A personal loan could help you borrow for private tuition — or bridge gaps in your budget as tuition costs rise.
Sending your child to private school can open a world of opportunity. But private education can be expensive, with tuition ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 a year, depending on where you live.
Unlike with college tuition, you aren’t able to finance private K-12 schools with a traditional student loan. But it’s possible to finance your child’s education through other loans.
Learn more about the best financing options for private K-12 schools in our guide below.
How can I finance my child’s private K-12 education?
Personal loans are a popular way to bridge the gap between your finances and K-12 tuition. These loans allow you to borrow money for just about anything you need it for.
You’ll find fixed interest rates, with the lowest rates typically reserved for loans secured with personal assets, such as your home. These loans also offer repayment terms between one and seven years.
If you have solid credit, you might find lenders willing to extend up to $100,000 to cover your child’s education.
Credit cards often aren’t the most affordable way to borrow money long-term. But they can sometimes come with lower interest rates than you’ll find with a loan — even no interest, if you qualify for an intro rate. They’re especially helpful if you’re looking to borrow for smaller expenses like uniforms and can pay off the full balance before your due date.
If you go this route, you may want to look into credit cards offering a introductory 0% interest rate to cut down on what you’d pay on interest. Some cards extend intro periods to 15 months or more.
K-12 education loan
In response to increasing private school tuition, Sallie Mae and some other online lenders have begun offering specialized K-12 education loans. These loans offer interest rates that are similar to those of personal loans, but they often let you borrow up to the full amount of your child’s tuition.
Interest rates can be fixed or variable, and repayments typically kick in immediately after your child’s school receives funds. You might also be on the hook for extraneous fees like disbursement fees and even penalties for prepayments, so read your terms and conditions carefully before signing your contract.
Compare top online personal loans
How do I compare my loan options?
Keep the following factors in mind when applying for a personal loan:
- Secured or unsecured. Secured loans generally offer lower interest rates. But if you fall behind on payments, the lender can seize the assets you’ve used as collateral to satisfy the loan.
- Interest rates. Always look for the best interest rate, and work out your monthly payments on fixed- and variable-rate loans to find an option that best fits your budget.
- Fees. Personal loans can come with no required fees while others may come with an origination fee. Carefully read the terms and conditions of any loans you’re interested in. Penalty fees usually apply for things like late payments or non-sufficient funds.
- Loan term. Look for a loan term that gives you monthly repayments you can afford without running too long. Otherwise, you could wind up paying a lot in unnecessary interest.
What you’ll need to apply for a loan
Make sure you’re eligible for a personal loan before applying. For most personal loans, you must:
- Have a good to excellent credit score.
- Provide proof of your identity and contact details.
- Provide proof that you’re a US citizen or permanent resident.
- Explain the purpose of your loan.
- Provide proof of income and assets available to you.
How much does private K-12 education cost?
Private education costs vary by school and by state. But the average cost of tuition nationwide is roughly $9,000 a year for elementary school and $13,500 a year for high school.
Other common expenses you’ll need to budget for include:
- Textbooks, books and e-books.
- A laptop if your child doesn’t have one already.
- School supplies like paper, pens and pencils.
- Living arrangements, if your child goes to a boarding school.
How to save money on private education
Before applying for a loan, maximize cost savings on your child’s private education by looking into other financing options that include:
- Scholarships. Your child’s school may provide need- and merit-based scholarships that can help you save on your child’s tuition. And talk with your Chamber of Commerce about local nonprofits that might offer aid for private school.
- Apply for state education vouchers. Check with your state about education vouchers to low-income families and those with special needs. States that offer this benefit include: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Washington, DC.
- Take advantage of tax credit programs. Eight states allow you to deduct tuition and related expenses from your taxes, including: Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. Speak with an expert to learn whether you’re eligible.
- Look at options beyond private school. Many states offer charter schools, virtual classrooms, magnet schools and other alternatives to traditional public education. If they’re available, factor in these options when deciding on private school.
Private schools are expensive. But if you haven’t budgeted or are unable to cover the full amount of tuition and related expenses on your own, you do have options. One option is a personal loan which can make private education more bearable for your wallet, as long as you can make the monthly payments.