Finding financial assistance (FA) for your K-12 student’s education can be a challenge. Many of our profoundly gifted and twice-exceptional families look to supplement public school with afterschool enrichment, academic summer opportunities, subject-based competitions, or attend a specialized school. Sadly, many of these options are not free. FA is typically thought of in terms of scholarships and grants for an undergraduate degree. However, there are some options available to families that our team has been able to share with our community.
The Davidson Institute’s mission to recognize and support out nation’s bright youth has led to the development of two financial support options for this unique community. The Fellows Scholarship, a prestigious award for high-achieving students under 18, is one option that families can apply towards K-12 education. Also, there is limited financial assistance offered for qualifying families and expenses through the Young Scholars program.
Families will likely find that they can’t cover all of their tuition and expenses with just one FA source. Parents often use a patch-work approach using multiple sources of FA to meet the needs of their highly gifted and twice-exceptional students. We hope the resources below help your family create an FA strategy that works for you.
Need- and Merit-Based Assistance from Programs and Schools
A majority of FA available for K-12 education comes directly from the schools and programs themselves. While most offer need-based assistance, some also offer merit-based support. Many parents may fall into two traps: They believe either they could never afford the program, or they make too much to be eligible for FA. Whatever category you fall into, we encourage you to still apply! As you consider a program, reach out to their FA staff with questions, do your research on their process, and provide supplemental information to the school about your situation and why you are seeking assistance. Such information can give schools additional insight into your family and situation beyond what standard forms provide. Parents may also find this list of Financial Aid Dos and Don’ts from Private School Review helpful when reaching out to a school or filling out a FA application.
Davidson’s Online Program Comparison charts also list which programs advertise FA options:
- Online Math Program Comparison
- Online Language Arts Program Comparison
- Online Science Program Comparison
- Online Foreign Language Program Comparison
- Online Social Science/Humanities Program Comparison
- Online Coding Program Comparison
Three of the biggest scholarship organizations for K-12 students are:
- Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship, a merit-based scholarship for high school tuition. Applications are due during a student’s 7th grade year.
- Jack Kent Cooke’s Young Scholars Program, a need-based scholarship for high school tuition. Applications are due during a student’s 7th grade year.
- The Children’s Scholarship Fund, a need based-scholarship with funds for K-8 tuition.
There are also several lists of under 18 scholarships available to students that parents and students can search to find an option that is right for them. Some, but not all, offer funds that can be used for K-12 education.
- Lists of Scholarships for Teens by Davidson Institute
- Scholarships for Children Under Age 13 by FinAid
- Community Service Scholarships, Grants, and Other Opportunities by Davidson Institute
Vouchers, State Grant Programs, and Gifted Associations’ Scholarships
Traditional voucher programs are state-funded scholarships for students to attend private schools. State guidelines on eligibility varies, but often include students with disabilities and low-income students. Check out this Interactive Guide to School Choice Laws to learn if your state offers vouchers. In addition to vouchers, some state programs and state gifted associations have grants and scholarships. Visit your state’s Department of Education and Gifted Association’s websites, and explore these articles for more options to consider:
- Children’s Scholarship Fund’s list of Individual State Programs
- List of Scholarships for Younger Students (by state)
Loans for K-12 Education
Families can consider education loans and discuss these options with their financial adviser. This list of Private High School Loans includes lenders like Sallie Mae that families can browse to get started.
We hope this list of FA resources can help you and your gifted student find the options that are right for you!