October 13, 2009

What Does Private School Cost?

According to the Department of Education the average cost of tuition for one year of private school for K-12 is $6,600. But there can be a wide variation in costs.

You will generally pay more the higher the grade so high school is more than than middle which might be more than elementary school. Average cost for elementary school is $5,049 and average cost for secondary school is $8,412.

I used the site Private School Review to find data on various schools. They have listings of private schools with basic data on the enrollment, student : teacher ratio and nature of the school. The site might list the tuition but usually I had to go direct to the schools website to find their tuition & fee rates.

As with most things the costs vary a lot depending on region. A private high school in Boise Idaho might run you $6500 a year while a school in Huntington Beach California could run you $13,275

School costs may also vary some depending on the nature of the school. Catholic or other religiously affiliated schools may be cheaper due to support from the church and secular schools may be more expensive as they lack church funding.

Schools in my area vary in price from $5,100 to $22,500 per year depending on the grade and the school. One school a couple miles from us has K-8 grades that range in price from $5,100 to $6,900. Another K-8 school is $6,600 a year for all grades. A local private high school has tuition of $9,400 a year. All of these schools are religiously affiliated. A non-sectarian school in a nearby town has tuition rates of $19,500 for grades 1-5 up to to $22,500 range for high school grades.

Schools may charge some hefty fees in addition to the tuition. The expensive non-sectarian school in my area has a $800 bus fee, book fees of $100 to $850, sport fees up to $150 per sport and other fees. You could end up paying an extra $1,800 more a year in fees.

Time and other financial commitments might be required. Other schools may require parents to participate in fund raising and volunteer activities. One school here requires parents to volunteer 35 hours a year or pay $15 per hour and buy $2,200 worth of certificates at local merchants or pay $150 in fees.

Discounts, scholarships, tuition or other aid may be available. Many of the religious schools have a discounted tuition rate for people who are members of the church. People with low income may be able to qualify for financial aide or tuition scholarships.


  1. This is why buying a house in a good school district is so great. Your property taxes are going towards something = education costs!

    Hope to see you at FS one day. My goal is to be free by 40 :)

  2. The national average for public schools is $10,500 (look it up if you don't believe me) and private is $6,600. Most would agree a private education is better than a public one. If private is nearly half the cost why don't we privatize it all out?

  3. Tuition at private schools is NOT equivalent to the amount spent per student.

    Private schools get other funding via gifts and other sources as well as drawing on assets in endowments.

    For example, a Catholic high school near me charges about $10,000 a year in tuition but they spend $14,000 per student each year. The other $4000 is obtained via gifts and other funds. By comparison my state spends less than $10,000 per student in public schools.



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