Public school is free in the United States, and children in kindergarten through grade 12 can attend without paying any fees. City, state, or federal government funds public schools, so no tuition is required. However, there are some associated costs such as books, equipment, and uniforms that may vary from state to state and between schools. In addition to public schools, there are also private schools that may require tuition fees.
These schools can be very selective with the students they accept and competition for places can be tough. Private schools specialize in specific activities such as art or music and do not receive any funding from the government. Magnet schools are another option for parents to consider. These are free public elementary and secondary schools that focus on a particular area of the curriculum such as STEM, Performing Arts, International Studies, or World Languages.
Magnet schools do not have entry criteria and are open to all students in the district. Extracurricular activities are also available at both public and private schools. 57 percent of elementary and high school students between the ages of 6 and 17 participate in at least one extracurricular activity. Private schools tend to offer more extracurricular opportunities due to their higher fees.
Day schools are another option for parents to consider. These are similar to public schools in that children go to school every morning and come home in the afternoon. However, if you have two or more children, living near a good public school is likely to cost less than paying for a private school. International schools are another option for expat parents who want their children to receive an international education.
Fees at international schools can be extremely high, so expats need to make sure that their budget can accommodate this expense before committing. Finally, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data shows that public schools have less than three years of experience than private schools.