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Choosing your child’s educational path can be a difficult decision further complicated by many options—from homeschooling, to online education, to public vs. charter schools, to private and independent schools.

Parents and caregivers must carefully consider their student’s individual needs and their goals for their child, and then balance those against their family’s time and resources.

As you weigh your options on where to enroll your child, use this guide to help you recognize when it’s worth considering private education. At Rowland Hall, a leading Utah independent private school, our friendly Admission Team can help answer any questions you may have as you consider your student’s future. To learn more about Utah’s leading independent private school, Rowland Hall, browse our website.

When Your Child Needs Academic Rigor and Accelerated Learning

Gifted and talented students may struggle in school if they aren’t academically challenged. An advantage of private school is that—due to small classes and the flexibility to teach the most meaningful, relevant curriculum possible—your child will be held to high academic standards, and consistently encouraged to take risks and strive for improvement.

Private education at an independent school is more comprehensive and holistic, catered toward caring for the whole child. Where public schools offer electives, private schools may require those electives as prerequisites for graduation, giving your child a more well-rounded school experience that includes arts, music, ethics, and community service.

According to a report by Gallup and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), “NAIS graduates scored higher on the ACT and SAT, on average, and were more engaged as seniors in high school” than graduates from public and non-NAIS private high schools.

Higher academic rigor and a curriculum that promotes applied learning often produce better results. According to a report by Gallup and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)—of which Rowland Hall is a member—“NAIS graduates scored higher on the ACT and SAT, on average, and were more engaged as seniors in high school” than graduates from public and non-NAIS private high schools.

Rowland Hall sets the standard for teaching and learning excellence. Our teachers receive constant training and support to stay abreast of best practices and maximize outcomes for students. Our students, in turn, receive a strong knowledge base in math, science, world languages, English, and history. They’re offered electives in choral and instrumental music, theatre, dance, visual media, debate, physical fitness, and competitive sports. Plus, Rowland Hall students have unique access to experiential, hands-on, and inventive courses that include field studies and class trips.

As your student progresses, Rowland Hall’s Upper School offers over 20 advanced and honors courses to challenge and engage our high-performing students. 

When Your Child Needs a Lower Student-to-Teacher Ratio

At Rowland Hall, the student-to-teacher ratio is 10:1. 

Why is this important?

A lower student-to-teacher ratio allows more interaction and encourages your child to increase their participation level. Teachers will truly know your child, celebrate their individuality, and provide guidance, instruction, and feedback that’s appropriate for their learning style.

In public schools with large student-to-teacher ratios, educators may need to teach to the middle of the class, potentially neglecting students at the upper or lower end of the academic spectrum. Students who have different learning styles and would benefit from more personalized attention may fall through the cracks.

When College Is Your Goal

NAIS graduates progress through college more consistently—and are more likely to seek out key undergraduate opportunities associated with positive long-term outcomes—than public and non-NAIS private high school graduates.—NAIS-Gallup report

Rowland Hall offers a college-preparatory program that has helped thousands of students attend and excel at institutions for higher education. According to the NAIS-Gallup report, the college matriculation rate is nearly 100% for students who attend NAIS schools. Plus, "NAIS graduates progress through college more consistently—and are more likely to seek out key undergraduate opportunities associated with positive long-term outcomes—than public and non-NAIS private high school graduates."

In our Upper School, your student will work closely with our college counselors to find and gain admission to the institution that best fits their academic interests, career goals, and financial considerations. In a typical year, our seniors earn admission to over 100 colleges and universities across the world, and perhaps more importantly, about three-quarters of them receive at least one merit scholarship.

When You Want Your Personal Values to Align with the School’s Mission

At private and independent schools, there is an emphasis on values, ethics, and community service. Many of these schools hold students to high ethical standards, and teachers and coaches weave relevant life lessons into classes and extracurriculars alike. When compassion and empathy are part of a school’s culture, young learners are less distracted by disciplinary problems. Students who have experienced bullying or social anxiety in public schools often find the inclusive and welcoming culture of Rowland Hall to be a refreshing change. 

Many independent schools don’t stop at a culture of kindness—they encourage students to take action outside the classroom. Community service opportunities instill a sense of civic duty and emphasize the importance of contributing to society. At Rowland Hall, we promote the pursuit of not only academic excellence, but personal excellence as well.

Our five core values are:

  • Think Deeply 
  • Learn for Life
  • Welcome Everyone
  • Live with Purpose
  • Relationships Matter

When You Want to Develop a Well-Rounded Person Who Will Positively Impact the World

Contrary to popular belief, accredited independent schools aren’t narrowly focused on academic rigor, high test scores, and ensuring all alumni attend elite colleges. Rather, many private programs help students understand how they fit into a large, diverse world.

When private schools prioritize caring for the whole child, students’ social-emotional health becomes paramount. Contrary to popular belief, accredited independent schools aren’t narrowly focused on academic rigor, high test scores, and ensuring all alumni attend elite colleges. Rather, many private programs help students understand how they fit into the larger world. Independent school teachers and mentors instill in students how the knowledge they acquire can be applied to help a diverse society, and not just used for material gain.

At Rowland Hall, social-emotional learning is central to the student experience. Our youngest learners practice identifying emotions and expressing themselves in constructive ways. As students grow, we focus on positive peer interactions, empathy, increased personal responsibility, and making good choices. Students interested in digging deeper and making a difference are encouraged to join related clubs and committees, from sustainability to social justice. And throughout our students’ journeys, our dedicated, expert counselors meet with students in groups and individually to ensure they feel supported.

When to Choose Rowland Hall, a Leading Utah Independent Private School

When choosing between types of schools in Utah—private vs. charter vs. public schools—parents need to do their due diligence. Due to low or no tuition, Utah’s charter schools seem like the perfect cross between public and private schools; however, in terms of academic performance, charter schools may not rank any higher than neighboring public schools. According to the think tank the Brookings Institution, "charter school students, in general, perform about the same as their matched peers in the traditional public schools." And here in Utah—as reported by The Salt Lake Tribune, KUTV, and other outlets—some charter schools are prompting questions around oversight, money management, and effectiveness.

Before making a decision on whether to send your child to a private school, a charter school, or a public school, consider attending one of our admission events or contacting our Admission Team to arrange an outdoor visit. They can also answer your specific questions or connect you with Rowland Hall students or alumni to help you get a sense of school culture, academic expectations, and extracurricular activities. Let us help you assess your student’s needs and determine whether our curriculum and program is the best fit for your family. 

Our two campuses are conveniently and centrally located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We offer preschool through high school and a robust tuition-assistance program, and we’re committed to our value of welcoming everyone. We’ve found that the most meaningful learning occurs in a school community of people from various backgrounds, encompassing differences in the human experience—ethnicity, race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and more.

Inquire here.

School Choice

A Guide To Independent Private Schools: When To Consider Private vs. Charter vs. Public Education for Your Child

Choosing your child’s educational path can be a difficult decision further complicated by many options—from homeschooling, to online education, to public vs. charter schools, to private and independent schools.

Parents and caregivers must carefully consider their student’s individual needs and their goals for their child, and then balance those against their family’s time and resources.

As you weigh your options on where to enroll your child, use this guide to help you recognize when it’s worth considering private education. At Rowland Hall, a leading Utah independent private school, our friendly Admission Team can help answer any questions you may have as you consider your student’s future. To learn more about Utah’s leading independent private school, Rowland Hall, browse our website.

When Your Child Needs Academic Rigor and Accelerated Learning

Gifted and talented students may struggle in school if they aren’t academically challenged. An advantage of private school is that—due to small classes and the flexibility to teach the most meaningful, relevant curriculum possible—your child will be held to high academic standards, and consistently encouraged to take risks and strive for improvement.

Private education at an independent school is more comprehensive and holistic, catered toward caring for the whole child. Where public schools offer electives, private schools may require those electives as prerequisites for graduation, giving your child a more well-rounded school experience that includes arts, music, ethics, and community service.

According to a report by Gallup and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), “NAIS graduates scored higher on the ACT and SAT, on average, and were more engaged as seniors in high school” than graduates from public and non-NAIS private high schools.

Higher academic rigor and a curriculum that promotes applied learning often produce better results. According to a report by Gallup and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)—of which Rowland Hall is a member—“NAIS graduates scored higher on the ACT and SAT, on average, and were more engaged as seniors in high school” than graduates from public and non-NAIS private high schools.

Rowland Hall sets the standard for teaching and learning excellence. Our teachers receive constant training and support to stay abreast of best practices and maximize outcomes for students. Our students, in turn, receive a strong knowledge base in math, science, world languages, English, and history. They’re offered electives in choral and instrumental music, theatre, dance, visual media, debate, physical fitness, and competitive sports. Plus, Rowland Hall students have unique access to experiential, hands-on, and inventive courses that include field studies and class trips.

As your student progresses, Rowland Hall’s Upper School offers over 20 advanced and honors courses to challenge and engage our high-performing students. 

When Your Child Needs a Lower Student-to-Teacher Ratio

At Rowland Hall, the student-to-teacher ratio is 10:1. 

Why is this important?

A lower student-to-teacher ratio allows more interaction and encourages your child to increase their participation level. Teachers will truly know your child, celebrate their individuality, and provide guidance, instruction, and feedback that’s appropriate for their learning style.

In public schools with large student-to-teacher ratios, educators may need to teach to the middle of the class, potentially neglecting students at the upper or lower end of the academic spectrum. Students who have different learning styles and would benefit from more personalized attention may fall through the cracks.

When College Is Your Goal

NAIS graduates progress through college more consistently—and are more likely to seek out key undergraduate opportunities associated with positive long-term outcomes—than public and non-NAIS private high school graduates.—NAIS-Gallup report

Rowland Hall offers a college-preparatory program that has helped thousands of students attend and excel at institutions for higher education. According to the NAIS-Gallup report, the college matriculation rate is nearly 100% for students who attend NAIS schools. Plus, "NAIS graduates progress through college more consistently—and are more likely to seek out key undergraduate opportunities associated with positive long-term outcomes—than public and non-NAIS private high school graduates."

In our Upper School, your student will work closely with our college counselors to find and gain admission to the institution that best fits their academic interests, career goals, and financial considerations. In a typical year, our seniors earn admission to over 100 colleges and universities across the world, and perhaps more importantly, about three-quarters of them receive at least one merit scholarship.

When You Want Your Personal Values to Align with the School’s Mission

At private and independent schools, there is an emphasis on values, ethics, and community service. Many of these schools hold students to high ethical standards, and teachers and coaches weave relevant life lessons into classes and extracurriculars alike. When compassion and empathy are part of a school’s culture, young learners are less distracted by disciplinary problems. Students who have experienced bullying or social anxiety in public schools often find the inclusive and welcoming culture of Rowland Hall to be a refreshing change. 

Many independent schools don’t stop at a culture of kindness—they encourage students to take action outside the classroom. Community service opportunities instill a sense of civic duty and emphasize the importance of contributing to society. At Rowland Hall, we promote the pursuit of not only academic excellence, but personal excellence as well.

Our five core values are:

  • Think Deeply 
  • Learn for Life
  • Welcome Everyone
  • Live with Purpose
  • Relationships Matter

When You Want to Develop a Well-Rounded Person Who Will Positively Impact the World

Contrary to popular belief, accredited independent schools aren’t narrowly focused on academic rigor, high test scores, and ensuring all alumni attend elite colleges. Rather, many private programs help students understand how they fit into a large, diverse world.

When private schools prioritize caring for the whole child, students’ social-emotional health becomes paramount. Contrary to popular belief, accredited independent schools aren’t narrowly focused on academic rigor, high test scores, and ensuring all alumni attend elite colleges. Rather, many private programs help students understand how they fit into the larger world. Independent school teachers and mentors instill in students how the knowledge they acquire can be applied to help a diverse society, and not just used for material gain.

At Rowland Hall, social-emotional learning is central to the student experience. Our youngest learners practice identifying emotions and expressing themselves in constructive ways. As students grow, we focus on positive peer interactions, empathy, increased personal responsibility, and making good choices. Students interested in digging deeper and making a difference are encouraged to join related clubs and committees, from sustainability to social justice. And throughout our students’ journeys, our dedicated, expert counselors meet with students in groups and individually to ensure they feel supported.

When to Choose Rowland Hall, a Leading Utah Independent Private School

When choosing between types of schools in Utah—private vs. charter vs. public schools—parents need to do their due diligence. Due to low or no tuition, Utah’s charter schools seem like the perfect cross between public and private schools; however, in terms of academic performance, charter schools may not rank any higher than neighboring public schools. According to the think tank the Brookings Institution, "charter school students, in general, perform about the same as their matched peers in the traditional public schools." And here in Utah—as reported by The Salt Lake Tribune, KUTV, and other outlets—some charter schools are prompting questions around oversight, money management, and effectiveness.

Before making a decision on whether to send your child to a private school, a charter school, or a public school, consider attending one of our admission events or contacting our Admission Team to arrange an outdoor visit. They can also answer your specific questions or connect you with Rowland Hall students or alumni to help you get a sense of school culture, academic expectations, and extracurricular activities. Let us help you assess your student’s needs and determine whether our curriculum and program is the best fit for your family. 

Our two campuses are conveniently and centrally located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We offer preschool through high school and a robust tuition-assistance program, and we’re committed to our value of welcoming everyone. We’ve found that the most meaningful learning occurs in a school community of people from various backgrounds, encompassing differences in the human experience—ethnicity, race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and more.

Inquire here.

School Choice

Explore More Tips for Parents

From financial aid to scholarships, there are ways to make private education affordable.

In the last two years, private and independent school enrollment has been on the rise as families across the nation are opting to make changes to their children’s education.

As a result of this shift, financing private school tuition has become a top concern. While costs can seem staggering, paying for your child to attend a private school doesn’t have to be a stress-inducing process. From financial aid to scholarships, there are a variety of financing options available—and you might be surprised to find out that a private school education is more affordable than you think.

If you’re considering private school enrollment for your child, here are six ways to make it affordable for your family.

How to Make Utah Private School Education Affordable for Your Family

Take Advantage of Financial Aid 

Rowland Hall's need-based financial aid program considers every family’s unique circumstances, with the goal to match your financial means with a realistic tuition contribution.

In a recent Enrollment Management Association report, The Ride to Independent Schools 2020–2021, 47% of parents reported they did not apply for financial aid because they thought they would not qualify.

At Rowland Hall, all families with financial need are encouraged to apply for financial aid. Our need-based financial aid program considers every family’s unique circumstances, with the goal to match your financial means with a realistic tuition contribution. We currently provide more than $2.61 million per year in financial aid and scholarships to students in grades K–12, with most recipients receiving 50% or more in tuition assistance.

Apply for Need- and Merit-based Scholarships

Many private schools offer a variety of scholarships for qualifying students. Rowland Hall donors have established scholarships for students who possess both specific talents or qualifications and who demonstrate financial need.

As with any scholarship, be sure to carefully review all eligibility requirements, application dates, and application requirements to give your family the best possible chance to earn additional assistance.

Set Up a Payment Plan

The thought of paying full tuition all at once can be daunting, but there are often options to split tuition into multiple payments instead of paying one lump sum. Rowland Hall offers three payment options for families, including one-, two-, and nine-payment plans.

Look into a Loan

If you qualify for financial aid but need assistance with a portion of tuition, or if you have simply crunched your budget as much as possible and it’s still not balancing, consider applying for a tuition loan, which can help offset any remaining costs outside of your financial aid package.

A tuition loan may also be a good option for families that don’t qualify for financial aid.

Talk to Your Tax Expert

Recent changes to a new tax bill now allow parents to withdraw funds from a 529 account not only for college tuition but also for K–12 private education. Parents can withdraw up to $10,000 per year tax-free for tuition, and Utah residents may also earn a state tax credit for their contributions to the plan. Talk to your tax advisor for more information on 529 college savings plans.

Consider a School Voucher or Tax-Credit Scholarship

If you’re considering admission at a Utah private school, there are two school voucher and tax-credit scholarship options for qualifying families: the Carson Smith Scholarship, launched in 2005, which provides eligible families with vouchers to attend private schools, and Utah’s Special Needs Opportunity Scholarship Program, launched in 2021, which is a tax-credit scholarship for qualifying families.

No matter your financial situation, Rowland Hall is committed to making exceptional education affordable for every family, so be sure to explore every available opportunity.

Investing in Your Child’s Future

When families are considering private education, they are often seeking smaller class sizes, higher academic achievement, and college preparedness.

Placing students in small groups tends to foster close working relationships between teachers and students, thus enhancing learning.

At Rowland Hall, our student-teacher ratio is 10 to 1, and our average class size is 15 students. According to research from the US Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics, placing students in small groups tends to foster close working relationships between teachers and students, thus enhancing learning.

In the same piece of research, results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), showed that private school students performed higher than public school students on the NAPE:2000 tests. Additionally, their average scores were above those of public school students on the fourth-grade reading test and on the fourth, eighth-, and twelfth-grade science and mathematics proficiency tests.

Beyond intimate learning conditions and a commitment to academic achievement, our curriculum at Rowland Hall is enriched with experiential, hands-on, and inventive courses, as well as electives spanning everything from music, dance, and debate to robotics and competitive sports.

You Belong at Rowland Hall

At Rowland Hall, we are committed to empowering every student to reach their full potential in an inclusive school community. Since our founding in 1867, we have grown to occupy two urban campuses in Salt Lake City, where we support nearly 1,000 students in preschool through high school who are learning to become deep thinkers ready for a dynamic tomorrow.

Interested in learning more about Rowland Hall? Visit our admission page to contact our Admission Team and to hear from parents who have made the decision to invest in an exceptional education.

Affordability

Independent school Rowland Hall shares what to expect when applying for financial aid for the independent school.

Like other private independent schools, Rowland Hall is independently funded, relying on tuition to offer an exceptional education to the PreK through twelfth-grade students who attend our two Salt Lake City, Utah, campuses.

While tuition is a major source of funding for the school, Rowland Hall believes that an independent education should not be out of reach for families unable to pay the full tuition. As a result, we provide over $2.61 million in financial aid and scholarships to students each year. Rowland Hall financial aid awards are grants, not loans, and do not have to be repaid, and are available to students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.

At Rowland Hall, we are committed to understanding each family’s individual circumstances to determine financial aid eligibility and appropriate awards. A family should never assume they are not eligible for aid, or that any financial aid examples they may see online are complete; the only sure way to know if you qualify, and how much you qualify for, is to work directly with a school financial aid professional. Rowland Hall Director of Financial Aid Mary Anne Wetzel '01 guides each family through the financial aid journey.

What to Expect When You Apply for Financial Aid at Rowland Hall

1. Explore Rowland Hall, Then Fill Out an Admission Application

Before you apply to Rowland Hall—including for financial aid—it’s important to determine if our school is right for your family. Begin by contacting our Admission Department via the inquiry page. After inquiring, you may also choose to attend an admission event or take a virtual tour to help make your decision.

If your family determines that you’d like to apply to Rowland Hall, please begin or complete an admission application before starting a financial aid application.

2. Prepare Your Financial Documents

Rowland Hall uses School and Student Services (SSS), a document verification service utilized by hundreds of private and independent schools that award financial aid. To ensure the smoothest process in SSS, we recommend that you gather necessary financial documents—including W2s or 1040s, and mortgage interest, banking, and investment statements—before beginning the financial aid application. We also recommend that you review SSS’ Guiding Principles for Families prior to starting the application.

3. Fill Out Your Financial Aid Application

After gathering financial documents, you are ready to begin the application.

  • Create an account in the SSS Family Portal. Keep track of login information, as you will need it to return to the system. (You can fill out an application over multiple sessions.)

  • The application will first ask for basic demographic information to help determine eligibility. After completing these questions, eligible families will pay an application fee of $55, which can be done with a credit or debit card. (A fee waiver may apply in certain situations; please contact the director of financial aid with questions.)

  • After submitting the fee, continue your application. The SSS application is designed for ease of use and offers a robust help system, as well as a support phone number. Families are also welcome to contact Rowland Hall’s Admission Team if SSS is unable to provide an answer.

  • Use the application’s comment area to expand on anything in your application, or to make us aware of other circumstances that may affect your ability to pay.

  • Be sure to upload the tax documents requested by SSS, as your application will not be considered complete without them.


After your application is submitted, it will be reviewed by Rowland Hall’s four-person Financial Aid Committee. Your personal information, as well as any awarded aid, is only shared with this committee and is always kept confidential. If necessary, the director of financial aid may reach out to you with follow-up questions that will help the committee make an informed decision.

Please be aware that financial aid priority for the upcoming school year is given to applications submitted by the admission deadline. The due date for admission and financial aid applications for 2022–2023 is Monday, February 7, 2022; both applications must be fully completed by this date.

4. Review Financial Aid Decision and Follow Up as Requested

All families receive communication regarding Rowland Hall’s financial aid decisions. Contracts and financial award letters for 2022–2023 will be available in Rowland Hall’s admission portal in early March 2022.

If your family receives a financial award letter, you’ll accept that award by signing the provided contract and returning it to Rowland Hall by the required date, along with a non-refundable deposit of 10% of your tuition amount. Receipt of a signed contract and deposit locks in your financial aid package and secures your student’s, or students’, place for the next school year. Families also choose a payment plan at contract signing.

Want more information on Rowland Hall’s financial aid process? Contact Director of Financial Aid Mary Anne Wetzel at maryannewetzel@rowlandhall.org or 801-924-2964 to get started. We also invite you to visit our admission RSVP page if you would like to attend a virtual open house or a small group tour of our Utah independent private school campuses.

Financial Aid

PrinciPALS Podcast logo

Listen below, on Stitcher, or on Apple Podcasts.

In this episode, Rowland Hall princiPALS Emma Wellman and Jij de Jesus take on the topic of bullying. While parents and caregivers are undoubtedly familiar with this term, the definition can shift depending on who’s talking. Knowing this, Emma and Jij explain what it means when educators use that word, as well as walk listeners through what’s happening to kids developmentally during the early childhood and elementary years so that they understand what behaviors are typical and which may require intervention. Listeners will walk away with a better understanding of what is behind children’s behaviors and tips on supporting them.

Podcast resources:

Parent Education

PrinciPALS Podcast logo

Listen below, on Stitcher, or on Apple Podcasts.

The princiPALS are back in the office to revisit one of today’s most essential topics: how to talk to kids about race. Join Emma Wellman and Jij de Jesus as they discuss how to teach children to have thoughtful conversations about race and racial differences, as well as share tips on how to model antiracist behaviors for children.

Podcast resources:
    •    Raising Race-Conscious Children

    •    PBS Utah’s Let’s Talk: Talking to Kids about Race


    •    Your Kids Aren't Too Young to Talk about Race: Resource Roundup


Parent Education

You Belong at Rowland Hall