Attending a private school is an appealing choice for a number of students. Typically, private schools are able to offer many benefits that public schools just can’t match. For example, many students are attracted to private schools due to the increased level of mentoring and individual attention they receive from faculty and advisors. Traditionally, private schools have a much smaller class size and a lower faculty to student ratio than public schools. Alternatively, some students choose a private school that adheres to their preferred religious upbringing. Private schools also tend to have more students from out-of-state and from other countries while public schools tend to attract more in-state students. Perhaps the largest difference between public and private institutions is the cost of an education. Private schools tend to be much more expensive than public schools. However, there are a number of scholarships available to students who wish to attend a private college or university.
The cost of attending a private school can be astronomical. One of the easiest ways to obtain funding for a private school is to fill out the FAFSA application. This application will inform students of any free grants that they may qualify for. Some of these may be geared towards minority students or students who have excelled academically. The FAFSA will also inform students whether they qualify for any need-based loans or a work-study program. Some states also offer vouchers for students who wish to complete their studies at a private school.
In addition to completing the FAFSA, students should inquire with the Admission’s Office and Financial Aid Office at the school they plan to attend. Often, private schools have a number of different scholarships that can be combined. For example, The Catholic University of American offers Alumni Grants, Parish Scholarships, Transfer Scholarships, and merit-based awards that can all be combined. Other private schools, such as Princeton University and Harvard University, agree to cover the unmet financial need of any admitted student. Princeton uses a need-blind admissions process and uses the student’s FAFSA information to determine how much the student pays and how much tuition the school will cover.
Additionally, there are many nonprofit scholarship programs that will award money to students who attend a private school. These programs include:
Carver Scholars Program
: This program is open to Iowa students who are in their last two years of college. Students at private universities and colleges are eligible for the award, which is worth $7,600. This award is open exclusively to students who have had to overcome extreme social or economic hardship on their path to pursing a degree. Additional information about this scholarship can be found at the following website: https://www.carvertrust.org/index.php?page=scholars.
Gates Millennium Scholars Program
: This scholarship program is open to minority students who are academically talented. Students must have at least a 3.3 grade point average, a history of demonstrated leadership ability, and show financial need. Students who win the scholarship are able to attend any university or college of their choice, including a private school. Additional information can be found here: http://www.gmsp.org.