Shorecrest Preparatory School Blog

Doing the Math for Tuition

Posted by Dr. Jean Spencer-Carnes on Oct 3, 2018 8:00:00 AM

circuitbuildingYou’ve found the school! It offers an outside the box approach to curriculum, and a relatively convenient location. There are fantastic teachers and special programs. It's an independent school, and that means tuition. You are sure your child will thrive in this learning environment, if you can manage the cost. Don't let tuition be the deciding factor for which school your child will attend.  Putting the pieces together may be easier than it seems.

Schools like Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, Florida, understand that the cost of school can be a hurdle. While some families may be in a position to simply write a check, that certainly isn’t the case for every family who is part of an independent school community. Many independent schools are committed to helping families manage tuition costs, and offer a number of payment options.

  • Monthly Payment Plans

Shorecrest allows families to choose the best payment plan to suit them. Tuition payments may be made monthly, semi-annually, annually or tuition may be prepaid. If a family has the cash flow to pay 10% of the tuition for ten months of the year, that plan can make tuition more manageable than a large lump sum payment.

  • Education Savings Accounts

Although education savings accounts have many restrictions and should be thoroughly researched, some families may find them useful. A Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA), is a federally sponsored, tax-advantaged trust or custodial account set up to pay for qualified education expenses. Tax reform effective in January 2018 allows families to use 529 plans to pay for up to $10,000 in tuition expenses at elementary or secondary public, private or parochial schools.

  • Need Based Financial Assistance
The National Association of Independent Schools cautions parents not to make too many assumptions about financial aid, such as thinking they earn too much or too little to afford the independent school of their choice. Many schools use an external tool - “School and Student Services by the National Association of Independent Schools” (SSS by NAIS) - to determine financial need. The analysis encompasses many factors including family size, income, debts, assets, etc. to determine a family’s need. Shorecrest awards tuition assistance based on the family’s estimated need from SSS, the school’s current financial aid budget and the overall enrollment of the school.

Shorecrest Preparatory School has a need blind admissions policy, admitting the most qualified and best-fit students without regard for a family’s ability to pay. The Board of Trustees has made the school’s Flexible Tuition Program a priority, offering need based tuition discounts based on an overall assessment of the applicant family’s need.

  • Outside Scholarships

There are a number of scholarships available for primary and secondary school tuition. Step Up For Students provides legislatively authorized K-12 scholarship programs and related support to give economically disadvantaged families the freedom to choose the best learning options for their children. The McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program provides scholarships for eligible students with disabilities to attend an eligible public or private school of their choice.

  • Tuition Loans

If a family decides a loan program is the best way to pay for a child’s tuition, the following loan programs are recommended vendors:

Your Tuition Solution Education Loan

Sallie Mae's K-12 Family Education Loan

The primary thing to remember is that tuition doesn't need to be the deciding factor in your child's education. There are ways to bring the cost of even the best independent school within reach. 

The Financial Aid application for assistance for the 2019-20 school year is open October 2, 2018 - December 31, 2018. Visit to learn more. 

Financial Aid Application Info




Topics: Financial Aid, Indpendent Schools