The following guest post was written by Jim Huinink. Jim is the Director of Web Strategy for ourkids.net a portal on Canadian private schools that features private school listings and advice for parents including where to find Christian schools and information on paying private school tuition.
Like many parents, my wife and I are committed to sending our children to a private Christian school. For eleven years now, we have been paying exorbitant tuition rates that sometimes, frankly, were barely affordable. Let me just note for ChristianPF readers that I am Canadian, from Ontario, where Protestant Christian schools receive no government funding. If you live in a state or province where Christian schools receive government funding, I congratulate you. However, many of us do not.
While Christian private education is desired by a lot of parents many dismiss the possibility outright, certain that the cost is out of reach. Before you decide that you cannot afford Christian school tuition, let me offer you these points to ponder.
1. Affording Christian school tuition is an act of faith for most parents.
I know many families who have a minimal annual income but they are committed to providing their children with a Christian education. We were in that boat when our oldest daughter began school, and we had to compromise to afford the $6000 per year tuition. We never traveled, we bought second hand clothes, we drove older vehicles, we kept a small mortgage (on a small house, too, let’s note).
Living through those times was not easy. But I’ll also admit it was good for us. This is not to say that you have to suffer to pay Christian school tuition, but you need to believe that the life-long benefits will outweigh the short term pain. Years from now, your kids will not hold it against you that you could not afford to buy them a new gaming console every year. (I promise you, they won’t!)
We sent our kids to Christian school in faith. This faith has had practical benefits. We see that in our children’s character, the friendships they have formed. I believe you will, too, if you send your children to a Christian school with fellow Christians living out the values you also hold. Paying tuition might even drive you to work harder, to be more ambitious and to find new streams of income, as it did for us.
2. We do not regret keeping faith.
You are automatically exposing yourself to a built in support group.
Many churches support Christian education, and if you appeal to them in times of trouble they may be able to help you. Many Christian schools have tuition aid funds to help families going through struggles. If you feel that your income barely puts you on the cusp of being able to afford Christian school tuition, have faith that there are people around you who will be willing to help you.
3. There may very well be tuition assistance or tax breaks.
Before you dismiss private Christian education outright, visit your local Christian school and find out from the principal or teachers what assistance or tax breaks might be available. I can’t outline tax laws and supplements in every state and province in North America but I know many parents are surprised by the availability of a tax break in our province. This tax break allows parents to claim a significant portion of their tuition as a charitable donation. There are almost certainly similar loopholes in your state or province that will significantly ease the burden of tuition payments.
Whatever you do, don’t look at the tuition rates at face value. Be sure to discuss your options with other parents who send their kids to private Christian school. Find out from the principal how families afford tuition. Ask a financial advisor or accountant, who may know something no one else does.
You may be surprised that Christian school is more affordable than you originally thought. After a year or two of fighting to make tuition payments you may find it easier. If you fight to keep your kids in Christian school you will reap rewards of keeping faith.
And in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Photo by foreversouls