Scholarships and grants can ease the burden of school fees

In an article in the Telegraph, 11/12/12, Martin Bly gives advice on the types of financial support available in independent schools and how to go about applying for them.

According to the latest figures from the Independent Schools Council, one third of the children at private schools are being educated at a reduced cost of one kind or another: because they are receiving a grant, or because the school is giving them a bursary. And head teachers report that the number of parents applying for assisted places has trebled in the past six years, as the outlook in the economy has remained grim.

But while fees have been rising, so have the sums available to pay them. The amount of money available through bursaries has increased by 11.4 per cent in the past two years, comfortably ahead of the official rate of inflation.

Charitable grants for educational expenses are another possibility worth pursuing: these are often tied to parents in specific careers or professions.

Parents who wish to benefit from scholarships, bursaries or grants will, however, have to prove that their need is genuine and that they have exhausted every other avenue of assitance.

They should prepare for searching questions from school Bursars, and should expect bank and mortgage statements to be inspected. The financial circumstances of the children’s grandparents may also be called into question.

But the support is there to be taken up: it is in the interests of most private schools to attract intelligent and hardworking pupils by any means at their disposal, in order to maintain a high placing in the academic league tables so they can continue to attract those parents who can afford the full amount. And the great benefit for head teachers is that they get to choose the children who will be eligible for scholarships and bursaries on ability and attitude, rather than weight of cheque.

As Andrew Halls, head of King’s College School, Wimbledon, puts it: “Most good schools will bend over backwards to take the pupils they want.”

Click here to read the article © The Telegraph