As a parent, you want the best education for your child. You might choose to send her to a private school for its academics, location or religious affiliation. However, paying for a private school education can be a challenge as a single parent, especially if you're living on a single income. With some research and hard work, you can take advantage of grants to make a private school education a reality for your child.
According to PrivateSchools.com, about 20 percent of private school K-12 students receive some form of financial assistance based on need alone, most of which comes directly from the school itself. Contact a school to see if they offer scholarships or other financial assistance, or to get referrals for other sources of funding. Let them know you are a single parent, as they often take special circumstances into consideration when making funding decisions -- you will probably need to fill out a need analysis form to see if you qualify.
Your state may offer a voucher program, sometimes called an opportunity scholarship, for children to attend private schools. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, these vouchers are typically geared towards certain groups of students. Single parents often benefit, so check with your state’s department of education to see if your state participates and if so, the qualifications and process for the program.
Many grants are available to residents of a particular city or state, each with its own criteria and targeted recipients. Some examples: inner-city Chicago children can attend Catholic schools via the Big Shoulders Fund; Capital Partners for Education focuses on low-income children in the D.C. area who come from a single-parent home; and Children’s First Utah helps low-income children attend one of the state's 75 private schools. Try searching online with your city and state names to see what might be available in your area Add the words "single parent" to your search to find those targeted specifically to you.
Nationally, many opportunities exist if you are willing to do some research online, but they are quite competitive. For instance, The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation offers a Young Scholars Program to offer financial and mentoring support for low and moderate income students in grades 9 through 12. Students must show both academic and extracurricular distinction to qualify in 7th grade, and may also receive support for college. Out of the 1,000 children who apply each year, only 60 are chosen. A Better Chance provides about 90 percent of its 500 new scholars each year with financial aid at one of over 300 private middle and high schools across the U.S. Students of color entering grades 6-11 must have a B+ or better GPA and rank in the top 10 percent of their class to qualify. Many other programs exist too. Ask the administrators of the school you are interested in for their recommendations or browse online for other options.