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Student Loans

Student Loans for Private High School

At least 1.36 million U.S. students received a private secondary education in 2022. On average, private high school tuition costs $12,748 per year, although these costs vary widely depending on the school. 

Unlike student loans for college, families don’t have access to federal financial aid. However, parents have other financing choices for private high school student loans, including education and personal loans. Here’s a closer look at your options.

Options for private high school student loans

Several options are available if you want to take out student loans for private high schools. An education loan is a go-to option to fund secondary education, often offering the most competitive terms. However, you must meet specific eligibility requirements to qualify.

A personal loan may be the next-best alternative if your family can’t secure an education loan. They tend to have higher interest rates, but many personal loan lenders are more flexible regarding eligibility and repayment plans.

Depending on your financial situation and credit score, private school financial aid, grants, or scholarships may also be available to reduce further or eliminate education expenses. We recommend exploring these options first before taking on a loan for education expenses.

Funding sourceLoan amounts
Your Tuition Solution$1,000 – $50,000
Republic FinanceUnspecified
LightStream$5,000 – $100,000
Upgrade$1,000 – $50,000
SoFi$5,000 – $100,000

Education loans

Education loans, also known as K-12 or pre-K-12 tuition loans, can help you pay for a child’s early education costs. These often have simple applications and reasonable interest rates. 

Most lenders agree to finance up to the total tuition costs of the chosen private school. The institution gets the approved private school tuition fee from the lender.

Many online lenders offer education loans, and so do many credit unions, so you may want to check credit unions in your area. While somewhat less common than personal loans, you still find many lenders that offer education loans.

Your Tuition Solution

  • Flexible payment plans with terms ranging from 24 – 48 months
  • Competitive interest rates, with APR starting at 3.99%
  • Loan amounts ranging from $1,000 – $50,000

Your Tuition Solution has education loan options for just about anyone. It offers loans from $1,000 to $50,000 and two to seven years repayment terms. Longer terms let you keep payments low, and with a potentially low APR, you won’t spend too much on interest.

However, this assumes you’re on the low end of the APR range. Rates can exceed 30% with this lender, so checking your credit score in advance is important. The lender also lets borrowers prequalify to give you a better idea of your rates and terms.

Republic Finance

  • Offers secured and unsecured education loans
  • Same-day funding is available
  • Physical branches available in some regions

Republic Finance offers a simple option for getting an education loan. You can prequalify in just a few minutes, and then a representative will contact you to discuss your options. Loan terms generally range from 12 to 60 months.

The lender offers same-day funding if you close a loan at one of its branches. For online applications, the funding speed is 1-2 business days. The lender doesn’t give precise estimates of APRs but says they won’t exceed 35.99%. The exact APR will vary based on your credit state of residence.

Personal loans

Personal loans are another option for families financing a private school education. For borrowers with excellent credit, the interest rates may be higher than those on education loans. 

However, you’ll have more personal loan lenders to choose from. Check out our guide to the best personal loans for more information on finding the right loan.

LenderLoan amounts
LightStream$5,000 – $100,000
Upgrade$1,000 – $50,000
SoFi$5,000 – $100,000

LightStream: Best for excellent credit

LendEDU rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • No restrictions on how you can use the money, so you can use it for private education and other purposes, if necessary
  • Competitive interest rates compared to other personal loan lenders
  • No origination fees or prepayment penalties

LightStream is our top choice among personal loan providers thanks to its competitive interest rates, a wide range of funding amounts, and minimal fees. You can use the money you receive for almost anything, so you aren’t limited to using it for private education.

With LightStream’s Rate Beat program, you can get an unsecured personal loan for 0.10% less than competitors’ offers. Keep in mind that LightStream exclusively works with borrowers with excellent credit.

Upgrade: Best for fair credit

LendEDU rating: 4.9 out of 5

  • Works with borrowers with a wider range of credit scores, including fair credit
  • Lets you choose from different loan offers with varying monthly payments
  • Loans of $1,000 to $50,000 with repayment terms of 24 – 84 months

Upgrade personal loans are a strong option when paying for private education, especially if you have fair credit. The lender is willing to work with borrowers with various credit profiles, including fair credit. You can get a personal loan of up to $50,000 and terms from 24 to 48 months.

Upgrade also offers several rate discounts, including a discount autopay and using personal assets as collateral. Rates on these loans are fixed so that they won’t change for the life of the loan. You can use the money for various other purposes, including debt consolidation and home improvement.

SoFi: Best for good credit

LendEDU rating: 5 out of 5

  • Competitive rates, especially if you have good credit
  • No origination fees, late fees, or prepayment penalties
  • Loans up to $100,000 and terms of 2-7 years

If you have good credit, SoFi can be an excellent option to pay for a private high school. Since there are minimal fees to pay aside from interest, SoFi personal loans can be among the cheapest options available. Loan amounts are from $5,000 to $100,000 with repayment terms of 2-7 years. 

Like many personal loan lenders, SoFi doesn’t set strict limits on how you can use the funds. You can use them to pay for various education costs or other purposes, like home improvement or travel. However, SoFi doesn’t allow you to use its loans to pay for post-secondary education.

Alternatives to student loans for private high school

If your family can’t afford private school tuition out-of-pocket, you may be eligible for alternative funding options. 

Consider those listed below before taking out education or personal loans, as several don’t require repayment.

AlternativeBest for
State-funded vouchersSpecialized educational environments
School financial aidLow- to moderate-income families
Tuition payment plansFamilies with limited access to savings or loans
ScholarshipsStudents with strong academics or specific backgrounds/skills
Coverdell Education Savings AccountFamilies with low to moderate incomes
529 plansFamilies that want flexibility in education expenses
Roth IRAThose who work in a financial profession 
Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) or Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) accountsFamilies who do not want to be locked in with an account that can only be used for education expenses (such as 529 account, Coverdell savings account)
Tax creditsFamilies paying tuition out of pocket

State-funded vouchers

While the federal government doesn’t provide federal student loans for private high schools, several states offer funding to help families afford private education. 

Qualified students in 14 states and the District of Columbia may use these government vouchers. Voucher eligibility varies from state to state, but families must often meet specific income requirements or have a child with special needs.

Follow the links below to find out more about each state’s program:

School financial aid

Many private schools will provide financial aid if your family can’t cover the total cost of tuition. Eligibility varies depending on the school, so it’s important to research available options at the school you’re considering. 

Tuition payment plans

Schools often offer payment plans, allowing families to spread tuition costs over several months. These can include monthly payments, extended payment options, and even interest-free plans that make affording private schools more manageable. 


Special scholarships and grants are available to help students cover education costs. These are often merit-based awards, based on skill or ability, that can be applied to the cost of tuition or fees. 

Local businesses, churches, community organizations, and other associations raise money for scholarships each year. By applying for scholarships, your student could earn money toward their private high school tuition.

Coverdell Education Savings Account

You can plan for private K-12 school costs by saving in a Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA). Contributions aren’t tax-exempt, but disbursements are tax-free as long as they don’t exceed your child’s eligible education expenses when it comes time to pay for school. 

Qualified education expenses include tuition, fees, books, computer technology, tutoring, and special needs services. 

529 plans

A 529 plan is another tax-advantaged education savings vehicle to help families save for future educational expenses. Borrowers can use these plans for private high school tuition or college-level programs. However, a withdrawal limit of $10,000 per year per student applies to private high school tuition and earlier education.

529 plans have higher contribution limits and less strict eligibility requirements than Coverdell ESAs. You won’t pay federal income tax on withdrawals for qualified education expenses, and several states offer additional tax benefits on contributions and withdrawals.  

Roth IRA

A Roth IRA can be a versatile tool for funding private high school education due to its favorable withdrawal rules. Contributions to a Roth IRA are made with after-tax dollars, meaning the money can be withdrawn tax-free and penalty-free at any time. This feature particularly benefits parents planning ahead for their child’s education expenses. 

Additionally, earnings can be withdrawn without penalties if the account has been open for at least five years and the withdrawals are used for qualified educational expenses, including tuition for private high schools. 

Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) or Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts

Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) and Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts provide a way to give minors assets without needing a trust. These custodial accounts are used to hold and protect assets for minors until they reach the age of majority in their state, which is typically 18 or 21. 

Parents and other family members can use UGMA and UTMA accounts to save for private high school expenses by investing in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other securities. The earnings from these investments can grow tax-free or tax-deferred, depending on the type of investment and the child’s total income. 

However, it’s important to note that the minor will gain control of the account upon reaching adulthood, which could impact their eligibility for financial aid since these assets are considered the child’s property.

Tax credits

You can’t deduct private school tuition on your federal tax return. Still, you can take deductions or credits on state returns depending on the 529 plan and whether it’s state-sponsored.

Below are several states with a participating state 529 plan that allows credits or deductions. This list is not inclusive, so check with your state’s offerings.

  • Alabama
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Wisconsin

Talk to a tax professional to understand how to take advantage of these savings.

Talk to your private school about other available financial assistance options. They may be able to help you cover the cost of tuition without taking out a loan or depleting your savings. 

Does taking out loans for high school affect eligibility for college student loans?

Erin Kinkade


Debt-to-income ratio and credit score would impact the application for college student loans if a parent takes out a loan to pay for private high school. In addition, a parent can use up to $10,000 from a 529 plan for qualified education expenses for their child. This will impact the amount available for college expenses resulting in a larger amount needed in financial aid/loans. The amount needed to borrow could impact the student or the parent with an increased loan amount, resulting in more debt.

How to decide between loans

When you get prequalified for multiple loans, weigh each option’s benefits and drawbacks. Different lenders likely have varying terms, so comparing interest rates, fees, and terms is helpful.

Consider the following:

  • Interest rate: Your interest rate will often depend on your creditworthiness and loan term, how many months you’ll spend paying off the loan. Shorter loan terms tend to offer lower interest rates.
  • Fees and penalties: Some lenders charge an origination fee when you get a loan, often at a percentage of the loan total. This can cost you hundreds of dollars, so you must know the fees upfront. You’ll also want to find out if you’re penalized for paying off your loan faster than the original loan term.
  • Secured vs. unsecured: Secured loans require using an asset as collateral, such as your house, which the lender can seize if you default on your payments. Unsecured loans don’t require collateral but depend more heavily on your credit score and history for approval.

How to apply for loans for private high school

If you’ve decided getting student loans for private high school makes sense for your family, it’s time to shop around. Research multiple lenders for the best terms and competitive interest rates when searching for loans. 

Most lenders require prequalification so that you can see the rates and terms available based on your credit score and other factors. Prequalification is often a “soft” credit check, which won’t affect your credit score. 

Favorable terms and interest rates can save you significant money over the life of the loan, so it’s worth the time it takes to explore your options. This includes considering education loans and private loans. 

When to apply

When to apply depends on how much time the lender needs to review your application and finalize loan approval. Most lenders will approve you within a few days (some in a matter of seconds). However, researching and applying well in advance will help you avoid rushing at the last minute.

Here’s how the process might look:

  • Research options: Before applying, you must research your options and understand the terms and requirements for each. It’s a good idea to start this 6+ months before the start of the school year.
  • Start applying: Once you understand your loan options and alternatives like financial aid you might receive, it’s time to start applying. Aim to do this several months before the school year starts.
  • Finalize loans: Try to finalize your loans 2-3 months before the start of the school year (if not sooner). This will help ensure you have everything you need before school starts.

These are general guidelines, but there isn’t a “right” time to apply for personal loans for private high schools. The sooner you apply, the better.

What you need to apply

Most private loan lenders require borrowers to be 18 years old, have enough income to support loan repayment and possess a credit history that meets its criteria. 

It’s best to have a good or excellent credit score to get the lowest interest rates.

Plan to provide the following documentation:

  • Identification, such as a driver’s license or passport
  • Personal contact information, including address and email
  • Proof of citizenship or resident alien status
  • Proof of income, such as a pay stub
  • Proof of assets (i.e., house or investments) for secured loans
  • Information about the purpose of your loan (such as a school tuition statement)

Private high schools can put a dent in your wallet. Many lenders offer student loan options for parents to pay for private high school tuition and fees. 

These loans provide families with an opportunity to afford a quality education.