NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Wealth Effect Buoys Private Schools

October 15, 1999

If certain trends in New York City are any indicator, the booming U.S. economy is good news for supporters of private education.

In the past, moderately well-off parents in New York City faced the choice of either moving to the suburbs when their children approached school age, or resigning themselves to sending their children to public schools. But new wealth provided by the rising value of stocks is allowing them to enroll their offspring in one of the city's private schools.

  • Applications to some of the exclusive schools are up by as much as 50 percent over the past three years -- and admissions personnel are having to face the fact that there may not be room for all.
  • A spot in a private-school kindergarten can cost as much as $18,750 a year.
  • More than a dozen top schools in New York are constructing or buying up buildings.
  • Outside the city, schools such as Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire are seeing a 17 percent increase in the size of their freshman classes and are building new multi-million dollar facilities.

Nationally, the private-school student population has grown 16.8 percent in the last 10 years -- with 4.1 percentage points of that growth coming in just the last two years.

Source: Tina Kelley, "Being Exclusive Pulls Big Student Crowds," New York Times, October 15, 1999.


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