Public schools are free, democratic institutions supported by taxpayers; private schools are enterprises that charge tuition or fees that parents pay for their children's care and instruction.
Tuition at some of the world's finest private schools can be impressive, such as the $54,000 per year that parents currently pay at the venerable Eton (the King's College of Our Lady of Eton beside Windsor), in Berkshire, England. In the United States, the renowned Andover (the Philips Academy Andover) currently charges $37,000 per student. Often, many talented students who wish to attend such prestigious private schools but who lack sufficient funds must earn scholarships, or grants of money from charitable foundations, the federal government, etc. A scholarship can pay part or all of a private school's tuition and/or boarding fees, depending on the amount awarded.
Numerous private-school scholarships are available to kids nationwide, with much of the money generously provided by the schools themselves. For instance, schools belonging to the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), a Washington, D.C., based association of 1,300 independent schools, awarded some $960 million in financial aid to deserving students.
Scholarships are often designed to increase the private-school enrollment of minority students, who have been traditionally underrepresented in such schools. If you are excited by the idea of encountering as many ethnicities and cultures as possible in your classroom, you might be more attracted to public schools than to private schools. As a general rule, public schools attract a somewhat more diverse clientele than private.
The Black Student Fund (BSF), established in 1964 in Washington, D.C., is a scholarship program specifically addressing the needs of minority youth. According to the BSF's website (
According to the website of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) (