How a Big City Education Can Cost Over $1 Million
Business + Economy

How a Big City Education Can Cost Over $1 Million


The New York Post recently published a heartbreaking story yesterday of a 5-year-old tyke pulled from his $39,000 a year pre-school because of a dispute over a fundraising auction.

His family is suing the Cathedral School of St. John the Divine for rigging his mother’s alleged $50,000 bid on a painting done by tiny children. This young heir will now be forced to attend a $20,000 a year school and who knows what that will mean for his future: Imperfect mastery of Latin? AP test failures? College at a state school?!

A few years back, I tallied how much an education could cost parents if they sent their children to the priciest private schools in Manhattan; less than three years later it is woefully out of date as the cost of education continues to soar. So let’s see what the new total is, shall we?


PRESCHOOL: This covers ages 2-4 (usually starting at two and a half as children need to be out of diapers when they start) but let’s say your child spends three years there. To send your children to the prestigious and much sought-after school at the 92nd Street Y, it will cost you $28,644 a year for a 9 am - 2 pm school day, Monday through Friday. That will run you just a few dollars shy of $86,000 total...for a five hour school day.

LOWER SCHOOL: Now that your child has mastered the art of finger painting and has stopped pulling that other kid’s hair, she’s ready for Kindergarten-5th known as “lower school” at the pricy Riverdale Country School. This will run you $40,750/year plus a $1,000 registration fee for new students which amounts to $245,000 total. If they don’t know more about computers than you by the time this ends, you’ve been ripped off.

UPPER SCHOOL/HIGH SCHOOL: If your children continue at Riverdale you are looking at a bump to $42,000/year--more than most colleges. For this 6th-12th grade education the bill will run you $294,000 total but at least they’ll know Latin.

COLLEGE: If your teen graduates high school and decides she wants to stay in the New York area, she can attend Sarah Lawrence--the most expensive college in the country. This will run you at least $61,000 a year(likely more depending on your meal plan). Assuming your son or daughter learned enough at Riverdale to graduate college in four years, this means a $244,000 price tag. This does include room and board, but doesn’t include books and other incidentals. A steal at half the price! 

LAW SCHOOL: To make up for the fact that you’ve invested hundreds of thousands in your child’s education, she darn well better choose a profession that will earn some of it back, so law school’s a good bet. Columbia University’s prestigious three-year program runs $82,795 a year which means you’ll drop $248,000 on (hopefully) your final tuition checks.

The grand total: $1,117,000

It’s possible that if you sent your kids to public school and invested that million dollars in a medium risk fund, they’d be set for life…unless they want to send their kids to New York City private schools.  But they probably wouldn’t know Latin.