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How Much Does Boarding School Cost?

Not every student attends school close to home when it comes to their K-12 education. Instead, they attend schools more commonly known as “boarding schools.” Some boarding schools are easily recognized by the prestige of their name, and others are more locally known. Maybe you are now asking yourself, “how much does boarding school cost?” We are going to answer that question and also give you a general summary of all things boarding school. Let’s get started!

First, what is boarding school? 

A boarding school is a type of educational institution that offers K-12 students the opportunity to live on its campus. These schools often have more rigorous requirements and challenging curriculums than typical public schools. Boarding schools are designed to prepare students for their future endeavors in life. 

Some boarding schools offer “daytime only” options, which means students do not live on campus. Instead, they commute for classes when school is in session. Similar to most educational institutions, there are a lot of variations when it comes to boarding schools. 

A few examples of types of boarding schools include the following: 

  • College preparatory
  • Military
  • Sports
  • Religious
  • Arts
  • Therapeutic 

There are over 300 boarding schools registered with the Association of Boarding Schools in the United States and Canada. While boarding schools cater to the unique needs of students, the majority of boarding schools in the United States are college preparatory. 

Also see: What is a Montessori school?

Do you have to pay for boarding school? 

At most boarding schools, you will have to pay for tuition as well as room and board. Ultimately, the cost of boarding school depends on a lot of factors, including the following: 

  • Location
  • Type of boarding school
  • How much financial aid support you receive 

What is the average cost of boarding school in the United States? 

  • The average annual tuition at five-day boarding schools is $33,140
  • The average annual tuition at seven-day boarding schools is $37,590.

Also see: Charter schools vs private schools

Do boarding schools offer financial aid? 

Boarding schools typically offer options for lower-income students. The following are some examples of financial aid opportunities most boarding schools offer.

Financial assistance

Typically, boarding schools offer financial assistance based on need to students who come from lower-income families. If you are interested in financial assistance options, reach out to the desired boarding school to talk to their financial aid department. 

Merit awards

Some boarding schools offer merit or other types of scholarships for academic excellence or extraordinary talents. These scholarships would be very competitive to earn, but if you have stellar grades or are gifted in some way, merit scholarships are worth exploring. 

Athletic scholarships

Typically, most boarding schools do not offer athletic scholarships. However, there are some exceptions for exceptional athletes. Students and their parents need to research specific schools by the sport(s) of interest. 

Also see: Top middle school scholarships

What are some benefits of boarding schools? 

Boarding schools offer an experiential learning environment to engage students. There are a number of additional benefits to attending a well-run boarding school. These include safe campuses, low teacher to student ratios, and more personalized educational experiences for students. 

Safe environment

Most boarding schools emphasize safety as their number one priority. They want to ensure that students attending and living at their boarding school feel and are safe. Therefore, boarding schools generally have monitored areas for students to be able to comfortably walk around town and spend their free time exploring the amenities of the campus. 

Smaller class sizes

Boarding schools tend to accept and accommodate a small percentage of students, therefore their class sizes tend to be smaller. This allows students to better connect with each other and with their teachers. In addition, smaller class sizes and community helps curate a close knit community for students to be a part of. 

Helping develop students

Boarding schools were created to help students succeed within their intellectual development and interests. There is a strong emphasis on academics in the culture of boarding schools. However, there is also focus on development through extracurricular activities such as clubs and sports.  Most boarding schools aim to help students develop into strong and successful young adults by high school graduation. 

Also see: What is a good SSAT score?

What are the negatives of boarding school?

Being away from home

It’s no surprise that some boarding school students have difficulty adjusting to life away from home. While some students go home on weekends, others remain at boarding school until major school breaks. The teenage years are stressful enough for many students; isolation from family and friends at this time might cause additional anxiety. 

Academically stressful for some students

Since nearly all boarding schools require a certain level of academic ability for entrance, the student body is high achieving to start. For some students, this can be motivating, but for others, it can be intimidating. There are many credible studies about this, so if there is any concern that you or your child may not thrive in that environment, make sure to research.  

The cost

As shown, without financial aid, boarding schools costs are similar to some college tuition prices. Some students and their families choose to pay for boarding school hoping that it will lead to generous college tuition scholarships. Others may have a comfortable financial situation and not have to worry. Ultimately, it comes down to what is right for individual students and their families’ financial situation. 

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Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

  • Boarding schools offer an immersive experience that varies greatly from traditional K12 education. For some students, this can be a chance to focus in on their studies and passions, whereas others may find themselves to be homesick
  • Boarding schools are some of the most expensive options for K12 education, but parents can reduce the cost by applying for scholarships and financial aid
  • Many different models exist for boarding school education, including military, religious, college prep, and sports
Key Takeaways

Frequently asked questions about boarding schools

Is attending a boarding school worth the cost? 

The answer depends on the student and the financial situation of the parents. Boarding schools help some students prepare for college and future careers in ways that other educational institutions cannot. While the initial investment into boarding schools is very high, financial aid is available at most schools.

Most importantly, boarding school is not the right fit for every student. There is a financial cost for attending, but the emotional cost is most important. Therefore, be sure to explore all educational options available to help determine what is the best fit for you or your child. 

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