For many parents, an independent school education is a sacrifice, though one that can provide enormous benefits and be an important investment in a child’s future.

Independent schools have a proven track record of producing successful and well-rounded graduates, while offering students a nurturing community and extraordinary classroom instruction.

Independent schools are generally funded only in part by tuition, as tuition alone does not cover the total cost of an independent school education. Additional expenses may include uniforms, meals, books and supplies, trips, and other fees for clubs, sports, and transportation. Evaluating the true cost of a year of education is critical to families’ financial planning.

Financial Aid

AISGW member schools provided more than $140 million in need-based financial aid to 7,896 students in 2017-2018. On average, need-based aid accounted for 13.6% of the schools’ gross tuition. In addition to need-based financial aid, AISGW member schools also awarded more than $11 million in merit scholarships in 2015-2016.  For parents wishing to learn more about financial aid options, we recommend that you contact schools directly. To find a school, please search the directory of Our Schools.

Additional Support

In addition to direct financing from schools, a number of outside organizations provide financial aid and scholarship funding to students attending independent schools in the national capital region. The list below provides information on some of these groups:

A Better Chance

A Better Chance provides scholarships for academically talented students of color to attend independent private schools. The program helps place approximately 500 scholars annually in participating independent schools.

Archdiocese of Washington

The Archdiocese offers financial assistance to students applying to Catholic schools that are part of the Archdiocese—which includes Washington, D.C. and the Maryland counties of Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s, Montgomery and Prince George’s.

Black Student Fund

The Black Student Fund has provided financial aid and other support services to low- and moderate-income African-American students from the national capital region since 1964. Many of AISGW’s 75 member schools participate in the program.

Emerging Scholars

Emerging Scholars provides an academic and social enrichment program for a diverse group of high-potential 4th grade students who, without financial assistance, could not consider an independent school education.

The FitzGerald Program

The FitzGerald Program provides financial assistance to both Catholic and non-Catholic students applying for admission to Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of Washington (see above for more details).

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Young Scholars Program

The Jack Kente Cooke Foundation annually selects high-achieving students with demonstrated financial need to receive scholarship and educational assistance. Students apply for the program in 7th grade and enter the program in 8th grade.

Latino Student Fund

The Latino Student Fund provides financial-aid grants and mentoring support to Latino students wishing to attend Washington, D.C.-area independent schools. Many of AISGW’s 75 member schools participate in the program. creates resources to support academically-talented middle and high school students of color at DC-area independent schools on issues of transportation, tutoring, transition and touchpoints.