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Private vs. Public High Schools in the United States

October 30, 2012

If you want to attend high school in the United States on an F-1 visa, choosing the right school is important. The United States has a wide variety of high schools and secondary education opportunities from which to choose. Before you approach the details of location, tuition costs, and size, you should first decide whether you want to attend a public high school or a private high school. The difference can be important for your long term educational goals.

Whether you choose a public high school or a private high school, you must pay tuition. The cost of attending a public or private high school can vary significantly. In the United States, area citizens fund public high schools with local and state resources. They are generally less expensive than private high schools. As an F-1 student, federal law requires you to pay the full, unsubsidized per capita cost of attending the public school for the period of your attendance. Families of enrolled students mostly fund private high schools. If you choose to attend a private high school, you will pay the tuition rate required for all students who attend that school. Because private schools have private funding, they tend to have many more financial aid options or scholarships available for their students.

As an F-1 student, you may attend a public high school for up to 12 months, so public high school might be right for you if you are planning to study in the United States for a limited time. Many students choose to attend a public high school for one year and then transfer to the next level of education, such as a community college or four year college.

Unlike at public schools, F-1 nonimmigrant students can attend elementary through high school at a private school. Additionally, private high schools offer a large variety of educational options depending on different teaching philosophies and a number of focus areas, such as theater or music. By comparison, public schools traditionally teach a curriculum that meets the standards and requirements set by the local and state government.

Both public and private high schools are excellent opportunities to start your educational aspirations in the United States. Both come in a variety of sizes and are available across the country. Depending on your individual needs and desires, you can find a school that can make your academic dreams a reality. You can make sure your school of choice is Student and Exchange Visitor Program-certified at our school search page.

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