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- Town & Country estimated that wealthy families spend $1.7 million per child to get them into the Ivy League.
- Nursery school alone can run families more than $80,000.
- The analysis reveals the steep discrepancies in educational access between wealthy and low-income families.
American families pay more to send their kids to college than anywhere else in the world.
But for wealthy families, the costs start long before that very first college-tuition payment, according to Town & Country.
T&C published a list of expenses for getting a child from birth through college based on education costs. The story was a refresh of a 1973 article where the magazine conducted the same analysis and came to a figure of $300,000.
The 2017 version tallied to an eye-popping $1.7 million per child. The analysis aimed to show how wealthy families approach the competition to get their kids into the Ivy League. Some of the highlights from the analysis include:
- Preschool: $4,500 for a preschool admission coach and $80,400 for nursery school and pre-kindergarten at the New York City-based Horace Mann School.
- Elementary and middle school: $156,400 for K – 4th grade at Francis Parker School in Chicago and $164,990 for grade 5 – 8 at Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts.
- High school: $157,600 for four years at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, California and $104,000 for a private language tutor 40 weeks a year.
- Enrichment: $29,870 for music and art classes for 4-year-olds, $104,000 for a foreign language tutor, and $56,600 for a travel sports league.
- College prep: $100,000 for college counseling with IvyWise and $55,000 for a gap year with Winterline’s travel and cultural immersion program.
- College: $282,280 for four years at Yale University and $24,304 for a study abroad at Yale.
The analysis reveals that on top of discrepancies between educational access for wealthy and low-income families, the divide goes deeper than core curriculum alone. Before their children are in elementary school, many wealthy families have already enrolled them in enrichment classes to give them a leg up on their peers.
This contributes to achievement and literacy gaps which start before students even enter elementary school, meaning they are a function of wealth and access to education.
Wealthy families also enlist pricey coaches to get their kids into prestigious preschool programs. This entry point is often important. Schools like Horace Mann often have nursery programs that feed right into the elementary school, meaning kids who start there early have a head start in the admissions game. Elementary students then feed into the middle school and then high school.
Wealth certainly isn’t the sole determinant of success. Colleges endeavor to recruit students from diverse backgrounds, and they place importance on admitting students from broad socioeconomic and racial backgrounds. They use affirmative action in their admissions criteria to ensure they have diversity among incoming students.
But as opponents of affirmative action attempt to claw back such provisions in college admissions, bringing cases to the Supreme Court, access to college for certain subgroups – predominantly students of color – seems less sure.