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 graduates who are well-rounded and successful, while offering current students the support of a nurturing community and the benefits of extraordinary classroom instruction.

Independent schools are generally funded only in part by the tuition they collect from families of enrolled students. Tuition alone does not cover the total cost of an independent school education. Additional expenses include uniforms; meal plans; books; supplies; trips; and other fees such as for clubs, sports, and transportation. Therefore evaluating the true cost of a year of education is critical to families’ financial planning.

Financial Aid

The Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington’s 78 schools serve many different students in many different ways with many different educational philosophies. That is a great strength of the independent private school community in the Washington, D.C. region.

The locations of our member schools are as diverse as the student bodies that they serve. Whether rural, suburban, or urban, our schools offer financial aid on a case-by-case basis. Some AISGW schools are solely dedicated to serving aid-dependent students and only charge families a modest monthly fee.

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 percent 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, AISGW recommends contacting 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 is an organization provides scholarships for academically talented students of color to attend independent private schools. The program helps place about 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

Since 1964, 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.  Many of AISGW’s 75 member schools participate in the program.

Emerging Scholars

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

The FitzGerald Program

The FitzGerald Program is a 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 during their 7th-grade year and enter the program during their 8th-grade year.

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.

Project Match

Project Match helps students of color navigate the application and financial aid process for boarding schools. creates resources to support academically-talented middle and high school student of color at DMV-based independent schools on issues of Transportation, Tutoring, Transition and Touchpoints.