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42 States Where Private School Costs Less Than Public School

·3 min read
Cesar Okada / Getty Images
Cesar Okada / Getty Images
  • Public elementary and secondary schools, which include charter schools, spend an average of $15,205 per student.

  • In more than three-quarters of the states, the cost to attend private school is lower than the cost to attend public school.

  • The state with the lowest average private school cost is South Dakota.

Parents might assume that sending their children to private school is too expensive. But in most states, the average annual private school tuition is actually less than the average amount spent per child in a U.S. public school, including charter schools.

The average amount that a public elementary or secondary school, including charter schools, in the United States spends per student is $15,205 in 2021, according to Public School Review. The national average for annual private school tuition in 2021 is approximately $11,645, according to Private School Review. The difference is that parents foot the bill for private schools, whereas the state foots it in public schools.

Find Out: Can You Afford Education in America at These Prices?
See: How Parents Should Invest Now To Pay For College Later

States Where Private School Is Less Expensive

In 42 states, the average private school cost is less than the average annual per-pupil public school expenditure. Those states, and the average private school tuition in each of those states for 2021, according to Private School Review, are:

State

Average Cost of Private School

Alaska

$6,790

Alabama

$7,282

Arkansas

$6,107

Arizona

$10,508

California

$14,975

Colorado

$12,219

Delaware

$11,158

Florida

$9,160

Georgia

$10,675

Hawaii

$13,206

Iowa

$5,268

Idaho

$8,293

Illinois

$8,273

Indiana

$7,120

Kansas

$7,937

Kentucky

$7,159

Louisiana

$6,925

Maryland

$13,054

Michigan

$7,191

Minnesota

$6,994

Missouri

$9,998

Mississippi

$5,542

Montana

$8,771

North Carolina

$9,947

Nebraska

$3,797

New Jersey

$13,936

New Mexico

$8,884

Nevada

$10,561

Ohio

$7,001

Oklahoma

$6,514

Oregon

$9,775

Pennsylvania

$11,637

South Carolina

$6,909

South Dakota

$3,624

Tennessee

$10,185

Texas

$9,866

Utah

$11,204

Virginia

$14,274

Washington

$11,812

Wisconsin

$4,591

West Virginia

$6,239

Wyoming

$7,238

Related: A Parents’ Guide To Saving for Education

Choosing the Best School Doesn’t Mean Choosing the Most Expensive

School choice allows public education funds to be used for any type of school — public, private, charter, even home schooling. The money that is allocated to each child from the public school budget essentially follows the child to the type of school the parent selects.

Check Out: Is the Cost of an Elite Preschool Worth It? Experts Weigh In

This doesn’t mean that you’ll save money if you send your child to private school: Public schools are funded by taxes that you would pay regardless of where your child is educated, or whether you have children in school or not. But it raises some interesting issues around the cost to educate a child, and the issue of school choice. When looking at the schools available to their children, parents have several education quality factors to consider because a high or low cost does not automatically correlate with the quality of the school, whether public, charter or private.

Click to keep reading about how much teachers make in every state.

More From GOBankingRates

Cynthia Measom contributed to the reporting for this article.

Last updated: Aug. 10, 2021

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 42 States Where Private School Costs Less Than Public School