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How to afford boarding school

Not every family is able to pay the full cost of attending boarding school, but fortunately there are seven ways that might help you afford boarding school tuition.

Financial aid

If your family qualifies, financial aid may make it possible to afford boarding school tuition. And, unlike loans, financial aid typically does not have to be paid back. Boarding schools usually ask parents to complete the Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS) in order to determine if they qualify for aid, and how much. Learn more about the PFS from School & Student Services (SSS) by NAIS and ask the admission and financial aid office about important deadlines.


While most people think of college as a time to take out loans for education, it is also possible to finance your boarding school education with loans. Ask the admission and financial aid office for advice on how loans can help you afford boarding school.

School scholarships

Some boarding schools offer scholarships ranging from merit scholarships based on academic performances, to activity-based scholarships, which may be tied to a particular sport or art discipline. Alumni may sometimes endow scholarships for students from a specific  area or background, too. Ask your admission officer if they offer scholarships, if you qualify, and how to apply. Cheshire Academy offers the coveted Town Scholarship for day students from the town of Cheshire. Not all boarding schools offer scholarships  though, and usually the funds are limited, but it doesn’t hurt to try!

External scholarships

Opportunities to get scholarships from sources outside of the schools to which you’re applying are limited, but they do exist. Check if your state has any Scholarship Funding Organizations.

Tuition payment plans

Whether you receive financial aid or are paying tuition in full, payment plans can make it easier to afford the cost by spreading out your payments over a period of time, typically up to 10 months.

Tuition discounts

Ask your admission office if the school offers any discounts for balances paid in full by a specific deadline. This may only apply to those paying full tuition amounts, but sometimes the discount is extended even to those families receiving financial aid.


Some states offer voucher programs, which provide state-funded tuition assistance. Visit the National Conference of State Legislatures to see if your state is one of the few that offer this type of assistance.


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Stacy Jagodowski

Written by Stacy Jagodowski

Ms. Jago joined the Cheshire Academy community in August 2013 as the director of strategic marketing and communications. Prior to coming to Cheshire Academy, she spent six years working in communications offices at both colleges and private school, as well as five years in admission at both boarding schools and day schools.

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