Are Private Schools Worth the Value?
December 2016

Are Private Schools Worth the Value?
Why you may consider opting out of public school, and how you can afford it

All parents arrive at a time when they must decide whether to send their children to a public or private school, both of which offer their own sets of pros and cons. Below, you'll find the benefits of a giving your child a private school education and some tips on how you may pay for it.

Benefits of a Private School Education

Most parents who opt to send their children to a private school do so because of the school's potential to lead their children to a better future. Many experts believe that students who attend private schools not only get higher test scores but also have better options going into college. That is due in large part to the dedicated staff at most private institutions that focus solely on postsecondary admissions and in-depth college counseling.

Private schools are also praised for their smaller class sizes, or student-to-teacher ratio, leading to more individualized attention and greater attention to detail on the part of the teachers. The teachers are also typically given more flexibility to teach how they want, while the parents are granted superior access to information on how the school is being run.

"That hand-holding and the connections from the private school can put [students] at an advantage when applying for top colleges, stacking the odds in his or her favor that they will come out of school and land a high-paying job," wrote Donna Fuscaldo for Investopedia.

Statistics back up Fuscaldo's claims. According to research from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis published in a 2012 Business Insider article, private high school graduates earn 2.6 percent more than their public school counterparts and, significantly, private religious school grads earn a 13.6 percent wage premium.

Paying for Private School

Data for a 2014 piece in Time magazine ( found that, after accounting for the cost of taxes and other unexpected expenses of public schools, private schools can actually save families up to $53,000 over the course of a child's K-12 education. In most circumstances, however, private schools cost up to $10,000 a year (the national average for the 2016-17 school year is $9,582, according to Private School Review). If you decide the benefits of a pricy private school education to be worthwhile, here's how you might be able to afford the costs:

  • Plan early and start saving as soon as possible.
  • Prepare for additional expenses (including costs for uniforms, lab fees, field trips, extracurricular activities, fundraising efforts, etc.).
  • Utilize financial aid opportunities.

Regardless of price, parents should be thoroughly researching area public school and private school opportunities. It all comes down to value: whether the school's moral values are aligned with that of your family's and whether the financial value is worth it in the long run, which is ultimately derived from how your children apply themselves to their studies. In the end, determining whether a private school is the right fit must be done a person-by-person basis.


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