How to Afford Boarding School in New Jersey
Boarding schools can be expensive. There, we said it. The elephant in the room has been acknowledged.
But once you begin to break down the countless benefits that come with attending a school that is immersive, culturally diverse, academically rigorous, and rich in co-curricular activities, you can see the value of your investment.
Boarding school students gain a wealth and richness of experience that comes with small classroom sizes, close peer learning, and an expanded sense of responsibility and independence.
If you’re getting overwhelmed trying to figure out how to afford a boarding education in New Jersey, we’re here to help make it easier!
Read on to understand what the average cost of boarding schools in NJ are, as well as the options available for families like you to afford this investment into your child’s future.
Cost of New Jersey Boarding Schools
A typical U.S. boarding school education costs in the realm of $35,000 to $60,000. However, this number is a rough estimate. Factors including class trips, financial aid awards, and other associated costs can affect the cost of a boarding school education.
In New Jersey, specifically, the average cost of boarding high schools is approximately $61,400* per year.
It’s important to note that the cost of attending boarding school can vary school-to-school and region-to-region, so it’s important to look into a variety of schools that fit your family’s needs. While one school might require students to pay extra for field trips and school supplies, another school might not. These expenses can certainly add up, and may not be manageable for all families — but there are plenty of strategies you can use to afford boarding school for your child.
What Do You Get With the Cost of a Boarding School?
If you’re imagining boarding school like the movies, with students living in a beautiful location, eating great food, and traveling around the world, the exciting thing is that reality isn't too far off!
Although private boarding school costs can range anywhere from $30,000 to $66,000, this cost includes more than just tuition.
Students can take advantage of these benefits as part of the cost of boarding school:
- All meals included — Many boarding school dining halls can cater to a variety of dietary needs, including serving gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. And some, like at The Hun School of Princeton, offer locally sourced ingredients, so students and parents know exactly where their food comes from.
- Fun weekend trips paid for
- Faculty members available for students 24/7
- The chance to study anywhere in the world
- A variety of after-school activities from sports to arts offerings
- One-on-one college counseling
- And more
How to Afford a Boarding School Education in NJ
If you’re unsure if you can afford a private boarding school but consider it a valuable investment for your child, you may be surprised to learn about some of the options available to you.
The following tips and tricks should get you started, but don't forget to reach out to the Finance Department of your school of choice and speak to them directly about what options are available.
You may be surprised at how affordable a boarding school education can be.
Look for Financial Aid
Most people consider financial aid for college, but you may have never thought about applying for aid for a boarding school. Many boarding schools offer need-based financial aid that acts as a grant covering some of the boarding school costs.
The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) established principles for financial assistance as administered by Tuition Aid Data Services (TADS) or School & Student Services by NAIS (SSS).
Many schools, including the Hun School of Princeton, follow these guidelines to streamline the financial aid process.
Financial aid money comes directly from your school's budget, and you'll need to apply and document that you need assistance.
Before you write off sending your child to a boarding school because of costs, keep in mind that boarding schools throughout the country offer a high level of assistance — some boasting over 70% of students receiving financial aid.
Consider Private Scholarships
Private scholarships from outside of boarding schools are typically region-specific and help low-income families.
They may also come with certain stipulations or require a lengthy application process. These scholarships are a great option if your child meets the requirements.
You can visit NAIS here to see a full list of private scholarship providers.
Some of the common options include:
- The Davidson Young Scholars Program
- The Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship
- A Better Chance
- Navajo Nation Scholarships
You should also talk to your school about any scholarships they provide if you're wondering how to afford boarding school in New Jersey.
Merit-based scholarships for athletics, academics, or other factors can help defray some of the costs of boarding schools, but not all schools offer merit-based scholarships.
The National Association of Boarding Schools says that about 37% of all boarding school students receive annual aid, including the school's financial aid and merit-based and foundation scholarships. Motivating your child to apply for these merit-based scholarships will ensure that you receive more funds to cover boarding school costs.
Negotiate a Payment Schedule
Some private schools ask for a lump sum upfront before the school year or semester begins, but many will allow you to enroll in a payment plan.
Most tuition payment plans will allow you to make monthly payments for tuition and room and board instead of paying in one or two large lump sums.
Usually, the payment plans are offered through a financial services company that coordinates with the school. One common company is FACTS, which provides flexible payment options for families with kids enrolled in particular boarding schools.
Talk to your school to see if they recommend a particular plan or provider and find out whether there will be any fees related to the payment plan.
Ask About Work-Study Options
Another option is for your student to consider a work-study program.
Just as students heading off to college can apply for the Federal Work-Study program, your high school student may be able to help pay for their boarding school by working.
They can help in the dining hall, give campus tours to prospective students, assist in the athletics department, or clean dorms.
No matter the job, the work-study program will act as part of your student's tuition assistance and also give them valuable work experience.
Consider The Hun School of Princeton
If you're in the beginning stages of your New Jersey boarding school search or wondering how to afford boarding school in New Jersey, consider The Hun School of Princeton.
Our close-knit boarding dynamic and vigorous academic structure keep our community small and our worldview ever-expanding.
Contact us with any questions you have about our educational program, financial aid, or boarding school costs — we'll be happy to help.
*Average based off of the 2019-2020 tuition of seven non-religious boarding schools in New Jersey