Is it Worth Sending Your Child to Private School?

Is it worth sending your child to private school? The average cost of private school tuition across the United States is $9,638 for elementary school and $14,522 for high school. (Source: Private School Review)

Assuming your kid goes to private school from age 4 (junior kindergarten) to age 17 (the end of high school) and a 2% inflation rate, the total cumulative cost of tuition is $178,495. That’s a shit-load of money for something that is free for the rest of us schmucks. And that doesn’t even cover incidentals, like ski trips to Aspen or whatever else rich kids do. Trust me, you’re not sending your kid to private school in Wal-Mart clothes. Private school is an expensive lifestyle choice.

The wealthy send their kids to private school for valid reasons: a rich educational experience, exposure to programs the public school system cannot cover, the cool uniforms. Most importantly, the rich send their kids to private school to network with other rich kids (who will eventually become rich adults).

I’ll admit there are probably lifetime benefits for some who attend private schools – i.e. connections. However, I have seen many private school graduates simply follow the same career path as the rest of us. Private school certainly isn’t a guaranteed ticket to skip the line, but I guess it sometimes helps.

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So Is It Worth Sending Your Child to Private School?

If instead of sending your kid to private school, what if you invested the money in a moderate portfolio earning 6% per year? If you did this, by the time your kid is aged 30, the portfolio would be worth almost $541,000.

So what would be more useful? A private school education that may or may not give your child a head start in life? Or $541,000 on their 30th birthday?

That’s a serious chunk of money that could be put towards a home or new business.

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  1. PT

    I don’t know how did you get those number for private school.
    My child just finish high school in June of this year. Cost me about $4000 CAD per year in Vancouver, B.C. (A real private Catholic school, It was established by the Catholic Independent School Society of Vancouver Archdiocese to serve the educational needs of its twenty-three designated parishes. Foud in1923,) You don’t have to start your kids in elementary but 5 years in high school is a must.
    You can obviously see the difference behavior and appear between a kid in public vs private high school like day and night. For me it worth ever pennies spent. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.


    1. Dumb Wealth

      $4000 a year is pretty cheap. The numbers I used are national averages for the US and sourced in the article. The cost varies across the US – more expensive in places like New York and California. If you can make it work and think it’s worthwhile then go for it. I’m just presenting an alternative.

      Is high school in BC still 5 years? 4 years in ON. What year were you paying $4000?


  2. Chris Pederson

    I like the idea of sending my kids to a private school so they can get exposure to certain things that public schools don’t have. I’ll have to talk to my wife first though. She’ll be the one interacting with the school the most because I work all the time.


    1. Dumb Wealth

      I suppose you have to look at it on a case by case basis. Not all private schools are the same and not all public schools are the same.