other children in school.
Step 5: Complete financial aid applications online Complete the financial aid application for each school to determine eligibility. Most are available online.
Step 6: Apply for scholarships Apply for as many scholarships and grants as you can.
FACT: The four most expensive private schools in the U.S. for day students – Middlesex School, Concord Academy, Hotchkiss School, and Lawrenceville School – all charged more than $34,000 a year in 2009.