As the accessibility of private schools has increased over the years, there are more opportunities than ever for low-income families to afford private school and find the right education for their child.
There are a rising number of private schools that are appropriate for low-income families. Indeed, today, private schools are more accessible than they ever have been. Many schools offer tuition for $5,000 or lower. They may provide bursaries, scholarships, and flexible payment options. In some cases, you may be eligible for government funding or support from charitable organizations.
Both levels of government may assist you in covering the expenses of your child's private school education. Simply put, because there are numerous tax breaks and grant programs available, you may wish to do some external research. Here are a few examples of existing government support programs:
You should also note that most provinces offer grants for students with special needs (on medical grounds). And, paying tuition at some schools, usually religious institutions, may count as a charitable donation, thereby qualifying you for a tax break.
A lot of private schools provide scholarships and bursaries to students and their families.
The former connotes need-based grants whereby the admissions team assesses your finances. If they determine that you need financial aid, then the school will fund your child's tuition as it sees fit. Susan Stinson, admissions director at Luther College in Regina, Saskatchewan, has this cautionary tale: "Most families don't let us know if they need funding because it's an embarrassing subject." She advises parents or guardians do avoid this mistake.
In contrast, scholarships refer to meritocratic grants. Private schools typically give scholarships to students who either score extremely well on an entrance exam or have excellent marks at another school. But, some scholarships recognize other factors, such as exceptional artistic abilities or musical achievements.
Not all private schools pay the same percentage of your child's tuition. Some schools, like Branksome Hall in Toronto, provide 100 per cent assistance, while the majority of private schools will only pay for a portion of the tuition.
If you are thinking about applying for scholarships or financial aid, you should to do so early, as many schools have strictly-enforced deadlines.
Also be sure to browse the financial aid and scholarship finder for schools that offer assistance.
Lots of charitable or non-profit organizations will help you cover your child's private school tuition. Case in point, the Prosser Charitable Foundation's Parent Choice Bursary will pay for 50 per cent of tuition costs up to $3,500 annually for each child from a low-income household. Moreover, in small communities, groups, such as the Rotary Club, may pay to send a local child to private school.
You should be sure to look for all available resources in your community!