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Affording an Independent School

UPrep's associate director of admission and financial aid shares information about affording private schools.  

Associate Director of Admission and Financial Aid Doug Moon explains why families should consider applying for financial aid

I attended public elementary, middle, and high schools growing up. It wasn’t until after graduating college that I asked my parents (who both attended parochial high schools) “Why didn’t my sister and I attend private or independent schools?” My dad answered, “We could have paid for high school, or helped you pay for college!” I completely understood his rationale and thanked him for their support! Fast forward, after nine years working in independent schools and learning about financial aid, I think if my parents were better informed, maybe they would have been able to afford an independent school education for my sister and me. As a result of my own family’s experience, I’d like to pass along a few things that I have learned in my role overseeing financial aid at UPrep.

The Cost and What Is Included

The cost of an independent school education is a significant investment for families. Some people have sticker shock when they see the price tag. As a proponent of lifelong learning, I encourage families to educate themselves on what the costs and supports may look like for an exceptional educational experience at UPrep.

For the 2021–2022 school year, Upper School (grades 9–12) tuition is $40,240 and Middle School (grades 6–8) tuition is $39,060. For the 2021–22 academic year, UPrep awarded $3.2M in need-based financial aid to 18 percent of our enrolled students. This financial aid comes in the form of grants that do not need to be repaid. This year, these grant awards ranged from about $10,000 to $38,000, supporting families with annual incomes ranging from less than $10,000 to more than $250,000. To learn more, please check out the financial aid profiles of different families who receive financial aid at UPrep.

At UPrep, we value student life beyond the classroom, too. That’s why our Financial Aid Program covers not just tuition, but also all other fees associated with the UPrep experience. Students receiving financial aid also receive funds to assist with textbooks, lunch, transportation, technology, field trips and retreats, global experiences (both domestic and international), dances, and other co-curricular activities such as Ski Bus. As alumna Breahna Wilson ’08 said, “As a student on financial aid, UPrep was always there for me, always found ways to make sure I had everything I needed and made sure that I did not feel excluded or left out. For me, that was so important.”

A Confidential Process

I think it is also important to know that the UPrep Financial Aid Program is confidential. This means a very small number of administrators at the school are aware of which students are using financial aid to attend. Teachers, advisors, and coaches are not privy to this information, ensuring that all students are treated the same regardless of socioeconomic status.

Need-Based Aid

As part of UPrep’s mission, we seek to create a diverse student community.  For this reason, financial aid is an essential element of our mission, allowing us to serve students from various socioeconomic backgrounds. With the current global pandemic, and its unpredictable financial outlook, it may feel risky to consider an independent school education for your student. It’s true that since March 2020, more people who would not have qualified in the past are looking at financial aid as an option. Financial aid awards are based on need, and we look at both a family’s current circumstances and their financial history. We have families receiving a few thousand dollars in aid, all the way up to 99 percent of school costs, because UPrep’s Financial Aid Program is designed to include supports for families from varying income levels and circumstances.

If you think UPrep is the school for your child and you are concerned about affording an independent school education, it is definitely worth applying for financial aid as your student applies for admittance. Please note the application for admission and the financial aid application processes are separate but related. For more information, visit our financial aid FAQ page

Read more articles in our Inside Independent Schools series!

By Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Doug Moon


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