What It Costs to Build A Leader
For parents considering sending their son to military school, there are many important factors: How often will we be able to see our son? How long will it take him to adapt to a military school environment? What is the student-to-teacher ratio? The last concern that these parents should have is cost. For many adolescent boys, military school provides the structure and support needed for the development of essential leadership, academic, and interpersonal skills. Parents who make the decision to send their son to military school should take comfort in knowing that the cost is more affordable than they may be anticipating, and that options are available to help make payments convenient. No parent should need to reconsider the opportunity to provide his/her son with an unparalleled academic experience, out of a concern for cost.
The average cost of military school ranges from $30,000 – $40,000 per year. This cost typically includes room, board, tuition, spending money, and all associated fees. In comparison, according to a recent report by The USA Today, the average middle-income family spends $10,610 per year raising a child at home. This cost includes feeding, housing, clothing, and entertaining a child, but it does not include the cost of providing a child with a top-tier education. For most middle-income families, the cost differential to provide their child with a structured education means an additional annual financial investment of $25,000 per year — a cost which some may not hesitate to invest in a car or a home improvement project. Parents should also consider that raising a child through the public education system often includes many additional financial investments that are encompassed in military school tuition.
Depending on the chosen school, military school tuition costs may include the following services that many parents in the public school system must seek out and pay for separately:
- Academic tutors
- Computer access
- College preparatory programs, and SAT/ACT study programs
- Medical care associated with acute illness
Parents who send their sons to a military school that requires a uniform are also able to offset the cost of recreational clothing — a cost that for some families can develop into an ever-increasing expense. In addition, some military schools prohibit the use of cell phones, another cost that many parents are finding to be a costly monthly expense.
Some families may also financially benefit from the availability of college credits for military school coursework. Some military schools provide college credits, or concurrent college courses, that graduates can transfer to undergraduate colleges and universities. Transferred credits mitigate the cost of tuition at the college level and represent an avoided cost that may not be realized for students that are not excelling academically in the public school system. Some military schools have also formed partnerships with local or regional colleges and universities that allow cadets to take college-accredited courses while still enrolled in military school. In some cases, those students are able to receive preferred admittance into the college or university, a full academic scholarship to continue their course work, and assistance with an initial job placement upon graduation. The ability to receive a full scholarship to a nationally ranked university, and a job placement upon graduation, provides cadets with a significant advantage over students who pay for four or more years of college tuition and are placed into the job pool upon graduation to seek entry-level employment with no assistance.
The Return on Investment
Parents concerned with the cost of military school should heavily consider the financially tangible, and intangible return on investment military school offers young men. A military school education typically provides lower student-to-teach ratios, a greater personal investment by school faculty and staff, and more focused attention to academic success. As a result, the great majority of students who attend military school see a significant increase in their grade point average after only one semester. This academic success positions students’ who apply for college to obtain academic-based scholarships and obtain financial aid that they would not otherwise have been eligible to receive had they continued underperforming academically in the public school system. Military school also provides young men with a meaningful experience that helps them to mature and develop socially and emotionally in addition to academically. For parents looking to advance their son’s future prospects, these tangible and intangible outcomes are the true returns on investment that make military school worthwhile.
Affording Military School
For parents who have decided that they want their son to benefit from the advantages of military school, academic financial aid exists in different forms to ensure that every interested young man has the ability to choose a military school education.
Scholarships & Admission Grants – Scholarships are available from most military schools, typically for returning students, with a limited number available for first year cadets. Scholarship aid is granted based on financial need. Awarded funds do not need to be repaid and are used to offset the total annual cost of tuition.
Tuition Loans – After a child is accepted into military school, parents may submit an application for a tuition loan. Admission specialists are typically available at military schools to help families through the tuition loan process. Many institutions that provide tuition loans offer fixed interest rates and flexible payment plans, with longer terms available for families that desire lower monthly payments. Most institutions allow for loans up to $40,000, and the funds can be used to offset the cost of tuition, room, board, and expenses such as activity fees, books, supplies, or computers.
Flexible Tuition Plans – Understanding the financial investment that parents make in a military school education for their children, many schools offer flexible tuition programs and will work with individual families to ensure that tuition costs can be managed without financial burden.
Parents that choose to send their children to military school should also plan to budget for the following ancillary costs when financially planning for their son’s future:
- Travel Costs – Parents should consider which school will offer their son the best academic and leadership development opportunities. This may mean sending their son to an out-of-state school, and so initial and ongoing travel costs, should be budgeted accordingly.
- School supplies – Similar to the needs of students attending public schools, general school supplies such as notebooks, folders, writing utensils, calculators, etc. should be budgeted.
- Participation fees – Many military schools offer activities and sports to help develop cadets’ social, creative, technical, and leadership schools. Parents should plan for the costs for fees associated with these activities.
For parents looking to enhance their son’s future prospects, and best position their son for success in future military, collegiate, and employment endeavors, the cost of military school should be considered as an investment in a young man’s future. When considering the cost to raise a child in a home environment and educate the child in the public school system, the incremental cost of military school, upon consideration of all factors, is more affordable than most initially presume. With the additional benefit of scholarship aid, tuition loans, and flexible payment plans, parents do not have to compromise on providing their son with an exceptional education and personal development opportunity.