Private Schools Vs. Public Schools

Written by Elisabeth Forsythe
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Choosing between a private or public school can be confusing. Is private school worth the money, or should those funds be saved toward future college costs? Do students in public school get the individual attention they need to meet their full potential? A look at the differences between the two can help you determine which path is the best fit for you.

One difference is obvious: public schools are funded by the taxpayers, and thus do not charge tuition. In contrast, private schools are financed by donations, fundraising, and (of course) their students' tuition. As reported by the National Association of Independent Schools, the average tuition for private day schools in the U.S. is around $14,000 per year for grades 1 through 3, $16,000 per year for grades 6 through 8 and $18,000 per year for grades 9 through 12.

Because private schools are funded independently, rather than by the government, they have the freedom to create their own curriculum without the restrictions of state budgets or regulations. This financial latitude, combined with a fewer number of students, generally produces a smaller student-to-teacher ratio in private schools--resulting in more one-on-one instruction and a more focused learning environment.

Making the Right Decision for You

The most important factor in finding the right school--whether private or public--is you. Take a look at the schools in your area. What are their criteria for hiring faculty? Which activities do they offer? What percentage of graduates continue on to college? Careful research can help you choose the school that will best meet your individual needs.

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