How Much Does High School Cost?

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$ Public High School: $5-$700+ Fees $ $ Private High School: $6,000-$35,000+ $ $ $ Boarding School: $30,000-$80,000+

High schools cover the students from ninth through twelfth grade.

The enrollment varies from a couple hundred to a couple of thousand students.

The choice is among standard academic high schools, private and public high schools that provide college prep, arts and sciences, technology, and religious studies.

Typical Costs

The no fee at the public high schools, means cost for textbooks and supplies, physical education and technology, sports or other activities can reach $5-$200 or more per item.

Thus the total fees can be $100-$700 or more a school year.

Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202 in Illinois can be set as an example.

It requires a $30 activity fee, $170 for textbooks, $9-$40 per consumable workbook,  $200-$250 for driver’s education, $129 for competitive sports, $24 for non-competitive sports, $74 for choir, $24 for chess club, $63 for speech team and $106 for band.

Based on the school focus, the ratio teachers/pupils, the location and school reputation, the private high school tuition can vary from $ 6,000 -$35,000.

As a rule, the religion-based schools are less expensive than nonsectarian schools.

The average high school parish tuition is $9,622 according to The National Catholic Education Association.

For example, the standard tuition at St. Monica Catholic High School in Santa Monica is $8,900 and$8,000 for families who are active members of a Roman Catholic parish in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Lutheran High School in Parker, CO require $8,900 standard tuition or $8,180 for members of an associated congregation.

The schools members of the National Association of Independent Schools charge average high school tuition of $22,745 for day students.

The tuition fee is $19,175 at The Colorado Springs School; compared to $27,700 at Detroit Country Day School; and $34,268 at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC.

The boarding high school can cost $30,000-$80,000 or more a year.

The member schools of the National Association of Independent Schools request an average median of $45,219.

Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School in Waltham, MA boarding school costs $46,000 and $53,925 at Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley, CA.

Additional Costs

Some public and private schools require school uniforms for their students, which costs between $25-$500 per outfit based on school requirements.

Free bus service is usually offered by the public schools for their low-income students, while other students need an annual bus pass for $100-$400 based on the distance travelled.

High school bus pass at Northampton Public Schools in Massachusetts charges $303 per year.

The on-campus student parking at some public schools costs $50-$400 a year.

The annual student parking fee South High School in Newton, MA is $360.

Parent may be responsible for providing transportation to a private school; or it can cost $300-$2,000 or more.

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


Discounts are available if the entire tuition is paid in advance and not in instalments.

For example, the tuition at Tampa Preparatory School in Florida is $19,025 if paid in full by the previous July; $19,565 if paidin two installments or $20,235 when paid monthly.

The sibling discounts at some schools are between 5%-25%.

Chicago Waldorf School  secures a 15% sibling discount.

Useful tips on finding financial aid for private school tuition are published at

Online public high school courses for free or for a nominal fee ($10-$25) are available at some states.

Some University-sponsored and independent study high schools usually require $1,000-$16,000 for a four-year online high school program.

A free independent study program is offered by some public schools which allow students to earn a high school diploma.

For example, SOAR Independent Study program is offered by the Mark Twain High School in San Diego, CA.

Shopping For High School

  • Visit the campus, get familiar with the educational philosophy, check the class sizes.
  • Go through the list of the local public schools, including the National Association of Independent Schools, the National Catholic Educational Association members, or the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America.

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