Boarding School Financial Aid

Parents send their children to boarding school for many reasons.  In some cases it’s a family tradition, and sometimes it’s because the school in question has the best program for the student.  Boarding schools can be expensive, though, so there’s almost always boarding school financial aid available.  This is usually because boarding schools have large endowments and are willing to help students with their expenses in order ensure a more diverse student population.

Here are some tips and some things to know about boarding school financial aid.

  • Apply early. In most cases, you actually want to send your  boarding school  financial aid application in with your application for admission.  Schools usually have funds to help with, but they often award them on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Contact the school for specifics. Each school’s resources are a little different, so make sure to talk about boarding school financial aid with your child’s advisor or admissions counselor.  Every school has its own approach to need-based versus merit-based scholarships and grants.
  • Boarding school financial aid covers a lot more than tuition. Your admissions representative might offer what seems like an excellent boarding school financial aid package—perhaps it covers all of your child’s tuition.  But remember, there are still fees, books, food, and lodging expenses that have to be met.  Make sure you have the whole picture in mind.  

  • Merit-based scholarships. These are ideal for a student who has a particular talent and would be an asset to the school. Kids with particular athletic, artistic, or academic skills are an asset to boarding schools, and most will award fund to get these kids into their community.
  • Need-based scholarships. Middle class students who can’t afford the whole tuition may qualify for need-based grants or scholarships to help with expenses.
  • Unaffiliated scholarships. There are some organizations that provide scholarships to boarding school students no matter what school they plan to attend.  These have the double benefit of getting students into schools that will benefit them, and helping schools diversify.  Some of these unaffiliated scholarships include:
    • A Better Chance
    • Prep for Prep
    • Davis United World Scholars
    • National Association of Independent Schools

There are even a few schools whose boarding school financial aid covers everything, allowing parents to send their children to a boarding school without taking out a loan.  Of course, if it’s necessary, loans are available to parents who need them.  Make sure to fill out the right forms to get your child the boarding school financial aid they qualify for.

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