31 January 2012

$40,000/year for tuition. High school tuition.

From an article about private schools in the New York City area:
Over the past 10 years, the median price of first grade in the city has gone up by 48 percent, adjusted for inflation... Indeed, this year’s tuition at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory ($38,340 for 12th grade) and Horace Mann ($37,275 for the upper school) is higher than Harvard’s ($36,305)...

“Within one to two years, every independent school will cost more than $40,000,” said one board member at a top school... Parents are reluctant to complain, at least with their names attached, for fear of hurting students’ standing (or siblings’ admissions chances). But privately, many questioned paying more for the same... “People don’t want to put a price tag on their children’s future, so they are willing to pay more than many of them can afford.”

As at most companies, a majority of the costs — and the fastest-growing increases — come from salaries and benefits, especially as notoriously low-paying private schools try to compete with public school compensation.

“Some New York schools have had a 5, 10 or as high as 30 percent increase in the cost of their medical plans,” said Mark Lauria, the executive director of the New York State Association of Independent Schools.

And paying teachers is only a piece of the puzzle. Léman Manhattan Preparatory School has a gym whose floor is cleaned twice a day. The Trinity School has three theaters, six art studios, two tennis courts, a pool and a diving pool.
When I was in high school, I'll bet the gym floor was cleaned once a week before home games.  Maybe.  There's more at the New York Times, plus over 500 comments.


  1. Unlike this high school, Harvard provides free tuition to the non-rich. Parents make under $100K/year? Get in, and you can go for free.

    1. Free tuition for everyone whose parents make <100K? Or just tuition help?

    2. You seem to be right. I found more information here -


      So if I had kids, they could go to Harvard for free. Interesting to think about.

      Thanks, Maia.

    3. One more aspect. When you use their calculator -


      - it also (reasonably) factors in assets, not just income. And after plugging in 0 for assets, they charge $4,500 based on "student summer work" and "student term-time work."

  2. When I graduated ('95) my high school tuition was around $20k. It's risen to $44,450. When my kids start high school in about a decade, I'm thinking they won't attend my alma mater.

    1. I should probably have included that it is a boarding school.

  3. Interesting, and just amazing...
    Over here, in France, we paid in 2007 for a year in junior high school (an excellent private "collège" from 11 to 14 years old) 1187.63 euros, lunches included. In 2007, for a year in senior high school (the same private "lycée" from 15 to 18), it cost 580.10 euros, meals not included.
    Now my elder son is in his 6th year at university : 476.57 € (for the whole year) and the youngest in his first : 181.57. The difference between the two is the social sécurity which is no longer free after 20 years old.

    I've always wondered why young americans didn't come to France to study ?

    1. My graduation school tuition was USD600/yr ($300 one year when I got a partial scholarship). That was a long time ago, but it's one reason it's hard for me to grasp what modern parents must face.

  4. In my town, there is a private, expensive private school that is not affiliated with any religious group. "St.___". I joke he that he is "the patron saint of the affluently afflicted".

    I wonder about value. I know of a few graduates there who attend the same public university as my daughter, who went to public high school.

    Do the students really receive $40,000 worth of education each year? Or is the investment in connections to the powerful and privileged?


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