The cost of tuition is the first thing most people associate with private schools. Many who want their children in such schools shy away from even a preliminary inquiry because they cannot afford the price tag.

However, as with private universities, help is available to those who seek it.

“If people have a talented child and find a good match, the school will find a way for the child to be there,” says Roger Perry, headmaster of Lakehill School.

“Virtually every private school has scholarships,” he says. “Schools accredited by ISAS tend to have 20 percent of the student body on financial aid at some level. It may be $100, it maybe $5,000, but that percentage is pretty much a general rule of thumb.”

Ernest Castillo, who enrolled his 5-year-old son, Erik, in kindergarten at St. Thomas Aquinas School last fall, says not all his son’t classmates come from families that can afford the school.

“There is financial aid available there, we were assured,” Castillo says. “We looked around the school, and it’s not just a bunch of kids who can afford to go there. They have all walks of life, and some are there on tuition help.”

Financing is also available through banks.

Gail Grigsby, banking center manager at Guaranty Federal Bank, F.S.B. in Casa Linda, says loans for school tuition are common and available.

“We work with USA Funds for educational loans,” Grigsby says. “These are deferred payment loans. Depending on the application, the lending company decides on how the loan will be paid out. These loans have reasonable rates, in the 13 percent range.”

“Even better rates are available when you borrow against your certificates of deposit. We just charge two percent over the CD rate, and these are flexible loans. You can pay them out monthly or quarterly.”