Richmond area parents contemplate private education for a variety of reasons, bringing to the table diverse backgrounds and experiences. But, they all have one thing in common: they value their children’s education. They want to find just the right learning environment that allows their children to reach their full potential. When parents search for the right private school, they are just searching for school, they are searching for something special for their child.
Usually, parents look at paying for private school education as an investment in their children’s future. Still, the sticker shock of annual tuition can make many parents hit the brakes on their search or abandon it all together.
But – that’s right, there’s a “but” – seeing the cost of private school doesn’t have to mean the end of the road. Even though tuition might look high, it might actually be manageable. Let’s look at how.
Make Comparisons and Determine ROI
First, get organized and create a spreadsheet that categorizes all of the important factors about a school. Aside from the schools’ names, tuitions, and philosophies or religious affiliations, include the factors that are truly important to you as a family. For example, does it offer a robust STEM program as well as art and music? How much physical activity do students get? Think about what you want your children to receive from their education, and create columns to record how each private school provides this.
Recording schools’ deliverables in the areas that you find most important will help you see exactly what you are receiving for the cost of tuition. Plus, you’ll also get to see how schools compare to each other. One school’s tuition might be much higher than another’s, but, you might see that it falls short on many of your criteria, giving you a very poor return on your investment.
When compared to nearby nonsectarian private schools, RMS’s tuition is considerably lower (in some cases, nearly $10,000 lower!). However, the Montessori method distinguishes it as a unique school that frees students from constraining desks and inspires them to explore and discover their environments, both in and out of doors. It offers numerous specialty classes that enrich students’ education, engages students in collaborative work and purposefully cultivates a respectful atmosphere.
If RMS were on a family’s spreadsheet, it would easily check off most boxes. The Montessori method cultivates a learning environment that integrates the cognitive, physical, social and emotional development of all students.
Examine Payment Plans
Looking at private schools’ annual tuition, plus their fees for books or laboratory usage, might make the prospect of affording it seem quite difficult. But, any good private school will offer payment plans to break up the cost of tuition into smaller installments over time. This allows parents to see more clearly how smaller installments would factor into their other monthly expenses. That’s exactly what we do here at RMS.
We partner with FACTS, an online tuition management system, to make tuition payments easy to manage. No cumbersome paper trails to track, no due dates to remember on your own. You can set it up through the FACTS secure system. Automated tuition payments can be withdrawn from your bank account or charged to your credit card. FACTS charges a 2.85% convenience fee on credit card payments but does not charge any fee to withdraw from a checking or savings account.
RMS families have three payment options, allowing families to choose an option that works best for them.
- 10 equal payments, paid monthly, July 1 – April 1. $45 FACTS annual enrollment fee.
- 2 equal payments, paid July 1 and December 1. $10 FACTS annual enrollment fee.
- 1 full payment, paid July 1. FACTS enrollment fee is waived.
Apply for Financial Aid
Even when tuition is broken down into smaller installments, it still might not be feasible to pay the full tuition amount in the long run. Seeking financial aid will help offset the cost and get your children access to the quality education they deserve.
After students are accepted by RMS, they are eligible to apply for financial aid. Awards are given to students based on need. RMS benefits from donations from our generous community of families and friends, as well as our community partnerships. These donations are put back into the school to make our scholarship funds available, maintain the quality of our facilities and equipment and ensure the professional development of our teachers.
Take a Look
If you’re only just beginning to skim the surface of private schools, the brief look at tuition can make you gasp and slam your laptop shut.
But before you shut the lid entirely, look closely at how tuition compares to similar schools and be ruthless in your comparisons. Dig deeply into each school’s programs and philosophies; spend time observing classes so you get a clear picture of what your tuition pays for.
At RMS, we encourage potential parents and students to visit and observe. Open Houses for the 2018-2019 school year are available for interested families. Contact us to schedule a tour.