Want to send your kid to camp, but not sure you can afford it? The good news is, with more than 7,000 resident camps in the U.S. alone, there's a camp for just about every budget. Fees vary, but generally range from $201 to $400 a week for ACA-accredited resident camps, and $75 to $300 a week for day camp.

Parents may reduce the costs by asking the right questions. When talking with the camp director, parents should ask the following:

  • What is the refund policy?

    Refund policies vary greatly from camp to camp. Some refund for illness only, some will give a total refund prior to a certain date, and some don't refund at all. Most camps will ask for a small nonrefundable deposit at the time of application, which may or may not go toward the cost of tuition. It is important to know the refund policy before you send any money.

  • Is there financial assistance available?

    Many camps offer camp-erships, which is a partial or total subsidy of the tuition costs, but parents need to ask if they are available. Although they are usually awarded based on need, don't assume that you make too much to qualify. It is important to apply early.

  • What is included in the tuition?

    Day camps will typically include transportation as part of their tuition. Resident camps may offer limited transportation, such as a van ride from a major local train station. Other amenities to ask about are fees for special programs and trips, laundry service, camp canteen, special equipment that is required, and service organization membership. Also, ask the camp director if it is appropriate to send spending money with your child.

  • Are special discounts available?

    Often, camps will offer special discounts for such things as early registration, full-season enrollment, and enrollment of multiple family members. If more than one special discount applies, parents may only be able to take advantage of one.

Reprinted by permission of the American Camp Association, Copyright 2005, American Camping Association, Inc.