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How Much Does an Independent Education Cost?

Fees vary widely between independent schools. 

Schools are sensitive to the sacrifices many parents make in order to afford school fees. You’ll find that families use a variety of methods to pay for an independent school education. Some pay in one lump sum or use direct debit to spread the cost throughout the year; others have grandparents or other family members contributing directly. 

The School Guide for Edinburgh and the Lothians has published a useful article on the type of extras worth budgeting for on top of fees. 

How do I find out about fee assistance? 

All schools offer some level of fee assistance too which is usually awarded on the basis of financial need. In 2022/23, over 500 children received a free place, and more than one in four children received financial help with their fees (usually 20% and upwards). Financial assistance is generally awarded from P7 through Senior School.

To receive assistance with fees your child simply has to meet the normal entry requirements. They don’t have to be of an academic standard required to win a scholarship.

When should I apply for fee assistance?

You need to enquire about fee assistance about a year before you hope to enrol in the school. Schools will want to know about all your financial circumstances, not just your take-home pay so be prepared to fill in detailed forms providing evidence of need.  In order to qualify for financial assistance total gross household income must not exceed the qualifying limit.

Please ask the school of your choice about the financial options they have available.

What happens if I can’t meet the fees?

Should your family circumstances change leaving you unable to meet your financial commitment to school fees the best course of action is to speak to the School Bursar. The Bursar is responsible for the financial management and business affairs of the school and they will be best placed to explain the fee assistance and help on offer.

How often do school fees go up?

Fees are usually increased annually but schools work very hard to keep increases to a minimum.

Educational Grants & Charitable Trusts

There are a number of  Educational and Charitable Trusts that will consider providing fee assistance. The Educational Grants Advice Service offers information and advice on finding fee assistance.  

For boarding enquiries visit: Springboard Bursary Foundation and Buttle UK

Top Tips for Applying for a Bursary or Scholarship

  • Enquire about fee assistance about a year before you hope to enrol in the school.
  • Let the schools know as soon as possible that you are interested in financial assistance.
  • Most schools will have a deadline for applying for fee assistance so make sure you don’t miss it.
  • Make sure you leave plenty of time to complete the application and sort out any accompanying documents you may need to prove your income.

Find a school that's right for your child today.

The independent school fee assistance application process in Scotland