Family Portrait

Parents try to be fair in distributing resources among their children. Sometimes, to a fault. When it comes to considering school options and the possibility of paying tuition for one child, the next thought is whether the same financial resources will be available for the rest of the family. The best of intentions, but not always sound reasoning. Here are some points to consider:

One size does not fit all, and one school does not necessarily fit all types of children. We have always recommended that families search for the best alternative for each child, based upon individual strengths and needs. Some kids need more structure; some can handle a larger school; others may be seeking a respected sports team or coach; some need to be matched with a specific academic program or curriculum. Often, these varying needs cannot be adequately met in one school.
There is no special virtue in sending all children in the family to one school, either. Some will want to be close to home; some may need more study skills; others might thrive in a challenging boarding setting. In many important ways, it can be a good thing for each child to have his or her own school, regardless of type or tuition level. The financial parity issue becomes minor when compared to each child’s comfort and performance levels, particularly when the child is invested in the school choice.
When finances are a big concern, as they are in most families, it is important to know that most schools provide need-based financial aid that uses standardized calculations to determine a family’s ability to fund its children’s educational expenses. If, for example, a financial aid application determines that a family has the ability to contribute 8,000 per year for school tuitions, that amount will not change significantly if two, three, or more children plan to attend tuition-based schools. It is the aid package that will change, provided that each applicant is qualified for admission.
So, perhaps it would be better for parents to think first of seeking the best fit for eachchild, whether public or private, day or boarding. When that has been achieved, the finances will tend to take care of themselves, leaving each child’s success to justify the effort.



Director, Informed Educational Solutions

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