Independent schooling is expensive. Having said that, there is assistance available for those who may struggle to afford school fees.
Almost all independent schools offer some measure of financial support. More than a quarter of pupils receive financial help from their school in the form of excellence awards, means- tested bursaries and sibling discounts to name a few.
Not all families who qualify are struggling financially, so once you have selected the right school for your child it pays to check out the financial assistance on offer, even if you consider yourself comfortably off.
The issue of how to get a great education for your child on as a little money as possible has never been more confusing. More private schools are now offering bursaries so here are few tips on how to improve your chances of being one of the lucky ones.
1. Get in early
You should ask about bursaries up to two years before your child might arrive at the school in question. It’s not just senior schools that offer bursaries; plenty of prep schools offer money off the fees too.
2. Don’t be shy
Roughly one in three children at an independent school is on some form of fee “remission” so do not worry, your child won’t be the only one in the class receiving assistance.
3. Expect to be welcomed
Private schools are actively looking for bursary applicants. Some of the schools are advertising for
cash-strapped parents of bright children to come forward via their websites. At the end of the day, who wouldn’t want bright and talented children to attend their school? Every school is proud of their best pupils.
4. Be ready to be means-tested
Schools want to know about all your financial circumstances, not just your take-home pay. What kind of house do you live in? What car do you drive? What savings do you have? What size mortgage do you have? Where do you go on holiday? Do both parents work? Could you borrow against your house? Are relatives able to help?
5. Explore all avenues
You may qualify for help with school fees by virtue of your job, birthplace or even your religion. There are trusts that provide grants so always keep your eyes open, research and check all your options.
6. Ask the family
Grandparents or godparents are a good and proven source of assistance. From their point of view, helping with children’s education is a much more valuable gift than leaving them a few thousand pounds when they are 30. Also, if you haven’t asked them and they are in a position to help, it may well count against you in the eyes of the school to which you are applying for a bursary.
7. Don’t give up
If you don’t get a bursary or scholarship when your child is 11 or 12, don’t give up. Try again when your child is older; often competition isn’t as fierce in the sixth form.
And the last tip……..
8. A bursary is not for life
….. meaning if you suddenly win the lottery, your bursary will be removed. Equally, if disaster strikes or you lose your job, you can apply for bursary. It’s always a two-way street, the bursar both giveth and taketh away!