An elite boarding school experience holds a lot of value, from exposing students to a world-class education to opening doors to prominent colleges — but it often comes at a steep price.
Business Insider recently published our list of the most elite boarding schools in the country using endowment, acceptance rate, and average SAT score provided by
BoardingSchoolReview.com, a website that collects information on boarding schools directly from the institutions.
Though we didn’t factor annual tuition into our original ranking, we’ve re-ranked the pool of 50 elite boarding schools based on 2015-2016 tuition figures to find out which ones are the most expensive.
The two most expensive elite boarding schools — St. Albans School and The Masters School — both charge nearly $58,000 in annual tuition.
Notably absent from the top-25 most expensive are the No. 1 and No. 2 most elite boarding schools, Phillips Exeter Academy and Phillips Academy Andover — both have an annual tuition of less than $48,000.
Still, despite the high costs charged by these boarding schools, many offer millions of dollars a year in financial aid to families who can’t afford the full cost.
Read on to find out how much it costs to attend some of the most elite boarding schools in America.
Additional reporting by Andy Kiersz.
Location: Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Portsmouth Abbey School boasts 1.24 miles of coastline along Narragansett Bay and houses 70% of its students. The Roman Catholic school is also home to a fully operational, on-campus monastery led by a community of Benedictine monks. The Benedictine ideal of a 'community life of work and prayer' informs the school's ethos, which teaches students to balance academics with social and physical activities.
Location: Mount Hermon, Massachusetts
In 2014, the highest number of Northfield Mount Hermon students matriculated to Boston University, NYU, George Washington University, and Northwestern. The school helps students get there by offering $8.4 million in financial aid and a
College Model Academic Program, which requires them to complete three college-prep courses each semester. Eighty per cent of students are boarders on NMH's 1,565-acre campus, most of which is along the scenic Connecticut River.
Location: Deerfield, Massachusetts
Deerfield Academy provides 35% of its student body with $8 million in financial aid annually. In addition to participating academically, students are required to be involved in a cocurricular activity like community service, dance, theatre, or sports. More than one-fourth of Deerfield's 330-acre campus is comprised of athletic fields, tennis courts, a fitness center, and a 5,900-square-foot boathouse along the Connecticut River.
Location: Lawrenceville, New Jersey
The Lawrenceville School is defined by its House System: a living situation for boarders and day students where each of the 18 dormitories represents a subcommunity informed by grade and gender. The houses often compete for academic and athletic honours and have individual traditions like sports games and community-service events. Lawrenceville is committed to its Green Campus Initiative, which includes a 30-acre solar farm that covers 90% of the school's energy needs.
Location: Middletown, Delaware
Technology is intertwined with the curriculum at
St. Andrew's School. Students use blogs to document their progress in physics, musicians send recordings to their instructors for feedback, and teachers keep in touch with their pupils through learning-management software.
St. Andrew's students also gain entrance to elite colleges. New York University, Wesleyan University, and Davidson College topped the list of the most popular choices from the last four years.
Location: Marion, Massachusetts
Affectionately known as 'The School by the Sea,' Tabor Academy has a longstanding maritime heritage that permeates its programs and extracurriculars. Experiential learning opportunities for students include marine- and nautical-science studies, travelling to the Virgin Islands on the school's part-classroom, part-vessel schooner, and participating in a collaborative class on the Oyster Farm. Tabor hopes to be internationally recognised for ocean ecology by 2026.
Location: Carpinteria, California
The vigorous academic courses at Cate School are designed to foster students' self-knowledge and the village-like campus -- known as the Mesa -- encourages students to take advantage of the nearby Los Padres National Forest and Pacific Ocean for
outdoor learning and leisure activities. Cate School's selectivity could be explained by its
commitment to diversity: The student body is comprised of 42% students of colour from 31 states and 17 countries.
Location: North Andover, Massachusetts
At Brooks School, students are encouraged to fill their schedules with the classes that most interest them, from multivariable calculus to 3-D design to African-American literature. Between their junior and senior years, students can apply for a spot in Brooks' Students on the Forefront of Science program, which matches applicants with internships in cutting-edge science and technology hubs. Past placements have included spots at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Location: Ojai, California
The Thacher School is in California's serene Ojai Valley where the mountains run east to west and hiking and horseback riding are common outdoor activities for students and faculty. The school aims to teach its student body -- 90% of whom are boarders -- the value of a disciplined education in congruence with adventures in the wilderness.
Location: Millbrook, New York
Millbrook School still maintains decades-old traditions that help cement each student as a piece of the school's rich history. These traditions range from Friday Night Forums, where students hear from renowned speakers, to intersession, where they spend a week outside the classroom doing things like mastering ballroom dancing or camping in the Adirondacks.
Location: Blairstown, New Jersey
Blair Academy students can take advantage of the 'maker space,' a laboratory-turned-workshop where students dive headfirst into hands-on design projects like 3-D printing and building robots. On the other side of the creative spectrum, students can also partake in a range of fine arts, from acting to orchestra to set design for plays.
Location: Portland, Oregon
Oregon Episcopal School is a pre-K through 12th-grade day school with an optional boarding program for grades 9 through 12. The high school's Aardvark Science Exposition is an annual science, engineering, computer-science, and maths-research competition where finalists are sent to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the world's largest international precollege science competition. Last year, more than a dozen OES students received Grand Award prizes of $500 to $1,000.
Location: Byfield, Massachusetts
The Governor's Academy, each class is tailored toward helping students develop one of the school's seven essential skills, which include thinking critically, communicating effectively, and readily adapting to new situations. Students can also take advantage of the school's college counselors, who partner with them to help narrow down their choices and put together competitive applications.
Location: Claremont, California
Home to two schools that share a campus, Webb features an all-boys and an all-girls school in the same space. The two keep classes separate through 10th-grade, transitioning into coeducational courses in junior year. The Webb Schools are also home to the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology, the only museum in the US on a high-school campus that is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
Location: Newport, Rhode Island
In addition to lively academic discussion and debate in the classroom, St. George's School emphasises experiential learning in the local community and around the world. Every semester the seaside Episcopal school sends students on one leg of a transatlantic voyage in a 69-foot marine-research vessel called Geronimo, where they get a firsthand education in marine biology.
Location: Concord, Massachusetts
The Middlesex campus was designed by the famed Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm and is just 20 miles outside Boston, among some of the country's most historic towns. The school balances personal exploration and demanding academics -- an
Introduction to Mindfulness course that teaches pupils how to reduce stress and improve relationships is required for all new students. Notable alumni include former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and Kevin Systrom, the cofounder of Instagram.
Location: Simsbury, Connecticut
The Westminster School aims to turn students into lifelong learners through dynamic relationships with instructors and a traditional liberal-arts and sciences curriculum. Students can take their education a step further through a number of enrichment opportunities, including WISE, an online summer program that features classes like mythology and genetics, and the School Year Abroad program, where students spend a year studying and travelling throughout China, France, Italy, or Spain.
Location: Sheffield, Massachusetts
Located at the foothills of Mt. Everett, Berkshire School is surrounded by arts, culture, and health and wellness destinations in an area known as The Berkshires. The school is committed to preserving the setting's natural beauty with sustainable buildings and an 8-acre solar field. In addition to a strong college-prep curriculum, advanced programs in maths and science research and humanities research are available to Berkshire students who want to explore beyond the required study.
Location: Concord, Massachusetts
Though Concord Academy enrolls more day students than boarders, the school has a strong living-learning community. Students from every grade live together in six historic family homes and also have the option for homestays with day students' families. Concord values hard work over competition, calling itself a 'no prize' school that eschews class rank and academic awards.
Location: Troy, New York
In 1814, Emma Hart Willard opened the doors to her Middlebury, Vermont, home and transformed it into a school. Now in upstate New York, Emma Willard School threw its bicentennial bash in 2014, celebrating a 200-year-old legacy of excellence in girls' education. Emma Willard is rooted in
tradition: Each year girls participate in dozens of seasonal and farewell rituals like plays, retreats, and a baccalaureate service.
Location: Kent, Connecticut
Kent School's course catalogue rivals that of a university, with a breadth of options that includes music technology, Roman lyrical poetry, and meteorology. The curriculum also retains serious rigour with 27 Advanced Placement classes available and opportunities for students to complete independent-study projects on a topic of their choice.
Location: North Bethesda, Maryland
The oldest Jesuit school in the country, Georgetown Prep focuses on helping each student build a strong mind, body, and spirit. The all-boys school provides ample opportunities for growth -- in and out of the classroom -- through numerous athletic teams, student publications, and extracurricular clubs, including speech and debate, chess, and student government.
Location: Groton, Massachusetts
At Groton, students must take at least five full-credit courses per semester, including classes in expository writing, ethics, and foreign language. More than just academics, Groton also prioritises its sense of community, a value emphasised by traditions such as morning Chapel Talk, daily check-ins, surprise holidays, and the school birthday dinner.
Location: Dobbs Ferry, New York
The Masters School uses the Harkness method in all of its classes, so students learn through collaborative round-table discussions in place of lectures.
Or students can take advantage of other alternative-learning opportunities, such as CITYterm, a semester-long program in New York City, and High Mountain Institute, a semester in the Rocky Mountains where rigorous academics are combined with hands-on wilderness experience.
Location: Washington, DC
St. Albans students excel academically, and the school has graduated 45 National Merit semifinalists since 2007 and 21 Presidential Scholars in its history. The all-boys school also partners with the National Cathedral School for girls to offer an array of coeducational opportunities, including art and drama programs, select sports, and the 160-voice Chorale.
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