Enrollment in private schools is at private expense, creating financial barriers for some families. Most private schools, however, offer partial scholarships to low-income families. Private religious schools for special-needs students tend to make the greatest effort to accommodate students regardless of financial background, and are often supported by religious organizations. Says St. Lucy Day School principal Sister M. Margaret Fleming, "Even though we have tuition, nobody is turned away if they can’t afford to pay."119

Like nonpublic schools and some public-school programs, private schools also may have admissions criteria. Usually these criteria are aimed at matching the school’s abilities to serve a difficult-to-educate child with the child’s particular needs, rather than taking only the best students. Unlike public schools or nonpublic schools, where access to programs may be arbitrarily blocked by public administrators, parents have greater control over the decision to enroll their child in a private school or program. Private schools exist to serve students with disabilities, at-risk youth, and occasionally adjudicated youth when special circumstances are involved.