7 Amazing and Cheap Boarding Schools You Need to Consider

Many boarding schools today charge tuition of more than $50,000 a year, but that doesn't mean this type of education is out of the question if you can't swing those hefty payments. Some boarding schools have tuition rates that are half that or even lower. And, some schools with the highest tuition rates actually have ways in which they reduce the cost of attending for qualified families.

Between schools whose tuition rates are already low, and those that offer financial aid, scholarships, and income-driven tuitions, the options are endless. Some of the top boarding schools in the country have even passed initiatives that make quality education affordable for lower-income families; in some cases, attending boarding for free is even possible. Check out these schools which charge $25,000 or less for qualified boarding school students.

Bronte College of Canada, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Bronte College
Bronte College of Canada. Photo © Bronte College

Highest tuition cost: $19,800

Bronte College of Canada is located in suburban Mississauga, which actually makes it very convenient to Toronto's Pearson International Airport. The school is strictly college prep. It has a formal atmosphere with a uniform code, which is typical of most Canadian private schools. The college partners with the University of Guelph to offer college-level courses to some students.

  • School type: coeducational, boarding school
  • Grades: 9–12
  • Church Affiliation: nondenominational
  • Acceptance Rate: 84 percent
  • Enrollment: 400
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 1:18
  • Tuition: varies
    • Grades 9–11: $19,800
    • Grade 12: $16,500
    • Grade 12 express: $17,010
    • English language support: $2,950
    • Residence fees additional
    • Other fees may apply
  • Admissions deadline: rolling

Camden Military Academy, Camden, S.C.

Camden Military Academy
Camden Military Academy. Photo © Camden Military Academy

Highest tuition cost: $26,290

In line with most military schools, Camden Military Academy approaches the education of its students as more than just academics. It focuses on educating and developing the "whole man" as its philosophy states. This school has been around for more than 100 years. If you are looking for a military school for your son, CMA should be on your list.

  • School type: boys, boarding school
  • Grades: 7–12
  • Acceptance rate: 80 percent
  • Enrollment: 300
  • Church affiliation: nondenominational
  • Faculty-to-student ratio: 1:7
  • Tuition: $26,290 for full payment plan. Other payment plans are available for additional fees.
  • Admissions deadline: rolling

Milton Hershey School, Hershey, Pa.

Highest tuition cost: free

Milton Hershey School believes that any student should be able to afford a private school education and has dedicated its resources to do just that. In fact, income-eligible students who attend Milton Hershey pay no tuition. 

  • School type: coeducational, boarding school
  • Grades: pre-K–12
  • Acceptance Rate: unknown
  • Enrollment: 2,040
  • Church affiliation: nonsectarian
  • Faculty-to-student ratio: 1:11
  • Tuition: free
  • Admissions deadline: rolling, with August, September, January as primary enrollment months

New Mexico Military Institute, Roswell, N.M.

Cadets. VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm/Getty Images

Highest tuition cost: $22,858

New Mexico Military Institute offers a rigorous academic and military training designed to challenge and fully develop cadets to their fullest potential. Generous financial aid is available. The institute also has a two-year college program as well as solid preparation for potential nomination for the five service academies.

  • School type: coeducational, boarding school
  • Grades: 9–12
  • Church Affiliation: nondenominational
  • Acceptance Rate: 83 percent
  • Enrollment: 871
  • Faculty to Student Ratio 1:10
  • Tuition: varies
    • New Mexico residents: $13,688
    • Nonresidents (domestic): $19,854
    • Nonresidents (international): $22,858
  • Admissions deadline: rolling

Oakdale Christian Academy, Jackson, Ky.

Oakdale Christian Academy. Photo © Oakdale Christian Academy

Highest tuition cost: $27,825

Oakdale Christian Academy was founded in 1921. It is a small residential school offering a Christ-centered preparation for college-level work and life. The school is affiliated with Central Christian College, allowing students to take dual-credit courses.

  • School type: coeducational, boarding school
  • Grades: 7–12
  • Acceptance rate: 75 percent
  • Enrollment: 57
  • Church Affiliation: Free Methodist
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 1:5
  • Tuition: varies
    • Day students: $6,649
    • U.S. boarding students: $20,575
    •  International boarding students: $27,825
  • Admissions deadline: rolling

Philips Exeter Academy, Exeter, N.H.

Phillips Academy Exeter
Phillips Academy Exeter. Photo © etnobofin

Highest tuition cost: $55,402 (for full pay boarding students), free (for qualified families)

Philips Exeter Academy appears on this list for offering one of the cheapest boarding school experiences for qualified families. Since 2007, the school has offered free education to any accepted or current student whose family income is $75,000 or less. This means that a vast majority of middle-income families qualify to send their children to one of the best boarding schools in the country, for free. 

  • School type: coeducational, boarding school
  • Grades: 9–12
  • Acceptance Rate: 11 percent
  • Enrollment: 1,081
  • Church Affiliation: nondenominational
  • Faculty-to-student ratio: 1:7
  • Tuition: varies
    • Qualified families with income less than $75,000: free
    • Day students: $43,272
    • Boarding students: $55,402
  • Admissions deadline: Jan. 15

Subiaco Academy, Subiaco, Ariz.

Subiaco Academy
Subiaco Academy. Photo © Subiaco Academy

Highest tuition cost: $35,000 (international); $28,000 (domestic)

Subiaco Academy is a Catholic boys' college prep school in the Benedictine tradition. It has a two-year college as part of the campus, which offeres a nice transition for many students into the college-level work of a university. Extracurricular activities, sports, and residential life combine to create a well-rounded experience for students.

  • School type: boys, boarding school
  • Grades: 7–12
  • Acceptance Rate: 85 percent
  • Enrollment: 150
  • Church affiliation: Catholic
  • Faculty-to-student ratio: 1:9
  • Tuition: varies
    • Full-time residential students: $28,000
    • Five-day residential students: $24,000
    • International residential students: $35,000
    • Day Students: $8,500
  • Admissions deadline: rolling

Points to Consider

It's important to bear in mind that tuition may not be the only expenses incurred at boarding school. Travel costs to and from school, school supplies, and added fees should be taken into consideration. In fact, a school that has a lower base tuition rate may not actually be less expensive than a school that charges higher base tuition but offers financial aid. These are issues you need to think about when choosing a school.

Article edited by Stacy Jagodowski

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Kennedy, Robert. "7 Amazing and Cheap Boarding Schools You Need to Consider." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/cheapest-boarding-schools-2774741. Kennedy, Robert. (2020, August 26). 7 Amazing and Cheap Boarding Schools You Need to Consider. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/cheapest-boarding-schools-2774741 Kennedy, Robert. "7 Amazing and Cheap Boarding Schools You Need to Consider." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/cheapest-boarding-schools-2774741 (accessed June 2, 2023).