How Much Does Elementary School Cost?

Costs main cover image
Get information about programs near you or online.
$ Public Schools: Free; extra fees $10-$3,500 $ $ Private Schools: $2,000-$40,000+ a year

Elementary school, often called grammar or grade school, in general, includes kindergarten to fifth-grade students; while the sixth, seventh and eighth grades are usually attending middle school.

Some elementary schools cover kindergarten to eighth grade.

Typical Costs

The funding of the public schools is done through local, state and federal sources.

The public schools have no tuition fee, however many school districts apply fees of $10-$100 or more for school supplies, special programs field trips, etc.

For example, Elementary School Mary Munford in Richmond, VA, charges $45 for kindergarten ($15 activity fee and $30 fieldtrip fee), followed by $53 for first grade, $70 for second, $60 for third, $80 for fourth and $70 for fifth grade (which means $15 activity fee and $25 school supply fee, $5 reading program fee and $25 fieldtrip fee).

Since many states fund only a half-day of kindergarten (approximately three hours), no fee is paid for students attending the traditional half-day programs.

Other public schools charge tuition for full-day kindergarten (duration of six hours, matching the first- to fifth-grade schedule) with an annual fee of $1,000-$5,000.

Elementary students private school tuition ranges between $2,000-$50,000 or more per year, depending on its location, the teaching style and focus of the school, the ratio of teachers to pupils, the fact if it is religious or nonsectarian, and the demand.

The average private school tuition for elementary students in 2007-2008 estimated by the National Center for Education Statistics was $6,733 for all private schools; $4,944 for the Catholic schools; $6,576 at other religious institutions; and $15,945 for nonsectarian schools.

The average parish elementary school tuition according to the National Catholic Education Association was $3,673.

For example, the average tuition at nine inner-city Catholic schools in Cincinnati, is $4,600, with scholarships provided by a nonprofit foundation.

A report by the National Association of Independent Schools informs that its members request an average median annual tuition for first or third grade of $17,669 for day students and $43,680 for boarding school elementary students.

The costs are much higher for the specialized programs.

In 2012-13, the tuition fee at Landmark School in Massachusetts, specializing in students with learning disabilities,  was $48,200 for day students and $64,200 for residential pupils.

Additional Costs

Before and after school care can cost $100-$500 or more per month at public schools and $300-$800 or more monthly at private schools, if the parents are working.

The students in most private schools and some public schools are required to wear a school uniform, which can cost $25-$200 per outfit for a uniform or $100-$500 or more per if the outfit includes specific uniform items that should be bought from an official provider.

According to the School Nutrition Association the average price of the public school lunch is $2.08 and $3.42 to bring a bag lunch.

The low-income students can get free lunches or lunch at reduced-price of 40 cents maximum.

Since some private schools include the cost of lunch in the tuition, they come with an annual charge of $500-$1,000 or more.

For example, the Swain School in Allentown, PA charges $880 a year for grade school lunches.

Free bus service is usually offered for the low-income students at some public schools yet other students need to buy an annual bus pass for $100-$325.

For example, Jeffco Public Schools in Colorado charges $150-$200 per child.

Private school transportation can cost $300-$2,000 or parents may be responsible for providing transportation to their kids.

For example, depending on the student’s location, Ravenscroft in Raleigh, NC charges annual bus fees of $360-$1,750.


Useful tips on finding financial aid for private school tuition are offered by

Great deal of the private schools offer sibling discounts of 5%-25% for several children from the same family.

Others provide full or partial scholarships and even charge no fees for students from families with insufficient income.

Shopping For Elementary School

Check lists tips when searching for an elementary school.

Go on campus tour, require info on educational philosophy and class sizes.

Consider the local public schools oand the schools that are members of the National Catholic Educational Association, Association of Waldorf Schools of North America and the National Association of Independent Schools.

Leave a Comment

Get information about programs near you or online.