Tips For Applying To Private Elementary Schools

Part 2

By Christina Simon is the co-author of “Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles.” February 3, 2011


·       The Cost Of Private Elementary School. Private elementary schools require you to open your wallet! The top schools range from $17-$24,000 per year. However, there are schools that cost less per year and a few that cost more annually. You should also know that tuition generally rises between 4-8 percent per year. Private schools also expect every family to participate in their annual giving campaign. The amount is up to each family and typically ranges from a few hundred dollars per year to tens of thousands. Tuition alone does not cover the cost of running these schools, so auctions, fairs and other events are held to cover the gap between the tuition paid by each family and the school’s budget needs. Additional expenses to consider include enrichment classes, hot lunch, field trips and sports programs.

Financial Aid. Financial assistance is available for families who qualify. The financial aid application is a separate application process from the school’s admissions process. Typically, schools award financial aid to cover part, but not all of the tuition. And, most schools assume families will need financial aid for the entire time their child is at the school. However, you will be required to apply for aid every year. At most schools, admissions decisions are separate from financial aid decisions. But, at a few schools, a family’s financial needs may be considered as part of the admissions decisions. Schools do not want to admit families who have no means to pay tuition.  Last year was a very difficult year for new families requesting financial aid, due to the fragile economy. This year, it is anticipated more financial aid will be available for applicant families.

 Go Ahead, Apply!

Los Angeles has wonderful private elementary schools., If you’re thinking about applying to private schools, go for it! Yes, it’s competitive, but your child has just as good a chance as the next child to be accepted. The process is difficult. My co-authors and I like to say that private elementary school admissions is like a game that anyone can play as long as you as you understand it’s rules. So, try to ignore the hype and focus on getting through the process. In the end, once your child is accepted at a great school, all the ups and downs of the admissions frenzy will be forgotten.


Christina Simon is the co-author of “Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles.” She is the mom of a 2nd grade son and a 4th grade daughter who attend The Willows Community School in Culver City. Christina writes the blog, for parents applying to private elementary schools and about her life as a mom at private school. She has a B.A. from UC Berkeley and an M.A. from UCLA.