Why Is Preschool So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

Photo of author
Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

Parents looking for preschools to sign up their toddlers may be shocked at the high prices.

If you’re one of those wondering why preschool is so expensive, read on. I looked it up and have all the information you need!

Why Is Preschool So Expensive?

1. Low Student-To-Teacher Ratios Are Required

States require preschools to maintain a level of staffing that exceeds K-12 and even colleges because kids at that age need a lot of care and cannot be left unsupervised.

For example, some states require there must be three lead teachers, six assistant teachers, and one director for a single classroom.

That said, this is because preschools provide a highly structured setting to nurture and challenge kids.

Ironically, preschool staff are not paid well, but salaries take up a large percentage of the school’s budget because of the staffing requirements.

2. There’s No Financial Aid

Unlike higher education, preschools have no financial aid to help parents. At the same time, preschool is an essential stage in a child’s education.

For example, it’s where children learn independence as well as social and emotional skills and gain the foundations of math, arts, and the alphabet.

Many parents feel compelled to send their kids to preschool, even though the tuition can take a bigger chunk of the family’s income than the rent.

3. Demand For Preschool Exceeds Availability

The number of preschool slots available each year is not enough to meet the demand. With parents desperate to enroll their kids, the schools can charge high tuition fees.

Read More:  Why Is School So Boring? (15 Reasons Why)

Further, parents are naturally reluctant to enroll their kids in the first preschool they find with slots open, without regard to quality, as good preschools usually have long waitlists.

4. Administrative Fees To Fill Out An Application

Some parents find they have to pay a fee to fill out a form to apply for a spot for their kid and be added to a waitlist for preschool.

Normally, application and enrollment fees can be around $50 to $100 each year.

5. Extras Fees For Books And Supplies

5. Extras Fees For Books And Supplies

Preschool becomes more expensive because of extra fees for books, materials, and supplies, which can range from $200 to $500, depending on the school’s location.

Further, supplies can include materials for art, music classes, games, theater, and more.

6. There Are Activity Fees

In addition to the basic tuition costs, preschools typically charge extra for field trips and activities, costing around $300 per year.

Also, field trips could be visits to a zoo, park, or museum, while activities include gardening, arts and crafts, music, and more.

Summer camp helps maintain the children’s continuity and exposes them to new activities and games.

However, there are usually extra fees for summer preschool, which could be as high as $190 a week.

Read More:  Why Is Law School So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

7. Parents Pay For Lunch

Parents have to either pack lunch for their kids or pay for them to eat at the school. That said, lunch fees can be anywhere from $30 to $100 per month, adding to the cost of preschool.

Besides lunch, preschools may also offer snacks during the day, and the cost will be added to the tuition fees.

8. Administrative And Overhead Costs

Preschools have fixed administrative and operating costs, which must be paid regularly, including salaries, rent, utilities, WiFi, etc.

Further, preschools must keep up with advances in education and provide and upgrade facilities for the children.

9. Schools Have To Meet Safety Regulations

Since they are in charge of very young children, preschools have to ensure their safety while children are on the premises.

Further, all staff must undergo background checks and safety training for medical and other emergencies. There are guidelines set by states and must be followed by all schools.

10. There Aren’t Many Alternatives

Preschools can charge high fees because they are in demand, and parents don’t have many alternatives.

Also, preschools run by churches and other religious institutions are cheaper and offer quality care and learning, but they have very limited availability.

Read More:  Why Doesn't School Teach Life Skills? (11 Reasons Why)

Another choice that parents sometimes consider is a cooperative preschool, but not everyone can afford the extra time and effort required.

11. Preschool Gives Children A Strong Educational Foundation

Preschool helps children develop their abilities by introducing them to many life skills and giving them a strong foundation in reading, math, and the arts.

So, though preschool costs are often compared to daycare, preschools provide an education that will benefit the child throughout their life.

Therefore, this makes preschool a worthwhile though expensive investment in a child’s future.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why grad school is so expensive, why law school is so expensive, and why out-of-state tuition is so expensive.


Preschool is a major expense for young parents who want the best for their kids.

Preschool tuition fees can cost as much as a college in some areas and take a big chunk of the family’s budget.

Also, preschools are expensive because they must follow state staffing and safety requirements.

Further, despite the high costs, preschools are in high demand, which allows them to increase fees.


  • Jean Richardson

    Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

Leave a Comment