Home > Articles

New research reveals the cost of international education in the Americas in 2021

Key points:

  • New York is by far the most expensive city in North America for international education, with maximum prices hitting $60,000 per year.
  • Elsewhere in North America, Chicago and Toronto have almost identical median prices of $20,000 per year.
  • Central and South America tells an entirely different story, with prices at the opposite end of the scale to the USA and Canada.
  • San Jose has the highest median price in Central and South America (just surpassing $10,000 per year).
  • Panama City has both the maximum price for international school fees (just under $15,000 per year), and the widest range of prices of Central & South America.

At the International Schools Database, we help local and expat parents choose the perfect international school for their children. Our database allows parents to find, research and compare international schools around the world. Naturally, this means that we gather and analyse a huge amount of information about international schools all over the world.

Starting in 2019, we began using this data to evaluate the prices of international schools across the globe. For 2021 we have expanded this research to include the Americas. In this article, we share and analyze the prices of international schools in the Americas in 2021.

Below, we have analysed price data from 7 cities in 5 countries in the Americas, in graph and table forms. While we have used all price data available to us, there may be additional schools and prices not included in each city, because they do not make their price data available or it is unknown to us. Links to additional research focusing in each of the other regions individually and globally can be found at the bottom of this article.

Prices of International Schools in the Americas, Per Year

The graph below is known as a box plot graph. It shows a comprehensive view of the range of prices in each city, instead of just an average, as a single average price may not necessarily represent the full picture of prices in each destination. Since there is a lot to unpack in this graph, we have also provided a little explanation on how to read the graph easily at the end of the article.

How to read this graph

Highlights and takeaways from the research findings

New York is by far the most expensive city in the Americas for international education, with maximum prices hitting $60,000 per year. That’s far higher than any other maximum price in the region - including the San Francisco Bay area, which sits well under $40,000 per year. Even New York’s median price is significantly higher than anywhere else, sitting just above $40,000 per year. By contrast, the median price in the San Francisco Bay Area is just under $30,000.

Elsewhere in North America, Chicago and Toronto have almost identical median prices of $20,000 per year. Chicago offers a wider range of international school prices, with a ballpark of just under $15,000 to over $30,000 per year. The ballpark range of prices is similar in Toronto, although slightly more limited, at around $15,000 - $25,000 per year.

Central and South America tells an entirely different story, with prices at the opposite end of the scale to the USA and Canada. The cost of international education is significantly under $20,000 per year in all three cities included in our research (San Jose, Panama City and Lima). In fact, median prices are all relatively similar, and all between $5,000 - $10,000 per year.

While New York has the highest international school prices in North America, San Jose has the highest median price in Central and South America (just surpassing $10,000 per year). The highest maximum price, however, can be found in Panama City at just under $15,000. Panama City also has the widest range of prices of Central & South America.

You can find a breakdown of exact prices for each American city in the table below. But if the Americas isn’t enough, we have also compiled price data for other regions and cities around the world; you can find links to this additional research at the bottom of this article. If you require any further information or have additional questions, don't hesitate to contact us at andrea@international-schools-database.com.

Prices of International Schools Per Year

Rank City Minimum Q1 Median Q3 Maximum
1 New York City $24,365 $34,934 $41,175 $48,150 $59,800
2 San Francisco Bay Area $12,632 $25,918 $29,100 $33,070 $36,750
3 Chicago $5,565 $12,225 $19,995 $31,538 $33,400
4 Toronto $11,571 $15,469 $19,773 $27,134 $28,786
5 San Jose $4,027 $8,911 $10,305 $10,899 $19,960
6 Panama City $4,904 $6,574 $9,095 $14,393 $16,816
7 Lima $4,302 $5,936 $7,474 $11,555 $17,424

source: www.international-schools-database.com

How to read the graph

The purple box shows the middle portion of the data, known in statistical lingo as the Interquartile Range. This is the ‘ballpark’ range that you would usually expect to pay in that particular city. The horizontal lines at each end of the box represent the First Quartile (Q1) and Third Quartile (Q3). These are the prices that would be considered somewhat cheaper (for Q1) or more expensive (for Q3) than the norm.

The median is shown as a vertical bar in the centre of the box. This is the price of the school in the exact middle of the range, i.e. the half-way point. Finally, you’ll see dots next to some of the box plots. These are ‘outliers’, prices that sit outside of all of the above ranges.

⇧ Go back to the graph ⇧

Additional research for other regions: