How Much Does Catholic School Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

Catholic schools are private schools that are part of the Catholic Church.  As of 2013, the church operates the largest non-government related schools system.  Besides the typical curriculum taught in the public sector, the Catholic schools put an emphasis on religion as well.  The cost of tuition for schooling is going to greatly vary depending on the church, the location, and other factors.

Classroom by -Marlith-, on Flickr
Classroom” (CC BY 2.0) by -Marlith-

How much does catholic school cost?

For an elementary school, the average tuition can range anywhere from $3,200 to $8,000 per pupil per year.

For a secondary education, which includes both middle school and high school, the tuition will be about $5,100 to $16,500 per year.

Christ the King Catholic School in Mesa, Arizona, for instance, charges $4,834 per student and sibling discounts are available.

We looked at a handful of schools across the United States and were able to come up with the averages by either contacting the school or visiting their website.  We left out the names of the school and instead added where the school was located.

Type of Catholic School/LocationAnnual Cost
School in Charleston, South Carolina$4,400
K-6 Elementary in Syracuse, New York$4,700
High School in Portland, Oregon$13,900
High School in Ohio$9,700
High School in New Jersey$18,000
High School in Miami, Florida$7,000
High School in Lafayette, Louisiana$6,200
High School in Baltimore, Maryland$12,300
Elementary in New Jersey$8,400
Catholic School in San Diego, CA$8,800
Catholic School in Nashville, Tennessee$8,900
Catholic school in Lansing, Michigan$7,500

Catholic school overview

Catholic schools put an emphasis on religion in their curriculum.  While some require you do not have to be Catholic to attend the school, the high majority of the students are.  For example, one school online states you must be baptized as a Catholic, be registered in the parish and attend the church regularly in order for your child to qualify.

Classroom sizes will range from 20 to 30 students and operate as any other public or private school.  The school is privately funded through donations and tuition fees.

What are the extra costs?

Registration fees will apply to those students who are going new to the school and returning families may have to pay smaller registration fees as well.  These starter fees can range anywhere from $50 to $200.  This application fee is going to be non-refundable and keep in mind that all students don’t get accepted.

Books and other supplies may be required, depending on the classrooms and labs.  Unlike the public sector that is funded by tax dollars, many classrooms rely on the students to provide the material.  This is not always the case as it can vary from school to school.

School uniforms are mandatory in most Catholic Schools and will be an additional expense to consider. See: “How much do school uniforms cost?

If you are going to do extracurricular activities such as sports or clubs, most will have a participation fee.  This could be anywhere from $50 to $200 per sport.

Some schools implement a supply fee to help stock the classrooms with the necessary supplies and textbooks.  Schools may either add this to the overall tuition or may charge it separately.

Tips to know

Most schools will ask parents to volunteer at least 10 to 30 hours per semester.

Close to 30 percent of Catholic schools have waiting lists, so it’s important to register as early as possible or ask ahead of time to see if a waiting list is active.

How can I save money?

Consider talking with an admissions officer about financial aid.  Many schools offer financial aid to help those families that have a harder time affording the tuition.

On top of financial aid, consider looking for scholarships that are available for these types of schools.  For example, 12 states offer more than 18 different voucher/scholarship programs.  11 states offer tax credit scholarships and/or some sort of tax deduction.

Compare at least two schools in the area to see what they have to offer.  Most schools are going to greatly vary with their staff, the building, classes offered, and other things.  If the tuition is cheaper, you may get what you pay for.

Some schools may offer discounts to those that have more than one child attending or for those who are already attending the church itself.  This is also known as a multi-child discount and on average, it can save upwards of 30% on each student.

Members of the local Catholic Church may be able to get discounted tuition.  Check with your church to see what the rules are when registering.

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