Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Financing Your Teen’s Residential Therapy

With today’s economic situation, it is becoming more difficult for parents to secure finances to assist with the high fees of residential therapy.  Here is a list of some possible avenues.  Many banks have raised their standards for qualifications (requiring a higher FICO score) among other requests.  Some banks have literally stopped participating in Educational Loans. 

Financial Options


Have you recently discovered the high costs of Boarding Schools, Military Schools, Therapeutic Boarding Schools, Residential Treatment Centers, Wilderness Programs and other avenues of academic and emotional growth assistance?


For the average middle class family the fees can be staggering.  Even people of means can have sticker price shock at the tuition of these programs.  Due to the extensive costs of operating these specialty schools with the appropriate licenses, credentialed staff as well as certified educational accreditations, it is extremely expensive. 


The average cost of private Therapeutic Boarding Schools and Programs is about $4000.00 per month, usually all inclusive.  There is usually a processing fee that is separate from the tuition that can range from $1500.00 – $2500.00.  This fee usually includes insurances, administrative costs, and other various costs such as uniforms, haircuts, toilettes, field trips etc.  Other programs will have an additional fee for uniforms.  When choosing a program, be sure to ask specifically what is included and what extra fees can be expected.  If a private program is less than $3000.00 per month, please be sure to do your research. 


Many programs offer a discount if your full tuition is paid up front.  This is an individual decision, depending on your financial circumstances as well as your family’s needs.


Educational Loans:


Financing these programs can be available to you in a variety of ways.  The Educational Loan is one that is typically used by many families.  There is usually no application fee and allows the family to have a reasonable monthly fee within their financial means.  It is very similar to a college loan.  Key Bank, Sallie Mae, Chase Bank, Clark Custom Loans and PrepGate are the most common used lenders for Educational Loans. 


College Fund Option:


If a child has a college fund, it may be a good time to use it.  Although we expect our children to go to college, when the time comes and he/she is ready for that step, and you have exhausted your college fund, there are always grants and scholarships to a wide variety of colleges that you could apply for.  Getting your teen the help he needs to ensure he makes it to college is what you are concerned with at this time.


Individual Educational Plan (IEP):


Does your child have an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) through your local school district?  In some cases this may defer some of your tuition costs in respect to the academic component of a Boarding School or Program.  If you have an IEP in place for your child, it is important to ask the school or program you are considering if they work with IEP’s and discuss the reimbursement process.  For more information on IEP’s click here


Credit Line/Home Equity:


Another popular alternative to financing a program is a Home Equity Credit Line.  This can be beneficial to you in a few ways.  Not only is a convenient way to access money that is needed, it can also be a tax deduction in regards to the interest payments.  Please keep in mind, in some cases the program you are sending your child to can also be a tax deduction in regards to medical expenses.  Usually the therapeutic and medical portion of the tuition can be deducted.  Check with your Tax Preparer or Accountant for more information.


Credit Cards:


Credit Cards, although they usually have a high interest rate, may be able to provide you with the initial monies to enroll your child until you are able to access an Educational Loan, Credit Line, or other means of payment.  Many parents will use a Credit Card that accumulates Airline Miles or other beneficial services, and then pay the credit card off within the 28-30 days with their credit line or other financial means. This prevents you from being charged the finance charges.  It can be a way to earn airline travel that can help when it comes time to visit your child if they are out of state. 


Medical Insurance:


Contact your Medical Insurance Provider to see if they cover residential placement.  Some will cover the first 30 days or possibly the therapeutic portion of your child’s stay which is usually one third of the tuition.  PPO’s are typically more likely to cover some costs, however it never hurts to check with your insurance company.  In searching for programs, you may want to ask the program if they accept your insurance or have experience with how much you could expect from your specific insurance company.


Family, Church, or Employer:


Many families will borrow from relatives or in some cases; employers have been known to contribute to the family.  In some cases this could also be a tax deduction for a relative or employer.  Some churches will have specific funds to help families within their parish.  If you are a member of a church or other faith based organization, it can’t hurt to ask.



Don’t be afraid to ask the program if they have scholarships, some do have limited financial aid, so it is important to ask. 


My Blog on Financing  keeps up with new lenders as they become available.  Always remember your local United Way and see what resources they have available.