Average Cost of Private School in Wisconsin

With their smaller class sizes and more specialized programs, private schools are a great choice for families looking to put their children ahead in terms of education. Without the benefit of state funding, tuition at private schools can get rather expensive, varying greatly depending on programs offered and additional sponsors. What is the average cost of private school tuition in Wisconsin?

The average tuition cost for a high school-aged student in Wisconsin is $16,078, based on data from some of the top-rated schools in the state. However, this may not be the only cost. Depending on the school, there may be additional fees covering travel, food, uniforms, and supplies.

Let’s break down how we determined that average, and take a look at some of the additional costs of private schools, how you can manage them, and some available aid programs.

Prices at Each School

Calculating the average cost of tuition can be a little confusing when comparing different schools. The tuition for some private schools changes with each grade as they ascend, while others base tuition on school groups (elementary, middle, or high school). The averages below were obtained by averaging the grades included in each school group so the price matches the same age bracket as the other schools.

SchoolKElementary SchoolMiddle SchoolHigh School
Fond du Lac Christian School$4,735$4,946$5,284$6,122
Lourdes Academy$5,614$5,552$6,594$9,314
University Lake SchoolN/A$17,640$18,750$20,140
Eastbrook Academy$6,800$6,800$6,800$8,800
Madison Country Day School$16,868$18,671$19,308$20,263
University School of Milwaukee$20,869$22,378*$25,772*$28,791*
Brookfield Academy$9,013*$17,625*$19,775*$22,225*
Trinity Academy$4,550$5,550$5,550$7,600
Prairie School$11,000$16,950*$18,950*$21,450*
Average Cost$9,931$12,901$14,087$16,078
*Average of all grades in group of school

Some schools also have additional fees, which can cover materials, trips, uniforms, and other things. Trinity Academy has what they term an education tithe, which is $50 monthly for a period of ten months.

Prairie School wraps its additional costs into an inclusive student fee which ranges from $500-$1,600, which is paid in nine monthly installments unless the family elects to pay the amount in full all at once. Fees such as these cover things such as textbooks, field trips, classroom supplies, art fees, technology costs and insurance, snacks, class trips, PSAT exams, uniforms, and more.

Lourdes Academy charges a $150 technology fee to offset the costs of Chromebooks, while athletic costs are included in the tuition fee. Most schools also charge an application fee, with some schools like University Lake School charging an additional international student fee.

Financial Aid

As tuition can get rather costly without even including other school fees, private schools offer options for financial aid in order to encourage a more culturally and economically diverse student body.

Such aid can come in the form of grants, scholarships, and state-funded programs among others. Most schools will have information on financial aid available on their websites or in their Admissions Offices.

Some schools such as Brookfield Academy offer scholarship testing for high-school-level students at the beginning of each school year. Scholarships are frequently sponsored by various alumni, local companies, charitable organizations, and the school itself.

Madison Country Day School holds an Annual Fund that helps to make up the difference in tuition for families who are unable to meet full tuition costs. Donations to the said fund are tax-deductible and encouraged among the community to support quality education.

A state-funded source of financial aid is the programs provided through the Wisconsin Private School Choice Program. Families meeting certain qualifications may apply to one of these programs to have their tuition covered by a voucher from the State of Wisconsin.

Students seeking to apply must meet residency requirements and provide information on family size and yearly income in order to be eligible for application. Students attending Eastbrook Academy and Fond du Lac Christian School, among others, are eligible for some of these vouchers.

The Wisconsin Special Needs Scholarship program also offers scholarships specifically to students with disabilities to attend private school. The maximum voucher amount for the 2021-22 school year was $13,013. According to the website,

“Participating students must have an active Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Students may continue participating in the program as long as they have an IEP and attend an eligible school until they turn 21 or graduate high school, whichever comes first.”

Tax Deductions

One benefit unique to the state of Wisconsin is that parents are allowed to deduct private school tuition from their taxes! Families with students enrolled in private school are eligible to receive an income tax deduction of up to $10,000 for tuition paid for each high school-aged student and up to $4,000 for K-8th grade-aged students. This can be a huge benefit to all families, especially those with multiple students enrolled in a private school at once.

Another benefit available to Wisconsin residents is the 529 Plan savings account, named for Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. A 529 Plan is essentially a dedicated education savings account.

These financial plans offer tax-advantaged investments to encourage saving for future education expenses of a designated beneficiary (frequently a child or grandchild). Such plans are administered by the state, and the funds from them can be used to supplement tuition costs.

Payment Plans

Most private schools offer payment plans of one kind or another. The traditional method of paying all at once is of course available, but not the only option. The University School of Milwaukee offers a singly full-pay plan, a two-pay plan, and a 10-pay plan.

In addition, they offer optional tuition refund insurance in case of unforeseen changes. Most schools have online payment options, where a portion of tuition is charged to a debit account monthly.

Payment due dates vary from school to school, with some schools charging an interest rate for outstanding payments at the end of the school year. Families can also opt to pay portions of tuition at different times via school websites for some schools.