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Can You Afford Kindergarten?

Can You Afford Kindergarten?

As summer draws to a close, some parents are wondering how they are going to afford everything on their children’s back to school shopping list. Parents of children enrolled in private school this fall take that worry to the next level — they’re trying to figure out how to pay for the high cost of kindergarten. That is not a typo: kindergarten. Taking out loans for education is no longer strictly associated with the 18+ age group. According to, the number of parents seeking tuition assistance as early as kindergarten is on the rise.

Families with incomes of $150,000 or more who applied for private kindergarten through 12th grade school aid accounted for about 20 percent (an increase over only six percent in 2002-03) of those applying for tuition assistance in 2010-11, says the National Association of Independent Schools. One leading lender for private K-12 schools nationwide, Your Tuition Solution, reports that the total dollar amount of precollege loans parents requested this year has increased from 2011.

Tuition at private K-12 schools is escalating in the largest urban areas of the United States. At Horace Mann School, located in the Bronx, NY, the cost of kindergarten is currently $37,695 (with additional fees). When the start-up school Avenues, located in New York City, opens their doors for the first time next month, they will charge $39,750 for yearly preschool tuition, making them one of the most expensive preschools in Manhattan.

With competition at some private K-12 schools just as high as their tuition, and inflation pushing costs up, the motive of some parents who seek loans to finance kindergarten might be connected to making sure that their children are accepted at a competitive college. Yet, although students from private K-12 schools tend to win more scholarships, it may not be enough to compensate for the expenditure.

The popularity of precollege loans has not decreased their drawbacks. Contrary to financing a college education, which can be subsidized with the help of federal loans, the K-12 loan market is private. According to some consumer advocates, private loan markets — which tend to be unregulated — leave students and their families exposed to abuses such as punitive terms and little or no possibility of deferment or forgiveness of their loans. Only time will tell if the soaring cost of private kindergarten will push more parents towards public school, or lead them further into debt.

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Photo Credit: Darren Hester

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8:32AM PDT on Oct 10, 2012

yikes. thank goodness im homeschooling

6:15PM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

why do they need to attend private school?

4:41PM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

This is no different than what single mother's go though trying to pay for daycare with a low wage job. I feel no sympathy for those who feel that public schools are beneath them.

3:28PM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

Thank you. Rich and poor deserve quality education, therefore, is the responsibility of politicians and governments provide quality education. After all, we pay a lot of taxes that must be reverted to the population, in the form of public education, especially for those less fortunate.

12:02PM PDT on Aug 21, 2012


11:53AM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

Your child's education and health should be top priority in your home. Having said that, I think pre-school through a Master Degree should be part of the public school system. An educated society benefits everyone.

11:22AM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

I am grateful and GLAD that I live in a town that takes their public schools and their students' education seriously! Our public schools have consistently rated in the top 5 for our county every year, and the staff's commitment to the quality of education the students receive shows. If it wasn't for that, then my only option would be homeschooling because all the private schools in our county are Christian schools run by churches of the more fundamentalist stripe (one that's run by the Baptist megachurch in the county seat brags about how it's "training the next generation of Godly leaders" by using a Bible-based education), and I want my kids to get a good, well-rounded, scientifically/historically accurate and SECULAR education. Not to mention being non-Christians and having no desire whatsoever to convert, we'd be about as welcome as a skunk at a wedding!

Not that we rely solely on the public school; I homeschooled our children for preschool for a combination of financial and religious freedom reasons, and I also "supplement" their education with some additional homeschooling during summer vacations and school holidays/snow days. Not only does it keep them from driving me crazy and help prevent boredom, it engages them and they enjoy all the various "lessons-that-aren't-lessons" such as trips to community festivals, identifying different species during fishing trips, looking at water samples from creeks through the microscope, and even growing sugar and salt crystal

10:11AM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

Kindergarten is more than just a baby sitting service. Early education is really very important for a child's future educational development.
We need to get rid of the politicians who are demonizing education and educators.

9:52AM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

This is so sad. There's no need to drive poor famlies deeper into debt.

9:46AM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

Home schooling is going to replace gougers like that eventually. It has to. They're deliberately pricing "formalized education" out of the reach of all but the excessively elite.

There is a reason they've been cutting education funding for decades...FOR YOU...but not for themselves...

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