The Real Deal New York

Not so simple math

Comparing the cost of NYC’s priciest private day schools
By Isabel Schwab | September 09, 2015 06:53PM

Fall in New York means crisp leaves, suede ankle boots from Barneys, and for many parents, writing exorbitant checks to private day schools that promise to nurture and educate their children, eventually delivering them to the feet of John Harvard himself.

Parents take note: Harvard actually has a lower tuition, at $45,278, than some of New York City’s elite private schools. Luxury Listings NYC ranked private schools in the city by tuition price to find out which were the highest and that was one of several somewhat surprising findings.

While no school tied for price, all of the schools were within a spitting distance of each other — there’s less than $1,000 difference between the most expensive school on our list (Riverdale Country School) and the least expensive (Marymount School of New York). Unsurprisingly, six out of the 10 schools are in Upper Manhattan, and all three of the big private schools in Riverdale — Fieldston, Riverdale Country School and Horace Mann — made the list, as did one school further Downtown, Avenues.

It should be noted that though many students at these schools pay full tuition, the schools do have financial aid programs that can make them accessible to a larger demographic of students. And a few of the schools have taken steps in recent years to make their students confront the privileges that they enjoy; Fieldston’s new program, which segregated students by race for discussion groups, being the most extreme example.

Most expensive does not necessarily mean best, though; of the top 10 New York City private schools on the school ranking website Niche, which looks at key student statistics as well as student and parent surveys, only three (Horace Mann, Fieldston and Columbia Prep) are also on our list. Who would have ever guessed that Trinity and Dalton, which ranked #2 and #3 on Niche’s list respectively, might actually be (relatively) good deals?