Private school financial advice and money matters

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 "I spend money to educate my daughter because wherever she goes,
it is inside her head. Nobody can take it away from her. It is my gift to her."
— Father of a Grade 5 student attending a private school

This article is from 2007, so information may be a bit outdated. Get the very latest information about paying for private school.

The perfect private school? 

It’s one of the biggest decisions you’ll make for your child. Let our experts and school insiders  guide you through your best options, red flags to watch out for, and tips to a successful application.  

Private School Expo - Fall 2023   Yes, I want to attend

Nearly half of the students enrolled in private and independent schools in Canada are from middle-income families. Affordability is often one of the considerations that comes up during the planning and initial search stage.

Tuition varies greatly in Canada depending on many factors, including location, academic program, staffing ratios, facilities and amenities. There are small private and independent schools that cost less than $4,000 a year and boarding schools that peak in the $40,000 range, with many choices in between. Use the advanced search to find schools wihtin your budget

Some schools provide various forms of financial assistance and school administrators repeatedly stress that parents should not be afraid to inquire about available monetary support. A school's ability to provide financial aid will depend on many things, including its fundraising capacity and the size of its endowment.

Read stories from families who have made the private school choice and how they have worked it into their budget here.

What schools can offer parents

Advice on paying for private school

Private School Scholarships and Bursaries

Many independent schools offer some financial help. Schools usually rely on an independent firm to assess a family's financial circumstances. If you are applying for a bursary, be prepared to provide a range of personal financial information. Schools set their own policy and guidelines to determine how bursaries are granted; no single benchmark guarantees a set amount of money. A school's ability to provide financial aid will depend on many factors, including its fundraising capacity and the size of its endowment. At some schools, 30 percent of the students are receiving aid based on need or merit. Don't be afraid to ask about bursaries if your family requires financial support.


Children First: School Choice Trust Grants provides funding worth 50 per cent of tuition to a maximum of $4,000 for families with financial need, who wish to enrol their child in a private or independent elementary school in Ontario and Alberta. About 450 new grants were awarded for the 2006-07 school year and grants were renewed for over 800 families already in the program. Tuition assistance is available from Kindergarten through Grade 8.

In both provinces, parents choose the school. Children First, which is administered by The Fraser Institute, received about 7,300 applications for this school year. Applications are usually accepted beginning in January.

Visit to learn more about the Children First: School Choice Trust.

Tax Credits

The March 2007 federal budget made scholarships and bursaries to attend private elementary or secondary schools income tax exempt. Students may now take full advantage of opportunities to attend schools of their choice, which for some, even with full scholarships, due to the tax implications, effectively priced acceptance out of their reach. The new regulations open doors and present a wider range of options for families.

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