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Hogwarts is modeled on English private schools like Eton. If Hogwarts is a "private school" where do the students go who either can't afford it or don't get in?

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Hogwarts isn't really a private school, is it? Everyone who has magic gets a letter. –  BitNinja Jul 10 at 5:12
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It's unclear if that's true. At the very least it is modeled on a private school. –  Jason Jul 10 at 5:17
    
I agree with the fact that it is modeled after a private school. How do you define "get in" though? –  BitNinja Jul 10 at 5:20
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To cupboard under the stairs? –  Awal Garg Jul 10 at 8:55
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There seems to be some confusion in these comments. In the UK, a school that is run by the government is called a "state school"; a school that is run independently of the government, typically charging fees, is called a "public school" (on grounds that the school is, in principle, open to any member of the public who can afford it). There used to be "private schools" which were also independent of the government but might, for example, be run by the owner of a factory and only open to the children of his employees. Eton is a public school in the UK sense (a private school in the US sense). –  David Richerby Jul 10 at 23:32

5 Answers 5

I don’t recall any mention of school fees in the books (but I might be wrong; I’m in a hurry). With regard to school supplies, your answer comes from a memory in which Dumbledore visits a young Tom Riddle in book 6:

“That is easily remedied,” said Dumbledore, drawing a leather money-pouch from his pocket. “There is a fund at Hogwarts for those who require assistance to buy books and robes. You might have to buy some of your spellbooks and so on secondhand, but—”

Half-Blood Prince, chapter 13 (The Secret Riddle)

As for students who “don’t get in” or choose not to go, the option exists to educate them at home or abroad, if the parents so wish. We learn that these are possible when Lupin explains the changes at Hogwarts in the final book:

“Attendance is now compulsory for every young witch and wizard,” he replied. “That was announced yesterday. It’s a change, because it was never obligatory before. Of course, nearly every witch and wizard in Britain has been educated at Hogwarts, but their parents had the right to teach them at home or send them abroad if they preferred.”

Deathly Hallows, chapter 11 (The Bribe)

However, it should be noted that anybody who doesn’t “get in” may not have much to gain. Part of Pottermore entitled The Quill of Acceptance and the Book of Admittance describe how students are entered for the school. If you trust the Quill and Book as accurate (as the article seems to do), then it explains that it keeps out people without any magic:

In fact, the Book's sternness has a purpose: its track record in keeping Squibs out of Hogwarts is perfect. Non-magic children born to witches and wizards occasionally have some small, residual aura of magic about them due to their parents, but once their parents magic has worn off them it becomes clear that they will never have the ability to perform spells. The Quill's sensitivity, coupled with the Book's implacability, have never yet made a mistake.

If you assume that it really can list every magical child in Britain, then anybody who doesn’t get in is either a Muggle or a Squib, and so won’t really benefit from education elsewhere.

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Worth noting when you are in less of a rush that Draco was wishing for his father to send him to Durmstrang, proves you were allowed to send children abroad. –  Simon Jul 10 at 8:02
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Also, Ariana Dumbledore was homeschooled –  DVK Jul 10 at 13:04
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I don't have the books to hand, but IIRC - in the Philosopher's Stone, doesn't Hagrid refer to Hogwarts having school fees when he tells Harry that his parents left him money in Gringotts (so he has no reason to worry about the cost of going to the school)? –  The Giant of Lannister Jul 10 at 18:12
    
@TheGiantofLannister That cost could very well be referring to the same cost Dumbledore mentioned to Riddle - the cost of robes and books etc - at that point it was clear the Dursleys wouldn't spring for even that much money and iirc Hagrid mentioned that when talking about going to Diagon Alley for school shopping. –  Shisa Jul 11 at 4:03
    
There almost certainly aren't school fees (beyond clothing, books and supplies). If there were, could you honestly imagine the Dursleys agreeing to pay them? They barely tolerate Harry's existence, there's no way they'd be shelling out extra cash for him to attend a fancy private school. –  Darrel Hoffman Jul 12 at 2:15

They either get in on some sort of charity or scholarship, I mean that is how Voldemort got in. Or they obviously go to another school, like Durmstrang or Beauxbaton. People like Hermione probably got in partly on scholarship or charity, as well as Ron. Can you imagine her parents Dentist or not, trying to come up with gold to pay for her schooling,they would have went bankrupt. Also, people that were poor like Ron got in, so there was obviously some sort of charity. Also, people were homeschooling their children. Remember how in the 7th book of Harry Potter the ministry was trying to get all of the students registered or something like that, so that they would know who was muggleborn or not. Also the students could do what Grindlewald did, after he was expelled from Durmstrang he went traveling, although this would only be ideal for older students since younger aren't good enough in magic, yet.

This if it is canon might help you. The source was sketchy, though.

Do all young people in the Wizarding World (from Britain) go to Hogwarts? For example, did Stan Shunpike attend Hogwarts? Or is Hogwarts a school just for those who are particularly good at magic while others go into trades without formal schooling? Jo's response: (all magical young people are invited, not all attend) This is another example of an answer that tells us nothing at all. She didn't actually say if Stan attended, for example. She didn't give us any hint of how many kids who have magical ability choose not to attend. So we're left with no answer to the basic question. Is Hogwarts an elite school, attended only by those who aspire to something more than working in a trade? There's a bit of an inconsistency in Jo's answer, too. She says they're no level to magic, that either you have it or you don't. But some characters are clearly noted as having more magical ability than others. Barty Crouch Sr. for example is described as "powerfully magical." I think she intends that statement to mean that there's no minimum level of magic which allows you to go to Hogwarts, below which you have to be a dishwasher in the Leaky Cauldron or something like that. http://www.hp-lexicon.org/jkr-letter-responses.html

This is from the wikia.

Hogwarts is considered to be one of the finest magical institutions in the wizarding world, though other notable schools include Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and the Durmstrang Institute. Children with magical abilities may be enrolled at birth, and acceptance is confirmed by owl post at age eleven.
http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Hogwarts_School_of_Witchcraft_and_Wizardry

So my official response on it is that a lot of students have the ability to go to the school, but not all go obviously. I just remembered after seeing the link the @alexwchan posted in a comment that JKR in Pottermore did say that they were chosen by a magical quill, so the students that after being chosen or not being chosen that decided not to go to Hogwarts would have to find another school or be home schooled. I forgot where it was said but I heard that Mrs. Weasley homeschooled the Weasleys before they went to school, she was a stay at home mom after all.

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I don't think Wizarding money is "Gold" - "According to J. K. Rowling, the approximate value of a Galleon is "About five Great British pounds, though the exchange rate varies!" - harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Wizarding_Money - So depending on the actual cost of going to school - and the actual conversion rate - it should have been affordable for someone as affluent as a pair of doctors. –  WernerCD Jul 10 at 16:01
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They either get in on some sort of charity or scholarship, I mean that is how Voldemort got in. As the other answer points out, Dumbledore offers him assistance to pay for school supplies, but there isn't any mention of school fees. (If you've got one, please add it.) –  starsplusplus Jul 10 at 17:07
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"Jo's response: (all magical young people are invited, not all attend)" I think this pretty much settles the question, they can't not get in. –  Kevin Jul 10 at 18:06

What do you mean, "don't get in" ?

There are no mentions in books of any fees or admission process that would cause a young British wizard or witch to be turned away from Hogwarts. You could assume that they exist, but that's just fanfic-topic with no basis in canon.

Being poor does cause difficulties in obtaining study materials and tools, but it doesn't prevent them from going to Hogwarts as such, as evidenced by multiple such students shown in the books.

All the other answers are explaining about options for people who (or whose parents) choose not to go to Hogwarts; but if you're asking about those who "don't get in" then that's limited to squibs - and they can either be homeschooled or go to any muggle school they like.

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Hogwarts is not an exclusive institution! Every single magical children born in the British Isles immediately gets a place in Hogwarts. There's no acceptance requirements or anything. If you're magical, you get in. We don't know if students pay tuition—my guess is not—but as shown by Riddle, Hogwarts has a bursary for poor students, so that shouldn't be a reason not to attend it. In short, everyone who wants to go to Hogwarts can do so.

What about the people who don't want to? Well, they can be either homeschooled, or sent to another magical school overseas.

Source

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Students can be homeschooled, or go to a foreign school.

Draco mentioned that he wanted to go to Durmstrang, so it is possible.

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