In the United States, there is a direct relationship between education and income. People earn more money on average with each degree they obtain, but the benefits of education extend far beyond larger paychecks. According to Habitat for Humanity, educated people are more likely to own their own homes and are more likely to want to help improve their community.

In the United States, the government is required to provide every child with free education through the 12th grade — at least on paper. Education is not free, even when it is provided as a public service.

A study published in June revealed what millions of Americans already knew: the pandemic pushed the already exorbitant cost of child care even further out of reach. From $182 in 2019 to $340 in 2020, the average weekly rate for a toddler in a child care center nearly doubled. In 2021, a full 85 percent of parents will be spending 10% or more of their income on child care, with more than half planning to spend more than $10,000.

Working parents who expect preschool to provide significant financial relief from their high child care costs may be disappointed. According to a BabyCenter report based on NACCRRA data, the average cost of private preschool ranges from $4,460 to $13,158 per year, or $372 to $1,100 per month — roughly the same as child care.

Sure, the kids are small right now, and money is tight, but they won’t be for long, and there will never be a time when saving is simple. Every year you put off opening a 529 college savings plan is a year you lose out on the power of tax-free compounding. Every state in America must provide free K-12 education to all children. Many parents, on the other hand, choose to pay for private school. They should expect five-figure tuition bills if they do, but even if they do not, the hidden costs of public school will not remain hidden for long.

Private school tuition varies greatly by state, just as it does for public colleges (more on that later). The average annual salary in the cheapest state, South Dakota, is $3,624 per year. Connecticut, the most expensive state, has a cost of $26,231. If you’re thinking about homeschooling, Kiplinger reports that the average cost of at-home instruction is $700-$1,800 per child per year.

Parents spend an average of $671 per year on school sports, with two out of every ten spending more than $1,000 per child per year on things like uniforms, equipment, and registration fees. As a result, children from higher-income families are much more likely to participate in school sports than children from lower-income families.

The fun part of school — the field trips, field days, and off-site activities — has a habit of nibbling at your wallet in small bites that add up quickly from the start.

The same is true for any number of extracurricular activities that schools typically provide but rarely pay for. Then there are dances, which, according to, teens spend far more money on today than their parents did a generation ago. By the mid-2010s, the average family had spent around $1,000 on prom alone.

Long before a student graduates, the pressures and costs of college begin to become apparent.

America’s higher education system, which is run differently in each of the 50 states, is more complicated and expensive than just about anywhere else in the developed world. It is corporatized and commercialized while swimming in public funds. The cost of attending college has risen dramatically in the last 50 years, particularly in the last two decades. However, in the United States, the vast majority of full-time undergrads will not pay the published tuition due to gift aid such as grants and scholarships. This type of financial aid, unlike student loans, does not have to be repaid.

Grants and scholarships can be public or private, and they can be given by schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses, foundations, individuals, or governments. They can be given out based on need or merit, or they can be reserved for a specific population, such as women, African-Americans, or LGBTQ+ people. You can frequently apply for multiple jobs at the same time.

If you borrow money to pay for a degree, make certain that you actually receive the degree.