Should You Take Out Student Loans For Your Kindergartner?

How much is your child's education worth? Most parents would agree that it's hard to put a price on it...but if you're deciding between public and private school, there's a huge price tag to be considered. Recent reports show that the number of loans for K-12 students to attend private schools are rising. Is taking on such debt for your young child's education worth it?

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private vs. public school pros and cons

Public Vs. Private

To answer the question posed in the opening paragraph, you of course have to think about the differences between a private school education and a public school education.

Of course some private schools will boast smaller classes, better teachers and a more open curriculum. But some private school classes are no smaller than those you'd find in some public schools, and might even be larger. And a private school does not automatically mean a higher quality education; private schools can have their fair share of mediocre educators just as public schools can employ teachers who excel at their jobs.

In some cases, the public schools might be better in areas where the houses and cost of living are more expensive. Is it worth it to live in a more expensive area and pay a higher mortgage and tax rate to send your child to a good public school, or would it make more sense to live wherever you want and pay tuition for a private school?

Something else to think about: will your child perform better academically in a private school as compared to a public school? Some say that parents who wish to send their children to a private school could save money by waiting to until their children are in high school, but the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988-2000 showed that students attending public urban high schools were generally no better or worse off academically than private high school students.

A Personal Matter

Ultimately, it's up to you whether to take on massive debt to put your child through school. If you live in an area where the public school system is lacking and you have the means to send your child to a reputable private school, then the choice is apparent. Or if you prefer the curriculum choices a private school can offer, such as the teaching of religion, then perhaps the financial aspect is of less concern to you.

But realize that if your child later decides to go to college you'll be facing even more debt, particularly if he or she selects a private institution. In some cases, attending a private four-year college can cost twice as much as attending a public one.

When it comes to paying for your child's K-12 education, do your homework. Take a long, hard look at the public school system: the quality of the teachers, the size of the classes and the curriculum. Compare this to what you will get in a private setting. In many cases, you might be surprised by what you find. And it might be a discovery that could save you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.

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