For the 2023-2024 school year, Houston private school tuition costs $25,674 a year on average per child, which amounts to a nearly 6% increase in tuition as compared to the 2022-2023 academic year. The cost of a private education in Houston has increased 15.8% since before the pandemic.

The price of admission varies by grade, but there are consistent increases across the board:

  • Kindergarten — $21,187 (up from $19,682)
  • Sixth Grade — $23,954 (up from $23,221)
  • Twelfth Grade — $28,132 (up from $25,962)

If you have a kindergartener starting this fall and plan to keep them in private school through high school graduation, you can expect to pay in excess of $450,000 for all 13 years of education—or more than half a million dollars when annual fees are also factored in.

General Academic currently tracks tuition for approximately 50 of the most popular Houston-area private schools. The year-over-year tuition increases ranged from a miraculous 0% for Corpus Christi Catholic School to a whopping 14.8% for St. Thomas’ Episcopal School.

When we compare tuition rates of Catholic schools to the rest of Houston private schools, we continue to see huge potential for savings. The average cost of a Catholic school education in Houston for the 2023-2024 school year is $19,647, which is over 23% cheaper than the average across all private schools.

Houston Private School Tuition Increases Track with Inflation

The next time you go to the grocery store, take a look at the prices of, well, anything at all. Everything is so expensive. As we approach the start of the new academic year, we must reckon with the fact that tuition for private schools is not immune to the inflation we have seen across all sectors of the economy.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Consumer Price Index (CPI) 12-month percentage change (from June 2022 to June 2023) for all non-food, non-energy items was 4.8%. If the CPI data are to be believed, the rate of inflation in recent months has begun to slow for the first time since 2021, with May 2023 being the first time in two years where we saw the inflation rate fall below 5%.

When we compare CPI across the national economy to the change in tuition prices among Houston schools, we see a slightly higher tuition inflation rate, but on the whole the two numbers are quite comparable. The average cost of tuition across all 46 Houston private schools we monitor is up 5.7% from the previous academic year, compared to the 4.8% provided by the BLS. The nearly 1% difference in rate can be easily explained by the timeline of an academic year. Schools don’t raise tuition mid-year, so any inflation that happens rapidly during the academic year is unaccounted for. Private schools are essentially, “playing catch-up,” in order to keep pace with the inflation we’ve experienced since the pandemic.

Big Fees Are in Addition to Tuition

Let’s face it: tuition is expensive. That’s not going to change; in fact, it’s only going to get more expensive as time goes on. If you are a parent with a current kindergarten student, and you are planning ahead for his or her high school education, and we assume a consistent inflation rate of 5.7%, you can expect to be paying over $54,000 for your child’s 12th grade education — that is over double what you are currently paying for your child’s kindergarten education.

When budgeting for a private school education, the costs don’t stop at tuition. Private school fees often add up to thousands of dollars on top of the tuition and can include items like new student enrollment, computers/tablets, class trips, and even new building construction.

For example, Episcopal High School charges $1,625 for food services and $2,500 for a Mac laptop; St. John’s charges a $2,000 new student fee and up to $1,200 for textbooks/supplies; Awty charges $2,700 for a Washington, D.C. trip and $4,000 for bus service. Not all schools, however, take this approach to adding on or separating their fees: at The Emery/Weiner School, tuition includes meals, trips, and activities.

Don’t Count on Financial Aid

Unlike elite private colleges which are able to subsidize their educations with their multi-billion dollar endowments, most Houston private schools are tuition driven. However, some of the city’s most well-known private schools, like Kinkaid and St. John’s, do have relatively large endowments that exceed $50 million allowing them to offer more financial aid. Otherwise Catholic schools also remain relatively accessible due to both lower tuition and more aid from the church.

Tuition must usually be paid in one lump sum at the beginning of the year or via monthly direct withdrawals from a linked bank account, with the former usually giving a significant discount over the latter.

Smaller Houston Private Schools Still Struggling

Following a trend of smaller private schools facing increased financial issues since the pandemic, Holy Trinity Episcopal School will no longer offer classes. According to their website, “At a meeting on June 26, the Board of Directors made the agonizing decision to close Holy Trinity Episcopal School. HTES will not offer classes for the 2023 – 2024 school year. The Board of Directors diligently pursued every option to keep the school open before making this decision. We recognize that this is devastating for our students, families, and faculty.”

Formerly located in Northeast Houston, the PK-5 school had only approximately 60 students, with a student-to-teacher ratio of 4:1. Having first opened in 2000, Holy Trinity Episcopal, “faithfully served the Lake Houston community for over twenty years.”

In 2020, we also saw the closing of Alexander-Smith Academy, a school that served nearly 2,500 students over its 50+ years of operation.

Will this trend continue? How will the recent state takeover of HISD affect private school enrollment? These questions will soon be answered, but what is abundantly clear is that the price of everything will continue to rise.


  • Samuel Pearson

    Samuel Pearson is General Academic's Associate Manager. He graduated from Rice University in 2017 with a B.A. in Cognitive Science & Visual and Dramatic Arts. Before joining General Academic's team in 2023, Samuel was a high school teacher and technical director at a premier independent school in Houston.

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