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Resources to help pay for private school: government grants, tax breaks, fundraisers

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Paying for private school can be a challenge for most families. Though you may already have a plan in place to tackle the cost, here are some additional resources to consider to help cover tuition, fees, and additional expenses.

help paying for private school

Sending your child to private school is usually a huge financial commitment. But there are multiple means by which you can lessen that burden.

Tax Breaks

Trust Funds

Families that would otherwise have to pay about 46 per cent in income taxes could save over 20 per cent in taxes by establishing a trust sanctioned by the Canada Revenue Agency. Rudy Brugnerotto, chartered accountant at RBCA, explains that if you divert money from your investment portfolio into a tuition trust, anything below $37,000 will not be subject to significant taxes. "Anything that pays on behalf of the minor for their welfare can be paid through this trust," he says. "It can be earned through this trust, instead of earned through the parent." Therefore, the trust, which would be subject to a lower tax rate, pays the taxes. "An ideal situation would be to let the government help pay for your school."

Gifts

Canada does not have a gift tax! Therefore, another family member, like a grandparent, who may want to help pay for your child's private school tuition could provide you with a gift, which you could then spend on his or her school. You, the recipient, will not have to include this gift in your income, so you will save money on taxes.

Donations

Paying tuition for some private schools, particularly faith-based schools, may count as a charitable donation. As a result, you would receive a tax credit for sending your child to one of these schools.

Students With Special Needs

If you send your child to a school for students with special needs, you may be eligible to receive a medical tax break.

Other government grants

Both the federal and provincial governments offer tax breaks for many other reasons. For instance, the Children's Fitness Tax Credit allows you to collect up to $500 if your child is enrolled in a physical activity.

Community Resources

Graham Brown of Dwight International School says that small communities might assist a family in sending a local child to private school, especially if the community's educational resources are limited. He also points out that these students sometimes receive financial assistance from fundraisers held by community groups such as the Rotary Club.

At schools like Crestwood Preparatory College, students raise money to pay for another child's tuition. Though students never knew to whom the money went, they nonetheless made paying tuition for this student a community project.

Grants

School:

There are two central types of grants that private schools provide:

  • Need-based (or bursary)
  • Merit-based (or scholarship)

To receive the former, families must demonstrate that they cannot afford to send their child to private school (sometimes a third-party financial institution assesses your family's finances), while an entrance exam or transcript typically determines the latter. The percentage of tuition that the school pays varies. For example, Bayview Glen offers a 100 per cent bursary, whereas Discovery Academy's bursary is 40 per cent. Almost all private schools have deadlines by which you must apply for these grants.

Other Grants:

Both the federal and provincial governments provide numerous grants that cater to your needs. Multiple non-profit organizations also offer grant. Here are a few examples:

Learn more about how to pay for private school by attending one of the Private School Expos! Attend information seminars and meet with school officials and current students face-to-face. Register now to get 50% off your admission!
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