Charter School Financing

Charter schools have been opening their doors to students across the US for decades to create spaces where young people can learn and thrive. And rather than struggling with financing for affordable facilities, NFF believes that educational leaders should be able to focus on what they do best, which is preparing students to pursue their dreams and aspirations. Through our extensive experience working with K-12 charter schools and their partners, we have a deep understanding of what it takes to run a successful school while adapting and growing when necessary to meet the needs of their students. Our expertise in charter schools’ underlying business models and unique financial drivers allows us to provide truly customized support and flexible terms for each of our clients. We meet schools with the products they need. 

Charter School Financing Options

Facility Loans

  • Acquisition of new charter school facilities
  • Expansion of existing buildings
  • Construction, renovation, and leasehold improvement
  • Pre-development and/or project-related soft costs

Equipment Loans

  • Computer hardware, software, presentation equipment
  • Office and classroom furniture
  • Playground equipment, walls, and fencing
  • Green and energy efficiency improvements

Working Capital Loans

In addition to charter school facilities lending, NFF offers working capital lines of credit to smooth irregular, episodic funding streams.

New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC)

NMTC can bring much-needed equity to charter schools. NFF has leveraged millions of dollars in tax credits to spur investment in projects in low-income communities.

Inquire today to learn more about NFF's favorable terms, including higher-than-standard loan-to-values, lower-than-standard equity contributions, and extended interest-only periods.

NFF understands our financial and school design imperatives and worked diligently to create tailored loans for construction work at our new facilities. Through our deeply collaborative relationship with NFF, we are able to expand opportunities for students in central Brooklyn so they receive an extraordinary education.

Susan Pollock, President, Ascend Learning

Recent Charter School Loan Projects

Leadership Preparatory Charter School opened in 2015 with kindergarten and first grade classes. It has added a grade every year since, currently at K-5. In order to realize its goal of K-8 education, the school needed more space. With the help of a construction loan from NFF and partners, the school will build its middle school adjacent to the elementary school, expanding by 2024 to 490 students from 315 currently. This loan is the first from NFF’s Resilient Communities Fund, a $10 million fund from our most recent NMTC awards. With loans under $4 million with low interest rates, the fund is available to borrowers with financing needs too small to benefit from traditional NMTC allocations.

Partners: BlueHub Capital, Pinnacle Bank

Nowell Leadership Academy is a transfer charter high school in Providence, RI, serving pregnant and parenting students. The school is located on two campuses seven miles apart, which creates financial and operational challenges, as well as inconsistent support services for students, such as childcare. With a new campus for all 160 students, the school will save money, offer a better social and communal experience, and provide lactation and health rooms, transportation services, and a dedicated space for free on-site childcare. NFF provided a $610,000 loan for leasehold improvements on the new space.

Urban Dove Team Charter School is a network of high schools in New York City that serves over-aged and under-credited students seeking to graduate from high school. Originally founded in 1998 as an after-school program focused on mentorship through sports, Urban Dove became a high school in 2012. The school still uses a team sports model that is intended to engage and educate students no longer served by their zoned schools. The Brooklyn campus is currently housed in a space shared with a church. NFF’s loan will help the school move to a new facility with better classrooms and a spacious gym that can accommodate their sports-focused curriculum.

Compass Rose Academy is a tuition-free charter school where nearly 90% of students are from low-income households. The school believes every child, no matter their race, socio-economic status, zip code, or home language, should have access to a rigorous, college-preparation-focused curriculum. Since opening in 2017, it has earned high ratings from the Texas Education Authority. The school is expanding to a new space to accommodate a growing middle school and adding a high school. NFF participated in financing a loan for renovations on a newly leased space that will accommodate 850 students, an increase from nearly 400 now.

Washington Heights and Inwood Music Community Charter School (WHIN) opened in 2017 and serves primarily students of color and low-income students through an innovative, music-infused curriculum in New York City. The new space will include a theater for the children to perform concerts, as well as a cafeteria, rehearsal room, teacher’s lounge and office, eight classrooms, and an outdoor playground on the roof. NFF provided a $600,000 loan for predevelopment and preconstruction costs, such as environmental remediation and architecture and engineering.

Stockton Collegiate International Schools (SCIS) was founded in 2009 to offer the academically rigorous International Baccalaureate curriculum to grades K-12 to students that are typically underrepresented in such programs in Stockton, California, including students of color, students from low-income families, and students with special needs. Nearly all SCIS’ high-school students graduate and earn scores on International Baccalaureate tests that qualify for college credit. NFF provided a $500,000 loan to help SCIS make more efficient use of its space, by consolidating the number of buildings on its campus from five to four. The project, along with debt refinancing from NFF loan partner Civic Builders, will result in facility costs savings of approximately $429,000 annually.

Springfield Prep Charter SchoolOpened in 2015,currently operates in a temporary space serving 324 students in grades K-5. The school has identified a new, permanent space that can accommodate its full enrollment charter of 486 students in grades K-8. NFF provided a $2.4 million loan to finance acquisition and predevelopment of the new site, where the school plans a $10-million renovation.

Partner: BlueHub Capital

Meeting Charter School Financing Needs

Unlocking Educational Achievement in Tennessee
In recent years, more and more charter schools have sprung up across Tennessee in a continuing effort to improve academic opportunities for students in cities like Nashville and Memphis. Today, students are going to class in modular buildings and refurbished furniture retailers, home-improvement stores, and churches.

On the left a map of Tennessee is outlined in chalk on a blackboard. On the right side of the image are two pictures of young children engaged in activities at school
Flexible financing for schools across TN

Making Room for an Extraordinary Education in NYC
The Ascend network of charter schools provides a liberal arts education to kindergarten-through-10th grade students at nine schools in Brooklyn. NFF financing has helped Ascend expand and developing learning-conducive spaces that let them focus on academics instead of facilities.

A classroom is filled with desks and chairs. There are boards at the front of the room and a large window behind the desks.
Facilities financing for bigger and better learning spaces

Place Matters
DREAM's mission is to provide inner-city youth with opportunities to play, learn and grow. “We use the power of teams to coach, teach, and inspire youth to recognize their potential and realize their dreams.” Its programs have names like Rookie League and Teambuilders, and prominent supporters include Mark Teixeira, the recently retired New York Yankees star first baseman.

A young boy is seated at a desk wearing a blue shirt raising his hand with a smile on his face.
Ongoing support for operations and new facilities

We are fortunate to have lenders such as NFF serving the charter school market. DREAM welcomes their value-added participation in future development, and we also highly recommend them to other charter schools seeking financing for facility projects.

Richard Berlin, Executive Director of DREAM

Interested in financing for your charter school?

Apply for a loan