6 Affordable & Free Boarding Schools for Troubled Youth in PA

Having a troubled kid is not easy at all, it is very uncomfortable for them and those around them, and above all, it can be detrimental to their career if not handled well. That’s why most parents or guardians are ready to accept any beacon of stability and hope for their kids.

The other downside of it is that most of the therapeutic schools that can help these kids are quite expensive, especially private schools.

Fortunately, similar to free boarding schools in Georgia, Texas, Arizona, and Maryland, there are some free boarding schools for troubled youth in PA too.

I know you might be doubting the possibility of having a “free,” education for troubled youth, but it is much more possible and we’ll prove it to you.

So, even if your kid is experiencing academic struggles, behavioral challenges, any form of disability, or simply yearning for a new beginning, this blog has your back.

Let’s get started.

free boarding schools for troubled youth in PA

Free Boarding Schools for Troubled Youth in PA

Remember: Each student’s needs and challenges are unique. Carefully assess fit and consider additional support services to ensure the best outcome.

1. Milton Hershey School

This school believes that a family’s income should not determine a child’s outcome, that’s why it offers a cost-free education to qualifying students from low-income families with social and emotional challenges. Milton Hershey School is a private school for qualifying students in pre-K through 12th grade.

MHS is among the free boarding schools for troubled youth in PA that focuses on providing a supportive and nurturing environment for children who have faced various hardships and may need additional support to thrive.

For over 110 years ago, the school has transformed the lives of more than 11,000 children from qualifying families through high-quality education and structured home life.

Through their Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) they ensure that each student receives a personalized IEP that caters to their specific learning needs and challenges. Also, they have a strong team of professional counselors who can provide the right advice and psychiatric care if needed.

  • Location: 1201 Homestead Lane

Hershey, PA 17033

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2. Overbrook School for the Blind

Just like the name, this school is for individuals with visual impairment, but it can still be of great help to troubled youths in several ways. First of all, their smaller class sizes help to provide more personalized teaching which will help improve students struggling with behavioral challenges.

Also, their staff are well-trained to handle students with visual impairment which will help troubled teens feel at home.

Overbrook School for the Blind provides accommodations for their students, where they reside in dormitories with houseparents who provide supervision and support.

Moreover, there is no tuition and no cost to the families of Overbrook School for the Blind students. It is one of the free boarding schools for troubled youth in PA and the School District of Residency provides students’ transportation.

Another interesting approach that will benefit troubled youths is their shared experience. The school created a community that can relate to peers facing similar challenges, this can help any troubled youth feeling isolated to feel safe again.

  • Location: 6333 Malvern Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19151

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3. Pennsylvania School for the Deaf

This is another free boarding school that can be beneficial to troubled teens and youths both those that are deaf and hard-of-hearing. One of the ways is through their smaller class sizes which will help build the relationship of teachers and students and also create individualized attention.

PSD also emphasizes a lot on visual learning which will help students with auditory processing difficulties or attention challenges. 

Also, the school offers residential living for K-12 students, providing a safe and supportive environment for deaf and hard-of-hearing students from across Pennsylvania and beyond.

Based on more than 200 years of experience, they know exactly how to provide your kid with the right education.

  • Location: 100 West School House Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19144-3404

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4. Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf

This is one of the free boarding schools in Pennsylvania that offer residential living for students from preschool through 12th grade. It provides a safe and supportive environment for deaf and hard-of-hearing students from across Pennsylvania and beyond.

Their boarding home also gives students full access to the School’s academic and extra-curricular programs regardless of their home address.

WPSD is a non-profit, tuition-free school, that was founded in 1869 and develops high-quality, individualized programs that support every student so that they may reach their true potential.

  • Location: 300 East Swissvale Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15218

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Affordable Boarding Schools for Troubled Youth in PA

5. Mercyhurst Preparatory School

  • Base Tuition: $10,650

Besides the fact that Mercyhurst Preparatory School provides very affordable education, they also award lots of scholarships and financial aid to help reduce their cost of education even further.

Regarding their boarding, MPS is not like other traditional boarding schools in Pennsylvania, which means it doesn’t require all its students to live on campus. What they do is offer optional boarding for families that might be interested, especially those living farther away from the school or those who want to introduce their troubled kid to a new environment.

The school partners with Christian Boarding, a separate organization, to provide comfortable dorm housing for students who choose to board. 

You should note that this boarding comes with extra cost outside the tuition fee 

Location: 538 East Grandview Blvd.

Erie, PA 16504-2606

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6. Northern Cambria County Technical School

Tuition Fee: 

  • Approximately $8,000-$10,000 annually (Pennsylvania Residents)
  • $17,000-$20,000 annually (Out of state residents)

NCC Tech might not specifically focus on troubled youths, but these teens can still benefit from this school. One of the ways is through their clear rules and consequences for unacceptable behaviors which will help the students develop self-control and stop some toxic habits.

Their hands-on learning and practical skills can help troubled teens to feel a sense of belonging to a good community again.

NCC Tech is for students in grades 9-12, but not entirely a boarding school. They try their best to provide limited boarding options through partnerships with local housing providers.

Due to the limitation, you should endeavor to make inquiries regarding accommodation on time, the cost will vary depending on the house, and it is not included in the tuition fee.

  • Location: 601 Joseph St, Northern Cambria, PA 15714, USA

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Key Takeaway 

I must admit, finding free boarding schools for troubled youth in PA can feel like a hard nut to crack. But just like every nut can get open with the right tool, Pennsylvania offers a beacon of hope to families with troubled teens who can’t afford a traditional boarding school.

Though they are free and affordable doesn’t mean they don’t provide the proper education and training for kids, they still inculcate excellence in their teaching.

Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Consult with qualified professionals for specific needs.

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