Private School Tuition

How Much Is Too Much to Pay For Your Child’s Education?

Mom Jeanine
October 11, 2011


Good Question, hot topic, Jeanine Edwards

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My daughter turns 4 next year, which is when preschool officially begins here in N.Y.C. As is common here in the city, I’ve already started applying for preschool programs for her to attend in 2012. Not only are lots of the applications due almost a full year before the school year begins, but there are interviews, too. Yup, my 3-year-old has to be interviewed for preschool.

Believe it or not, none of this has phased me so far. I want a school to accept my daughter for who she is so as bizarre as it sounds, I actually don’t mind the interview. What is hanging me up, however, is the tuition. We all know childcare is wildly expensive, but these preschools are even crazier. I’m talking $35,000 per school year. And that’s only for a 4-year-old. The older the kid gets, the more expensive the tuition becomes. And $35K is actually the cheapest school I’m looking at. The others go all the way up to $40,000.

Some schools do offer financial aid, but not until kindergarten. That means I’d be responsible for the full amount for my daughter’s first year. I’m a single mom, so if my daughter gets in we’re going to have to make some serious sacrifices. Like major sacrifices–I might have to move in with a relative for a year because I probably won’t be able to pay rent and tuition. But as odd as it sounds, I’m willing to give up a lot of the luxuries we have now so that she can attend a great school. Am I crazy?

A few of my family memebers think so. My dad, for instance, thinks it’s just unreasonable to spend that kind of money on school for a 4-year-old. “What are they teaching her for $35,000?” he asks. My mom says I should start considering Catholic school instead.

But I have my heart set on my daughter going to private Pre-K next year. And yes, even if that means I’ll be spending $35,000 for it. I’m sorry, but public school–especially public school here in New York City–just isn’t good enough.

What’s your take? Would you ever spend $30,000 on private school tuition for your child? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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  • Hannah
    October 11, 2011

  • I COMPLETELY understand your situation. Growing up in Brooklyn, my mom wanted me to go to public school, but she got one look at the education going on there, and promptly decided that it wasn’t even an option. She was a single mom too, and we went without a lot of things. At the time, they were things that seemed important, but looking back, they didn’t matter one bit. I got an amazing education, and what I learned there, even more than facts, has carried me through my whole life.

    I learned discipline, structure, and responsibility. I learned that academic achievement came with its own rewards, and to constantly stretch myself beyond what I thought were my own limits. True, your daughter can learn these things at home, and true, paying more money doesn’t necessarily mean a BETTER education, but if it’s the place you want for her, then I echo what my mom always said when someone told her she was crazy for paying my tuition: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”


  • NeverForPreK
    October 11, 2011

  • Ignorance is the only option to paying $35,000? We’re talking preschool here! You say that they have financial assistance starting at the Kindergarten level; this tells me that even the “system” does not view Pre-K as essential. I would save the money and apply it to her true primary education. You seem to put forth a lot of effort being a mom, and with your determination you can teach her the prerequisites for Kindergarten at home. She would probably even be more prepared than most of the kids whose parents will start out $35,000 in debt at that point. Just a thought.

  • Melissa Misenheimer
    October 11, 2011

  • I would pay 35,000…if I could afford it and other bills. It’s not fair to friends and family to put the burden on them just because I would want to put my daughter in a specific type of school. My daughter, my choice, and MY responsibility.

    If you have family members willing to help then awesome but expect to pay them back

  • stephanie
    October 11, 2011

  • I would rather take that $35K per year and apply it to a college fund…where she will need it the most. To place burden on family for a 4 year old who can excel wonderfully homeschooled with private tutor or consider another location/state, is wrong. Let her be a 4 year old and teach her also onto of what a public school does. I worked for private and public pre schools. Not too much difference in academic. You are paying for salaries that isn’t funded by state and slightly less classroom ratio. Irrisponsible to put yourself in debt before she is in grade school.

  • Mich
    October 11, 2011

  • Um- yeah 35k for preschool is absurd unless ur filthy rich and have that kind of money growing on trees. I think u should rethink ur options.

  • Lizzy
    October 11, 2011

  • SAVE your money until next year! YOU definitely can prepare your child, more than adequately, for Kindergarten! SAVE your money! Moving in with relatives for one year is certainly not worth the 35K. Your daughter will remain in her familiar surroundings and treasure the “learning time” she has had with YOU. Plenty of years ahead to HAVE to pay for children’s education….especially college….you would be WISE to SAVE every penny for that!

  • Hannah
    October 11, 2011

  • If Jeanine is a working mom, and clearly, she IS, how is she going to home-school her daughter?

    Now, granted, I’m assuming that she’s explored all the other schooling options available to her, and has found that this place is the best to fit her daughter’s needs, but the idea that she can home school, when she is busy working like most of us, is absurd. If she’s looked at the public schools, and she’s looked at the Catholic schools, and she’s thought, “No, my little girl needs the care that these people can provide,” then I say go for it, if she can!

  • Stephanie
    October 11, 2011

  • My son is 3 and in preschool right now. The main “educational” goals of preschool are more about getting them used to taking direction and working well with others/making friends than anything else, and even as a working mother you have the time to work with your child a little on their numbers and letters if they need extra help. I would save your money until kindergarten.

    Also, I realize things must be very different in NY, but $35k is more than we make in an entire year…

  • Cam | Bibs & Baubles
    October 14, 2011

  • We pay over 20k for day care here in L.A. Our son is about to turn TWO. Sadly, seeing 35k for pre-school didn’t shock me at all.

  • Jenni D.
    October 16, 2011

  • Utterly ridiculous. Even if I could afford 35K a year for my kid to go to school I wouldn’t do that. Especially pre-k! I mean my kids already know all of the things they’re supposed to learn in pre-k and kindergarten. And did I sit them down and make them “learn” NO! I played with them. Maybe you should invest in educating yourself so you can better educate your daughter.

    Also, I don’t think the expensive education is any better, it just makes you feel better that your little one is privileged. Do you want your daughter to think she has to throw money at something to be better, or work hard to be better. Rationalize it all you want, but it’s stupid. Just like people try to rationalize getting a super expensive stroller when a cheap one does the same job for less money, but they want the prestige of the fancy stroller.

    I’d rather take 35k and travel with my kids and show them the world, but we don’t have that kind of money. Instead we do research on countries they’re interested in at 2 and 4 years old, yes. So take that 35k pre-school! I say invest your time in your child’s education, it’ll do a lot more than all the money you can throw at it.