The cost of sending a kid to college is on the rise, with tuition skyrocketing in recent years. However, the cost of attending college itself is only the final installment of a long-term payment plan that starts at birth. And if you plan to send your kid to the Ivy League, you can expect those costs to be even higher.
And make no mistake about it: As an overbearing, helicopter parent, your child must attend an Ivy League school. Sure, there might be an abundance of fine universities out there that would give them a great education, but when it comes to your offspring, only the Ivy League will do.
So, here’s a quick look at the sort of expenses you can expect to incur while raising a child that will one day help you become the envy of the yacht club.
Preschool Admission Coach
- Cost: $400/hour
After waiting three long years as your child grows out of infancy and toddlerhood, you can finally enroll them in school and really set things in motion. But first, you need to find the right preschool. That’s why $400 an hour for a preschool admissions coach is just smart. Plus, the sooner you adjust to paying high fees to consultants, coaches and tutors, the better.
Elite Private Preschool
- Cost: $65,900/year
Any parent interested in sending their child to an Ivy League school has to sympathize with poor Nicole Imprescia, the woman who tried to sue the York Avenue Preschool in 2011 after her 4-year-old daughter Lucia saw her future crippled by learning about shapes and colors in what the lawsuit described as “just one big playroom.”
An average preschool isn’t for you, either. Go with the Stephen Gaynor School in New York, where your $65,900 a year in tuition is money well spent.
- Cost: $75/hour, plus $10,000 for a top-quality oboe
What, you think your kid is getting into the Ivy League without being able to play the oboe? Please. Your offspring needs to demonstrate that they’re well-rounded and interesting, and nothing helps to show that like playing an instrument. Oboe lessons will run $65 to $75 an hour. That and $10,000 for a professional-quality oboe your son or daughter will develop a deep resentment for after being subjected to hour after hour of practicing and lessons and you’re on your way.
Personal Lacrosse Coach
- Cost: $100/hour
Of course, presenting your child as a Leonardo da Vinci-level Renaissance Man or Woman also means showing an aptitude for sports. And basketball or soccer simply won’t do. Nothing says “elite Northeastern upbringing” like being a lacrosse player, so hiring a top-level coach is well worth the $100 an hour or so it will cost.
- Cost: $999
Space Camp might feel like a real cliché, but the whole “reach for the stars” metaphor is too good to pass up. Plus, you need to be stimulating your child’s interest in math and science, too. The age 9 to 11 group will run you just shy of $1,000 for a week.
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Elite Boarding School
- Cost: $64,499/year
No matter how good your local private school might be, your child will be on school grounds for less than eight hours each day, letting learning opportunities slip away. That’s why an elite boarding school is the way to go, putting them through their college prep paces while also keeping them at school 24/7.
If you select the St. Albans School outside Washington, D.C., your kid can shack up with the children of powerful politicians and well-monied lobbyists. Boarding school for grades 9 to 12 is a reasonable $64,499 a year.
Educational Trip Abroad
- Cost: $6,000
Just because you’re spending more on tuition for private school than most Americans make in a year doesn’t mean you’re doing enough. A pricey trip abroad to find new learning experiences or, at the very least, really spice up the family Instagram feed for a couple weeks is a must. A biology trip to South Africa should cost about $6,000, but think of all that time on the plane when they can study.
College Prep Summer Camp
- Cost: $16,000
Is your child going to get into Harvard or Yale taking three whole months off every year to enjoy their childhood? You can keep the learning pedal to the floor even in the summer months with a pricey college prep-oriented summer camp experience. The Summer Boot Camp experience from Top Tier Admissions is a steal at just $16,000.
Plan a trip to visit your kid at camp, but don’t make these road trip mistakes.
College Essay Experience
- Cost: $4,995
One of the most important pieces of the college application is the college essay, but your child needs to have actual experiences other than “preparing to attend Princeton” to write about. Fortunately, programs like Outward Bound provide just enough rough-and-tumble living. The Southwest Rafting & Alpine Backpacking program costs just under $5,000.
- Cost: $1,250/hour
Just because you’re paying $65,000 a year in tuition at a private academy doesn’t mean you can let your son or daughter simply rely on their classroom education. Without a private tutor guiding their study outside of class as well, they might start developing their own interests. While top-end tutors will charge as much as $1,250 an hour, the ends justify the means if the ends are an Ivy League diploma.
- Cost: $1,000/hour
If you’re thinking that raising a thoughtful child with a strong sense of curiosity and respect for intellectual rigor will get them the SAT score they need, you clearly don’t understand standardized testing. This isn’t about how smart your kid is, it’s about how much money you’ve spent preparing them to take one test. Top SAT tutors — not to be confused with your regular private tutor — will run you about $1,000 an hour.
On the Other Hand: 25 Rich and Successful People Who Went to Community College
- Cost: $42,000
As you (and your child) enter the final stretch, it’s all the more important to hedge your bets and ensure your kid keeps their eye on the prize. An elite college consultant will start with your child in ninth grade and take them all the way to the goal line for a mere $42,000.
Actual Cost of College
- Cost: $78,965/year
Of course, with all of the work you put getting your child into college, one might be forgiven for assuming it’s free. It most certainly is not, and you’re definitely paying the sticker price. A full year’s tuition in the General Studies program at Columbia University is just shy of $62,000. The cost to live in New York City isn’t cheap, so expect to spend another $13,000 or so a year for room and board. Then there’s $1,216 for books and just over $2,000 for various other expenses.
All told, plan to pay just under $79,000 a year for the fruits of your labors.
- Cost: $10,518
Your work as a helicopter parent doesn’t stop once your child is safely ensconced in an Ivy. In order to keep generating fresh material to brag to your friends about, you’re going to need an unpaid internship for your kid at an elite VC-firm in San Francisco. A median one-bedroom apartment rents out for $3,400 a month — plus another $106 for utilities. Over three months, that’s about $10,500, none of which is coming back in wages.
Total Cost to Raise an Ivy League Kid
- Cost: $2.7 million
When all is said and done, you’ll spend about $2.7 million* to raise and graduate your child from an Ivy League school.
What will you get at the end of your child’s college experience? Click through to learn if college tuition is worth the cost.
More on Education
- These Are the Best Colleges You Can Attend for Under $20K a Year
- States That Spend the Most and Least on Education
- 15 States Where Private School Costs More Than College
- The Most (and Least) Expensive States to Have a Child
* The following assumptions were made to arrive at the total cost: three hours of tutoring a week for 50 weeks a year from each tutor/coach, starting in 6th grade for the general tutor and at age 5 for music and lacrosse lessons. The SAT tutor would also be three hours a week, but only for one year. The preschool admissions counselor would be billed for 10 hours in total. Private preschool for three years and boarding school for four.