Every parent wants the best for their children, including the best education possible. While public schools offer a comprehensive education aligned with national standards, many parents choose to send their kids to a private school to ensure a well-rounded education with additional opportunities.
If you’ve considered this alternative route, you’ve probably wondered what the average cost of private schools really is. We’ve got your guide to what you’ll need to spend to get your child into a private school.
What are the Different Types of Private School?
There are different types of private schools, and each has a different tuition model. It’s important to know which school you’d like to send your child to before looking into cost, as they can be vastly different.
- Traditional Private School.These schools, which can be Kindergarten through graduation, aren’t funded by the federal government like public schools. It’s why they require a fee to attend. They may be run as for or non-profit, depending on the organization that runs them.
- Boarding School.These types of private schools also include food and lodging in the cost of tuition. They create a special kind of community because students and faculty live on campus together. These schools are a blend of athletes, artists, and scholars.
- Language Immersion School.The classes at these schools are taught in another language. Partial immersion begins at 50% of classes being taught in the language, up to 100% immersion with all classes in the chosen foreign language. These schools are chosen by parents who want their children to develop fluency in another language.
- Montessori Schools.Montessori schools put a great deal of emphasis on learning through exploration and individual interests. They are designed in three-year blocks, where children will have the same classmates for the entire term. They also focus heavily on the home environment, which means Montessori is a lifestyle choice, not just a school.
- Religious Schools.These are also called parochial schools, or private schools attached to a specific church. These differ from a traditional private school that is affiliated with a religious organization. The first is funded by the entity it’s attached to, the second is entirely funded by student tuition.
What are the Benefits of a Private School?
There are several different reasons a parent may choose to send their child to a private school.
- Better academic opportunities.Most private schools offer expanded extracurricular activities and advanced placement classes.
- Higher test scores and college placement opportunities.Privately schooled children generally score better on college placement exams than their publicly schooled peers. Further, private schools boast an almost 100% rate of their students attending their first-choice college.
- Smaller classes.Private schools typically have smaller class sizes than public schools, allowing teachers to more individually coach each student.
- Parental involvement.Parents are encouraged at a higher level to be part of their children’s education. Instead of brief parent-teacher conferences, parents are kept involved and apprised on a regular basis of student progress.
- Better resources.Because they don’t depend on government funding and receive both tuition and donations from alumni, they typically have higher quality resources in their classrooms.
What if the Average Cost of Private Schools?
Now that you understand what each of the different schools entails, we can begin to break down the cost of each.
According to the Private School Review, the average cost of private school during the 2019 – 2020 school year was $10,676, down from $14,575 the previous year. The costs vary depending on the type of private school and the state it’s located in.
Nebraska has the lowest average annual cost at $3,565. The East Coast boasts the top five states for annual cost, with Connecticut coming in at a whopping $24,433 average.
Elementary programs are generally several thousand dollars cheaper than high schools annually. This is contributed to the competition between options – at lower grade levels there are more choices for parents. By high school, there are only a few options for continuing education and so the cost increases.
Location within each state also plays a factor. You’ll pay more for a school located in a bustling city than one on the prairies of Kansas, for instance.
The Cost of Different Kinds of Private School
Private school cost varies wildly within those averages, dependent not just on the location, but the type of school.
Boarding schools top the list, with some costing up to $40,000 or $50,000 a year in tuition. However, this includes the cost of room and board, food and many extracurricular programs.
Religious schools offer the lowest tuitions of all private schools, with some as low as only several thousand a year. They also generally offer the most in scholarships for students wanting to attend who may not otherwise be able to afford it.
Montessori schools have the largest gap between the highest and lowest tuitions. This is because there is such a broad spectrum of schools that fall under the Montessori heading. There are small programs with less than 50 students in total, and large schools that have hundreds of participants. Tuition will depend on where the school is located, how big it is, and what it offers.
Gifted schools that focus on developing specific talents are going to be on the higher end of the tuition scale. Because they employ teachers who are credentialed in these specific areas of study, a student will pay more to have access to the teaching.
Are There Additional Fees Related to Private School?
When figuring out the annual tuition of a school, you’ll want to factor in additional costs. These include one-time registration fees, books, transportation, and meals, if they aren’t included in the tuition.
Many private schools also require a uniform that can add hundreds or even thousands to the cost. Private schools also frequently host trips overseas or to special locations that might require additional funds to attend.
Sending Your Child to Private School
While the average cost of private schools is a much greater expense than a public school, the good news is there are financial aid and scholarship programs available for many. When looking for a private school in your area, research the programs each school may have that help parents afford tuition.
And be sure to check out the other parenting articles on our site for more information!