The Value of a Country Day Education

The Cost of Tuition

We understand that, in comparison to other schools in Sacramento, our tuition is higher, and we also recognize that many families are on a tight budget. We work hard to maintain our tuition at an affordable level while we endeavor to maximize the extraordinary strength of our programs. Tuition covers approximately 80% of the total cost to educate an SCDS student, and the remaining 20% is made up through endowment income, grants, and donations from parents, alumni, faculty and staff, alumni parents, grandparents, and friends of the school. About 15% of our tuition income goes toward financial assistance for families who otherwise could not send their children to Country Day. Over 70% of our budget pays for salaries and benefits. Since classroom teachers are our most important resource, we recruit and retain an outstanding faculty, and we strive to make their compensation reflective of that priority. Our salaries are typically competitive with local schools and independent schools nationally, and we provide a good benefits package in addition to significant funds for the faculty’s professional development.

A World-class Education

Sacramento Country Day provides a broad-based, comprehensive college preparatory curriculum – a true liberal arts education that gives students the foundation of knowledge and intellectual skills to be successful in college and beyond. In the Lower School, students visit local museums, government entities, and natural resources, including the legendary fourth grade Sutter’s Fort experience and the fifth grade annual expedition to Marin Headlands. In addition to their classroom studies, every student participates in our highly regarded physical education program, engages in the study and creation of visual art, and, beginning in the fourth grade, learns how to play a musical instrument and read music. In the Middle School, we offer three world languages – French, Latin, and Spanish – and numerous electives in the arts, computer, debate, and more. In addition, we support a full range of athletic and fine arts offerings, including a first-rate instrumental music and drama program. Our High School offers 15 Advanced Placement courses and a number of honors courses, in addition to co-curricular programs such as Mock Trial, the Medallion yearbook, the Octagon newspaper, many clubs, and 20 interscholastic sports teams. In addition to a world-class curriculum, we are fortunate to have the new Frank Science Center, a state-of-the-art Lower School building, and the new Early Childhood Education facility and Lower School art and music rooms. These specialized educational programs and facilities add significant value to the learning experience, as they benefit students directly and place us above competitor schools in the area.

Measures of Success

We are proud that 100% of our graduating seniors are prepared for success in four-year colleges and universities, and they have, by a large margin, higher SAT and AP scores than any other school in the area. Our graduates perform at the same or higher level in college as they did at Country Day, and they report that SCDS prepared them well for post-secondary study. The latest research suggests that the single best predictor of college success is the “academic intensity” of a student’s course work. This finding is not surprising, since challenging classes demand high-order thinking skills, the capacity to express oneself clearly, and the ability to manage time effectively. Mastering this combination of skills fosters mental self-discipline that is strongly correlated to high academic and work-related achievement. Addressing the question of what distinguishes top students from others, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania concluded, “Self-discipline has a bigger effect on academic performance than does intellectual talent.” Accordingly, at Country Day we emphasize and support the development of good study habits and believe that “I will” is just as important as “IQ.” In the most recent National Survey of Student Engagement, college freshmen identified lack of time-management skills as one of their top two concerns, with the first concern being how to pay for college. Time management issues also surfaced in a recent survey of college professors, as 86% confirmed that developing these important skills was the most difficult transitional change for freshmen. SCDS promotes self-reliance and organizational skills during the school day with the independence we give students to optimize their study, homework, and extracurricular schedule. Middle and High School students learn to manage their own routine of rotating classes without the artificial structure of bells, passing periods, and hall monitors. At the same time, we maintain high expectations of performance and hold every student responsible for his or her academic progress and behavior. In that way, every Country Day graduate enters college well prepared to manage the inherent academic challenges and associated responsibilities.

Preparing for the Future

Many of our alumni tell us that Country Day was a life-changing experience for them. The intellectual, ethical, and leadership qualities we instill in our students prepare them for the world that awaits them upon graduation. We provide ample opportunities for our students to experience personal growth, exploration, and reflection. Our dynamic, engaging faculty readily encourages, challenges, and nurtures each student to reach his or her full potential. Experience indicates that those students who take advantage of every opportunity available to them at the school have exceptional choices for their next level of education. While we readily acknowledge that many of our families make sacrifices to afford SCDS, they routinely tell us that it is a critically important investment in their children’s future. We believe that Country Day offers the best value for the best college preparatory experience in the six-county area.

Affording Country Day

The cost of a Country Day education represents a significant financial challenge for many families and our financial aid budget of over $1,000,000 reflects our commitment to providing access to a broad range of families. We strongly urge parentsĀ  to consider applying for aid if they believe their circumstances warrant assistance. We provide need-based financial aid only; there are no athletic, merit, or other types of scholarships available at the school. Country Day expects families to look first to their own resources before seeking assistance. The school is unable to support lifestyle choices in the distribution of aid. In addition, students applying for aid must be in good academic and behavioral standing in order to receive financial support from SCDS. The school relies on the evaluation of applicants’ financial need as determined by the School and Student Service for Financial Aid, located at, the site for the National Association of Independent Schools. Families can easily apply for assistance online, and those applications are processed in just a few days, while print applications can take several weeks. There is no deadline for submission of the materials, but most of the available funding is depleted by April 15 for the following year, so it is a good idea to apply before that time to improve the likelihood of receiving assistance. We firmly believe that no qualified child should be denied a Country Day education for financial reasons, which is why we endeavor to meet every family’s full, demonstrated need for assistance. Please call the school if you have any questions about our financial aid program. Thank you.

Tuition 2015-2016

Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten $17,900
Grades One to Five $20,100
Grades Six to Eight $21,400
Grades Nine to Twelve $23,300
International-Grades Nine to Twelve $26,800

Note: SCDS is a one-to-one school-supplied technology program in Middle and High School. All students in Middle School are issued school-owned iPads. Students in High School are issued MacBook Airs. All students in grades six through twelve purchase their own textbooks, a standard practice at independent secondary schools.

Tuition Payment Schedule