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Old 06-02-2014, 03:52 PM
 
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My family lives in North Oak Cliff and we are trying to navigate all the school options, public and private, Dallas has to offer.

Before we go look at Greenhill, St. Mark's, St. Alcuin, Lamplighter, etc, can someone provide guidance on affording tuition and other related costs? Is there room for the middle income in those schools? If so, how? Tuition assistance? Parents working in the school? Not driving a new car or taking a vacation for the next 12 years?

We're trying to do the best for our son, but also want to be realistic. Your guidance is most appreciated!
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Old 06-02-2014, 03:56 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
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They have scholarships at those schools for brilliant kids that cannot afford the education. Depending on what "middle income" to you means, you may not hit that metric. Most of them also offer financing which may be of use to you as well.
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Old 06-02-2014, 05:57 PM
 
12,196 posts, read 23,110,799 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alastrian2 View Post
My family lives in North Oak Cliff and we are trying to navigate all the school options, public and private, Dallas has to offer.

Before we go look at Greenhill, St. Mark's, St. Alcuin, Lamplighter, etc, can someone provide guidance on affording tuition and other related costs? Is there room for the middle income in those schools? If so, how? Tuition assistance? Parents working in the school? Not driving a new car or taking a vacation for the next 12 years?

We're trying to do the best for our son, but also want to be realistic. Your guidance is most appreciated!
Some thoughts:
Consider Catholic schools over the ones you listed above. St Monica / St. Rita / St Thomas A/ Ursuline/ Cistercian / Jesuit offer top notch academics at a heavily discounted price compared to the schools you mentioned. Elementary school is < $10k vs $20-25k+ at Alcuin, Lamplighter, Good Shepherd, etc.

I don't know what you consider middle income but if your HH income is anywhere near 6-figures, there is less than a 1% chance you're getting any financial assistance. I am not sure if merit scholarships exist; from what I have heard scholarships are pretty much earmarked for very low income students.

School employees get discounted - and sometimes free- tuition. Trick is to get hired a the same school that will admit your kid(s).



Private schools are great but you will have to decide how much you can sacrifice to afford them. IMO, if it means counting on your current car to last 12 more years (while commuting. 20 miles a day to the North Dallas privates!) or not saving for your own retirement, you cannot afford if and are making bad decisions. If it means you'll have to stay in a 3br house and forgo the dream house, then that is probably an appropriate sacrifice. Consider that tuition is only part of the expense of private school. Sports and other extracurriculars can easily run $300/mo and there is intense pressure to donate to the school beyond your tuition bill.

Private schools are not the end all, be all. DISD has some fabulous magnet schools, and kids from regular old neighborhood schools have gone on to tread success. The Harvard MBA student speaker at graduation this year is a young man who graduated from either Sunset or South Oak Cliff (can't remember which) and then went on to Yale undergrad and Harvard MBA. You may have better resources to fund your kid's interest in piano lessons or robotics or travel by going with the neighborhood school and enriching with private lessons, summer camps, and family travel.

All just food for thought.
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Old 06-02-2014, 08:13 PM
 
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St. Monica offers approximately 25 merit scholarships for about 1/3 of tuition. Some are available to new students; others require the student to be a continuing student. St. Monica School

Top St. Monica graduates also have access to generous high school scholarships. St. Monica School
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:20 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
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TC80 offered you excellent advice (as always).
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Old 06-02-2014, 11:14 PM
 
9,431 posts, read 11,364,249 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alastrian2 View Post
My family lives in North Oak Cliff and we are trying to navigate all the school options, public and private, Dallas has to offer.

Before we go look at Greenhill, St. Mark's, St. Alcuin, Lamplighter, etc, can someone provide guidance on affording tuition and other related costs? Is there room for the middle income in those schools? If so, how? Tuition assistance? Parents working in the school? Not driving a new car or taking a vacation for the next 12 years?

We're trying to do the best for our son, but also want to be realistic. Your guidance is most appreciated!
It's tough. My daughter was in a private school, not one of these top tier schools, and her school had testing for tuition assistance. Of course, cutting back on any other expenses is always an option. Lots of middle income people make it happen.
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Old 06-03-2014, 05:16 AM
 
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TC80's advice is spot-on.
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Old 06-03-2014, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Funky town
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awesome advice from TC80 as always...
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:29 AM
 
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I appreciate all of the guidance and food for thought. I think we're leaning towards checking out the Catholic schools or staying public. We do have great public options and know that we can offer the kiddo enrichment.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:53 AM
 
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I agree with TC80, but let me add one other thought. I think whether you will feel comfortable on the private schools also depends on the parents. For example, we go to school with one family that has less than most of the students at my daughters' school. They are just so grateful that they are at the school that there does not appear to be a jealous bone in their body and they have no issues driving 30 minutes to school. On the other hand, there are a multitude of moms that seem very concerned on where people summer, vacation homes, country clubs, etc. The jealously can make the school far less attractive.

Now I think those issues would arise at many, if not, most of the schools I would consider sending my kids (HPISD, Plano, Southlake, etc.). However, at many of the privates, the money is so pervasive that it is hard to miss. For example, when I was growing up it was a big deal if someone's grandparents had Cowboys season tickets, but at ESD, the kids' grandpa owns the cowboys. Heck, in one of my daughter's classes, there are a half dozen families that own private planes.

If you are the type of person that being around very rich people is going to be an issue, you may want to stick with the public schools.

I only bring that point up because it seems important based on the original post. Now that being said, the top private schools in the metroplex offer the best education in the metroplex. The teachers are great and the campuses are top notch.
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