New York City’s prestigious prep schools have long been known to break the bank with their tuition bills, but the most recent fee announced by Riverdale Country School has many gasping.
According to a Yahoo! Finance article, the new cost for incoming high-school students has risen to $40,450, the first time a NYC private school as topped $40,000.
The story, which originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal, reports that private school costs have shot up 79 percent in the past ten years for NYC residents.
The school, which just borders Yonkers and is situated in the southwest Bronx, is called one of the most competitive private schools in the U.S., and it is also one of the oldest and most revered.
Trinity School, another top-notch college prep school located on W.91st St. on the Upper West Side, also lamented increasing their costs of tuition, noting how high prices can negatively impact the student population.
"…You may find yourself with a very different population in your school than you want to have," said John Allman, head of school at Trinity, in the article. "We think it’s increasingly difficult for families across a socioeconomic spectrum to consider Trinity as a viable economic option."
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According to the piece, Trinity raised its tuition and fees by 4.3% to $38,180 for seniors. Trinity officials estimated an additional hike of $1,000 for extra costs, like books and trips, whereas Riverdale’s tuition is all-inclusive, the article reports.
In an email, Dominic A.A. Randolph, the head of Riverdale Country School, said he was "perturbed" by the ever-increasing costs of education, the article noted.
Other tony schools, like the Hewitt School, on E. 75th St., and Ethical Culture Fieldston School, on Central Park West, will see similarly steep prices in the coming academic year and, as the article notes, have hence outpaced some of the country’s top Ivy League schools including Princeton and Harvard. (See a comparison chart, Adding it Up, at Y! Finance).
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Compared with the 60% of incoming college students who need financial aid, by contrast, New York City independent prep schools assisted 19.9% of students in 2010-11, according to the National Association of Independent Schools, notes the piece.
"The question is, when does it stop?" said George Davison, the head of school at Grace Church School, which saw a 6% increase in tuition, the article notes. "And you have to assume that there will be a point at which it will stop," he said.
Predictably, New York City schools, which have a median tuition of $35,475 for 12th grade, have long outpaced the national average of $21,695, according to the article.
But it notes that the rising costs don’t seem to be keeping affluent parents away.
"To be honest with you, I haven’t heard a backlash about this," said Gina Malin, director of school advisory services for the Parents League of New York, in the piece. "I think parents, they just say, ‘OK, this is the price we have to pay for an independent school education.’ It’s like the price we have to pay for living in New York City. Everything is expensive."
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While educational consultant and author Victoria Goldman calls it "the best education money can buy" in the article, she does admit she was floored at the $15,000 Riverdale tuition she paid when her kids began school.
Tuition fees had doubled by the time her youngest graduated, the piece notes. "It’s 40!" she said in the article. "That’s crazy. Crazy. But you know what? Nobody’s complaining about the price. Nobody."
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