Sending your child to a private school can open up a world of opportunity. However, private education can be expensive, with tuition ranging from $4,000 to $50,000 (or more!) a year. Unlike post-secondary tuition, you won’t be able to finance private K-12 schools with a traditional student loan, but this doesn’t mean you’re out of options. You can still finance your child’s education with other types of loans.
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How can I finance my child’s private K-12 education?
There are a few ways you can finance private K-12 education, and many of these can be combined to help ease the strain on your budget when it’s time to pay the tuition bill.
Personal loans are a popular way to finance private K-12 tuition. This is because personal loans can usually be used for any legitimate purpose, meaning you can fund anything from tuition to uniforms and transportation.
Many lenders offer both secured and unsecured loan options, and with good to excellent credit, you may have access to competitive interest rates and loans up to $35,000 (or higher) to cover your child’s education.
You likely won’t be able to pay for your child’s full tuition costs with a credit card, but it can be helpful if you need to purchase some supplies or pay for school uniforms. If you don’t have a low interest rate credit card, you can consider applying for one in order to pay minimal interest on any unpaid balance.
Some private K-12 schools, but not all, will offer some sort of financial aid to some students. While this may not cover the full tuition costs, it can be a helping hand if necessary. You will need to qualify for financial aid and apply before the specified deadline. Talk to your child’s private school to learn more about any financial aid, which may include scholarships and grants.
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Representative example: Jack goes to private school
Jack is entering his last year at his private school. His parents need to pay his full year of tuition, which costs $19,000.00. Unfortunately, Jack’s mother lost her job, so they’re really tight on money at the moment. She is actively looking for work, but thinks she might be out of work for another three months at least. While Jack’s parents could transfer him to a public school, they really want to keep him in his prestigious private school for his last year. Since they’ve got $9,000.00 in available savings to cover some of the tuition, his parents decide to take out a personal loan for $10,000.00 to cover the rest. With excellent credit scores well above 800, Jacks parents are offered a personal loan from their bank for the full amount at a competitive interest rate of 5.00%.
Cost of tuition
Origination fee of 3.00% ($300.00)
Total loan cost
*The information in this example, including rates, fees and terms, is provided as a representative transaction. The actual cost of the product may vary depending on the retailer, the product specs and other factors.
How much does private K-12 education cost?
In Canada, the cost of private K-12 tuition sits between $4,000 to $50,000 (and sometimes higher) a year. Elementary years tend to be more affordable, with average costs sitting between $4,000 to $8,000, while many private high schools range between $6,000 to $12,000. Prestigious K-12 private schools can cost between $40,000 to $50,000 a year.
Keep in mind costs will vary depending on your location as well. Metropolitan cities like Vancouver and Toronto tend to have much higher private school tuition rates than rural or northern communities. Religious private schools also tend to have lower tuition rates than non-religious private schools.
However, your expenses won’t end there. You’ll also need to budget for common costs that can quickly add up, including:
Textbooks, books and e-books
School supplies like paper, pens and pencils
A laptop, tablet or other computer for homework
Living and meal arrangements, if your child attends boarding school
What you’ll need to apply for a loan
If you’ve decided that a personal loan is the right choice to finance your child’s private school tuition, make the process easier by comparing lenders and gathering the necessary documents before you apply.
You will usually need to provide the following documents:
Proof of your identity and contact details
Proof of your citizenship or residency status
Proof of income, assets and debts
Documents that explain the purpose of your loan
Eligibility requirements vary between lenders but usually include:
Be 18 years of age or the age of majority in your province or territory
Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident with a valid Canadian address
Have proof of a steady income
Meet any credit score and minimum income requirements
Have a working bank account
Have a debt-to-income ratio lower than 43%
Private schools are a worthwhile investment, but they can be quite expensive. If you’re unable to cover the full amount of tuition and related expenses on your own, you do have options that can help ease the strain on your budget.
To learn more about personal loans, read our guide so you can make an informed decision about how to finance your child’s K-12 private education.
Frequently asked questions
Only if you apply for a secured personal loan, which means you’ll need to provide collateral for security. Some common types of collateral include your vehicle, equity on your home or expensive jewelry.
If you don’t want to take out a secured personal loan, many private lenders offer unsecured personal loans of up to $35,000 or more to use toward just about any large expense — including private school tuition.
It largely depends on the lender and your overall creditworthiness. Online lenders offer personal loans that range from $500 to $35,000 or more. Keep in mind you may not be able to borrow the maximum amount the lender is offering.
Kelly Waggoner is editor-in-chief at Finder US. She's worked with publishers, magazines and nonprofits throughout New York City, including ghostwriting a how-to on copyediting for the Dummies series. Between projects, she toys with words, flips through style guides and fantasizes about the serial comma's world domination.
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