How much do special needs schools cost?

Tuition, funding, and financial aid offered by schools with special needs support

Quick summary

Special needs schools and programs vary in their costs. Most full-time dedicated special needs schools have annual tuition between $20, 000 and $100, 000. Schools with part-time special needs support have a slightly lower range of tuition, normally between $15,000 and $50,000 a year.

When looking into the costs of a school, ask about tuition and what it includes. You can also ask if flexible payment plans are offered.

There are many types of funding and aid for special needs schools and programs. The main ones are school subsidies (needs-based financial aid), support from community organizations, sibling discounts, tax relief, and government support.

Applying for needs-based financial aid will not affect your child’s chances of getting into a school.


Special needs schools and programs vary widely in their costs. Given the extensive support they offer, they’re sometimes more expensive than other types of private schools. That said, there are many sources of funding and aid that can help you afford one of these schools.

Click here to view a list of special needs schools


The cost of a private school with special needs support will depend on many factors. For instance, the types of special needs supported, how they’re supported, and the environment the support is provided in can all affect the price of tuition.

In Canada, full-time dedicated special needs schools and programs can cost between $20, 000 and $100, 000 a year. Meanwhile, private schools with part-time special needs support (for instance, schools with withdrawal classes) tend to be cheaper. These schools have annual tuition that typically ranges from $15,000 to $50,000.

Moreover, schools offering remediation, such as therapeutic interventions, are sometimes more costly than those offering accommodations or modifications. And schools offering support for a developmental disability, such as autism or Down syndrome, sometimes cost more than those which support students with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia.

There are many other factors that can affect the cost of schooling for special needs students. Many of these are similar to those affecting the cost of any private school. These factors include school size, facilities, extracurriculars, reputation, and more.

When considering a special needs school for your child you should inquire about tuition rates and payment schedules. Many schools have flexible payment plans. They may, for instance, allow you to stagger or adjust your monthly payments to meet your financial constraints. You should also ask schools what exactly is included in tuition.

Find a special needs school near you by cost

School Location Tuition
Academie ProvidenceOttawa, Ontario$10,670 - $12,320
AIM Without LimitsRichmond Hill, Ontario$19,000
Applewood Academy for Progressive LearningBelleville, Ontario$30,750 - $33,270
Arrowsmith SchoolToronto, Ontario$30,000
Astolot Educational CentreOttawa, Ontario$16,000 - $18,000
AVRO AcademyNorth York, Ontario$18,875
Brighton SchoolToronto, Ontario$27,750
Calgary Academy & Calgary CollegiateCalgary, Alberta$15,625 - $20,300
Centennial AcademyMontreal, Quebec$21,270
Crestwood SchoolToronto, Ontario$20,300 - $30,300
Edelweiss Private AcademyOttawa, Ontario$20,500 - $40,000
Elevate Learning CentreBurlington, Ontario$24,000
Foothills AcademyCalgary, Alberta$15,900
Heritage Academy of Learning ExcellenceOttawa, Ontario$15,400 - $18,000
Junior AcademyToronto, Ontario$10,000 - $32,000
Magnificent MindsNorth York, Ontario$20,000 - $26,000
Oak Bridge AcademyCambridge, Ontario$28,000 - $32,000
Oakwood AcademyMississauga, Ontario$20,180 - $68,860
Rundle Academy & Rundle StudioCalgary, Alberta$19,200 - $21,400
TEAM SchoolMississauga, Ontario$19,055 - $22,000
The Dunblaine SchoolToronto, Ontario$25,600
The Gow SchoolSouth Wales, New York(USA)$58,750
The Learning CommonToronto, Ontario$21,000
The Study AcademyToronto, Ontario$32,000
The YMCA AcademyToronto, Ontario$27,825
Toronto STEM SchoolToronto, Ontario$14,500 - $17,500
Vianney AcademyMississauga, Ontario$15,000
Whytecliff Agile Learning CentresLangley & Burnaby, British Columbia$8,900 - $19,500

Funding and aid

In Canada, there are different ways to pay for private school. And there are many types of funding and aid available for private special needs schools and programs. This includes full-time dedicated special needs schools and classes, as well as schools with part-time support for students with special needs.

The main sources of funding and aid for special needs schools are


Special needs questions (read our in-depth answers)


Financial aid from schools

Some special needs schools offer scholarships or merit-based funding.

A more common source of funding, though, is needs-based financial aid. If you can demonstrate need, some schools will help subsidize your child’s education. They might offer you a bursary to help defray the costs of tuition. This can make all the difference in the world for some families.

Needs-based financial aid is not tied to any merit-based criteria. Moreover, applying for needs-based aid won’t affect your child’s chances of admission. Usually, a school will first decide who they want to admit, and only then turn to the question of aid. Also, most schools will have a third party assess your financial aid application.

If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible for aid, you should ask. Schools tend to offer aid to more families than you may think.

Government funding

Most provinces and territories in Canada provide some kind of financial support for families with children enrolled in a special needs school or program. In some areas, this can cover up to 100% of tuition.

For instance, in Ontario, the special education grant provides funding for students who need special programs, services, and equipment. For further information about this grant and Ontario special education funding in general, visit the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Support from community or charitable organizations

There are plenty of community, charitable, and non-profit organizations. These outfits can help finance your child’s education by covering part their tuition.

For instance, the Prosser Charitable Foundation’s Parent Choice Bursary pays for 50 percent of school tuition, up to $3500 annually for each child from a low-income household. Moreover, groups, such as the Rotary Club, can also help you cover private school expenses.

There are also some faith-based organizations that can help you pay for private school, including schools that offer support for special needs students. For instance, the Canadian Council of Christian Charities (CCCC) provides financial assistance to help with the costs of attending a Christian or Catholic school. And the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) provides financial assistance to families with children who attend a Jewish school. Finally, the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) helps with the cost of attending an Islamic school.

Sibling discounts

Like other types of private school, some special needs schools have sibling discounts. If you send more than one child to one of these schools, you may get some kind of reduction in tuition.

Some schools with sibling discounts offer escalating reductions based on the number of children you send to them. For instance, if you have 2 kids in school, you receive a 10% discount in tuition, if you send 3 kids, you get a 20% discount (and so on). In some schools, though, multiple-child discounts start only when you enroll a third child.

Sibling discounts (sometimes called “sibling bursaries”) are offered by many private schools with special needs support. You should contact schools directly to learn whether they offer this type of financial relief.

Tax relief

Another way to reduce the expense of school is through a tax deduction. Many private schools with special needs support offer a tax deduction or credit.

In some of these schools, tuition counts as a tax deduction or credit. For instance, in religious-affiliated schools, parents may be able to claim a tax credit for tuition, as a charitable contribution. This applies to all schools registered as charities.

To get more specific information about tax relief, you should speak with an accountant. You can also read our guide to tax breaks.

Answers to the question “How much do special needs schools cost?” from school officials

Simon Williams, co-executive director of Foothills Academy, a learning disabilities school in Calgary, Alberta
“Special education schools vary in the amount of specialized supports and resources that they provide, and therefore the costs vary too. Small class sizes, educational assistants in every classroom, and access to on-site psychologists naturally mean the tuition needs to be higher than regular private school programs.

Currently at Foothills Academy, our tuition is $15,300 per year. This fee is all-inclusive, with no extra charges for busing, field trips, technology, etc. Foothills Academy is a unique private school program that is also dedicated to not turning any family away due to financial circumstances. Currently, about 40% of our students attend with some amount of bursary assistance. This is achieved by a comprehensive fundraising program consisting of endowment funds, corporate and organizational donations, and annual fundraising efforts of school families and staff. All money raised supports our bursary fund, so that no family is turned away due to financial circumstances.” 

Jenna Rowney-Giroux, vice principal of Heritage Academy of Learning Excellence, a special needs school in Ottawa, Ontario, specializing in dyslexia and ADHD
“Heritage Academy is a not-for-profit school. Our tuition is $14,000 per year. Heritage also offers a language re-education course called S.M.T (Simultaneous Multisensory Teaching) for students with dyslexia and this additional 1-to-1 session changes the standard tuition rate to $14,500 for the year. Our S.M.T program is designed specifically for students with dyslexia, but has also been proven effective in aiding reading and writing for students with processing disorders and whose first language is not English.

Financial aid is available through tax deductions and/or government rebates. A student must have a psychological assessment completed first to be considered for a disability tax credit, a child disability benefit, and/or a registered disability savings plan. Speak with your child’s pediatrician or doctor if you suspect your child has a learning exceptionality.”

Jeff Clayton, communications director at WillowWood School, a school with strong special needs support, in TorontoOntario
“Our school costs approximately between $18,100 and $22,300 for the 2018-2019 school year. There are tax breaks available for private education of students with identified special learning needs. We do not have a financial aid program, currently, although we do work with our families to meet financial challenges.”

Jennifer Bamann, associate director of admissions and communications at The Gow School, a special needs school in South Wales, New York, focusing on learning disabilities such as dyslexiadyscalculia, and dysgraphia
“Our school for the 2018-2019 school year will cost around $65,800. We offer needs-based financial aid. All of the financial aid we offer comes from the school and is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Terry Stevenson, director of Applewood Academy for Progressive Learning, a special needs school in Belleville, Ontario
“Our fees can range from hourly therapy rates ($135 an hour), to day treatment ($22,300), to full residential treatment ($68, 400).” 


Click here to view a list of special needs schools


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