The Difference Between Charter Schools & Private Schools

Charter schools have been popping up in local school districts for over a decade now, but online private schools like Northgate Academy (NGA) have become increasingly popular as well. With so many options available, it can start to get overwhelming to discern one from the other! Here’s a breakdown of the main differences between charter and private schools like NGA:


Charter Schools: These schools are run by private businesses, but they are fully funded by taxpayers through federal and state tax dollars. When a charter school fails, the business owners are not out even a dime. In fact, it is the taxpayer who foots the bill for the initial investment, the running, and – possibly – the failure of any charter school. Because the for-profit business has nothing to risk when they’re starting new charter schools, they’ve popped up all over the country! 

However, where the funding comes from can be a little concerning to parents who want their school to be more invested in their students and the success of the school. In fact, about 25% of all charter schools that start close in a short time, and about 50% of them close after around15 years in operation. Between 1999-2017 over 867,000 students were displaced by charter school closings, based on study by the Network for Public Education.

Private Schools Like NGA: Funded by tuition payments and not taxpayer money, the success of these schools are completely based on the success and satisfaction of their students. If the school is not performing up to families’ expectations, then they will earn less tuition. As a result, family satisfaction and student success plays a key role in the success and funding of an online private school like NGA.


Charter Schools: These schools get state money for students who start at the beginning of the school year. States have a deadline of when students need to be enrolled by and then the school gets the taxpayer money for each student. The trick with charter schools, however, is that they can “let students go” for any reason after they receive their taxpayer money because they have different rules as a business than a traditional public school. 

This means that after their funding date, charter schools collect the state funds and then expel students who then need to either pay tuition at a private school or return to the traditional public school who no longer gets the funding. Unfortunately, that’s a game that some charter schools play to gain more profit for the private business that owns the “public” school.

Private Schools Like NGA: Northgate Academy is a private online school, and as such, we have unlimited openings for students. Acceptance in a particular grade level is based on your knowledge of your student’s grade level, but we have to confirm their credits through official transcripts as well. We have a 10 calendar day full refund policy, and beyond that, families can buy-out of their tuition contract if they cannot finish the program for any reason.

Families in our middle- and high-school aged programs can make monthly payments for their tuition over a period of 10 months or fewer. Our adult program is a month-by-month basis, so adult students can cancel at any time. However, for those adults who want to finish their diploma credits, they pay for a maximum of 10 months, but if they complete their credits before their 10 months is up, they no longer owe any payments. In other words, students 18 or over can earn their credits as quickly as possible and pay less for their high school diploma.


Charter Schools: Because charter schools are usually smaller than traditional public schools, the programs they offer are limited to the funding they receive based on the number of students they enroll at the beginning of the year. They will often have fewer content and program options than a traditional public school. This means that although your student might have the advantage of a smaller class size, they might not have as many special program options as in your local public school. It is up to the business running the school whether or not it’s worth a cut in their profits to add specialty services for your student.

Private Schools Like NGA: At online private schools, the online environment cuts the expense of a large building. We also are not limited to the teachers available in one specific part of the country. With instructors from all over the country, we can offer many different interesting specialty courses. In fact, we have a variety of STEM classes, University of California approved classes, and a college preparatory curriculum. We are not limited by size or teacher availability in our local area, so we are constantly seeking to improve our course selection to align with the needs of a modern student population.


Charter Schools: These businesses have to follow the same schedule as their local districts, and students must stay in line with the district attendance policies. This means that your students will be in school approximately 7-8 hours each day, between 180-200 days per year on average. There is no flexibility in the schedule or attendance requirements.

Private Schools Like NGA: Because we are a private online school, we don’t have to follow the same requirements as public or charter schools. This means that you determine your student’s school schedule. You have the flexibility to take time off whenever you need to and to work extra to take a long weekend. You can travel as a family while your children still work on academics as long as there’s an internet connection. 

We do have to meet high standards in order to maintain our accreditation. This means that although your family has flexibility, we hold ourselves, our courses, and our staff to high standards so that our diplomas qualify students for college, career, and military service.

Northgate Academy

Online programs can provide a lot of great opportunities for your students. Between the flexibility and variety of courses, you’re sure to find the right path for your or your child’s individual needs. 

If you’re not already a student with Northgate Academy but would like to learn more, feel free to check out our programs on our website. Still got questions? Feel free to reach out to us by text at 952-465-3700 or call us at 800-620-3844. Our staff will be happy to answer any questions you have and guide you to the best program for your individual needs.

Northgate Academy Welcomes Everyone

We have a unique community of online learners from all over the world. We have students that chose to attend high school online due to social problems, large classroom size, conflicting beliefs concerning the educational process, and bullying. Maybe you just don’t share the values taught at the public schools. We have athletes, performers, military and ex-pats students; as well as international students that have chosen to earn an American, accredited high school diploma online. Students love the ability to attend a Christian school online according to their schedule and pace.

If you are ready to get started, why not Enroll Now?