Financial aid for high school is often more difficult to obtain than financial aid for college, but some resources do exist. Most types of financial aid for high school are available for financially needy private school students, in order to cover the cost of tuition, boarding, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Some public schools may have financial aid available for specific out-of-pocket expenses, such as sports or band uniforms and required books. Non-institutional organizations, such as scholarship competitions, can also be useful ways to find financial aid for high school.
In many regions, private schools are not fully funded by the government and require students to pay tuition. Private schools may offer resources to students that public schools do not, such as religious education, college preparatory programs, and a prestigious reputation. Unfortunately, these resources can carry heavy price tags, some of which may include boarding, meals, and required materials. To defray these costs, some private high schools offer a variety of loan and scholarship programs based on need, athletic ability, or academic merit. These financial aid programs are often highly competitive, and may only be offered to a few students each year. Most private schools have a financial aid office that will provide information about any available in-school resources.
In some cases, financial aid for high school at a private institution may also be given through tax deductions or vouchers. Deductions allow families to apply the amount of tuition, or a set portion of tuition, toward reducing their tax burden. School vouchers are issued by the government, and allow parents to exchange the vouchers for tuition requirements at local private schools. Not all areas offer tuition deductions or vouchers for private education, but it can be a good source of financial aid for high school in qualifying regions.
Public schools rarely offer extensive financial aid programs, since there is no tuition and most required texts are provided. Often, schools operate on an as-needed basis, using parent organizations such as booster groups to provide assistance to students who do not have the money to take part in certain organizations or activities that require extra expenses. Some programs, such as free or reduced-cost meals, may be available to students based on household financial need, and can help defray the extra costs associated with the school day.
Outside sources of financial aid for high school include scholarship competitions. These are contests that may be focused on promoting learning or recognizing student excellence, and are often sponsored by non-profit organizations. To win a scholarship competition, a student may have to write an essay, complete a volunteer project, invent a new product, or even start a business. These competitions are typically meant to provide money for college, but some contests allow students to use money for high school private school tuition or other needs as well. There are many Internet databases that can help match up students with a wide variety of competitions.