Say Yes to Boarding School!
By Katherine Pilnick
The decision to send a child to boarding school is a big one, and one that should involve the entire family. While it offers a unique educational experience and may be the best option for your child, some families struggle to afford boarding school, especially when they consider the impending costs of college. For many, however, the benefits of boarding school are well worth the costs and potential setbacks.
The Value of a Boarding School Education
When you send your child to boarding school, you can rest assured that he or she will get a great education, both academically and socially. Here’s why:
- Students at boarding schools receive more personalized attention. Classes at Randolph-Macon Academy, for example, have an average of just 14 students.
- Students can often choose from a variety of challenging topics. Course offerings typically include a wide range of subjects at advanced and AP levels.
- Faculty members commonly bring more knowledge and experience to the classroom since they often hold advanced degrees.
- School resources such as a library or athletic complex tend to be of the best quality, thanks to private funding.
- Students live independently at a young age. This allows them to mature and make their own decisions within a safe community.
The rigorous and well-rounded educational experience of boarding school prepares students for college and beyond. Top-tier universities recognize the unique education of boarding school students and do their best to recruit such students; R-MA’s 81 graduates in 2012 were offered more than $4 million in scholarships.
Alumni regularly go on to attend top colleges and universities, while fondly remembering their time at boarding school.
Financial Feasibility of Boarding School
If you and your child agree that boarding school is the right choice, don’t let finances get in the way of a good education. While school can be costly, funding options are available to help families make ends meet. Financial aid is available for boarding school just as it’s available for higher education. If you can’t afford a school’s price, look into scholarships, grants and loans.
Many boarding schools offer merit-based scholarships and need-based grants. These may be enough to cover the full cost of attendance, and you never need to repay them.
If you’ve exhausted scholarship and grant options but need more financial help, look into student loans. You can typically borrow private student loans through major banks, but your approval for a loan will depend on your credit score. If you’re thinking of taking out education loans, keep in mind that you will be responsible for paying these off over the course of several years, and be sure you’re prepared to commit to the repayment plan.
Boarding school can make a huge impact on your child’s life and future. It can improve his or her skills and education in ways traditional schools simply can’t. If you think boarding school will benefit your son or daughter, do what you can to give your child that experience.
Katherine Pilnick is a finance writer and blogger for Debt.org.