2022 Cost Guide for Austin Daycares and Preschools
Cost of child care in Austin, TX
The right child care is an investment that can make a lasting impact on your little one’s life. But finding and choosing the best early education provider in Austin is a difficult decision -- and an expensive one.
To help in your search, we found and analyzed websites for 469 daycares and preschools across Austin. We brought it all together in this guide to give you a sense of the range of prices you might see as well as the averages that you’ll likely pay based on your needs.
For full-time, full-day care in Austin, the average cost across age groups ranged from $476 to $2,323 per month -- with an average price of $1,100 per month.
We know that cost is just one factor in determining the best daycare or preschool for your child. And, many elements go into a provider’s cost: curriculum, student-teacher ratios, schedule, location, facilities, educational training of teachers, etc.
We hope this guide will help you prepare for the type of investment you’ll be making. Depending on when you’re starting your search, just consider that tuition continues to rise. Between 2021 and 2022, we saw an average increase of 8% (based on websites that listed tuition for both years).
What’s included in this guide?
What does daycare cost near me? A breakdown by neighborhood.
What does daycare cost near me?
Most affordable Austin metro area neighborhoods
Based on monthly average costs across schools, we noticed that the most affordable Austin metro area zip codes for full-time, full-day care were :
78724: Average of $684 per month.
78754: Average of $727 per month.
78712: Average of $750 per month.
78753: Average of $873 per month.
78726: Average of $879 per month.
More expensive neighborhoods
On the more expensive end of the spectrum, the Austin metro area zip codes with higher average monthly costs for full-time, full-day care were:
78734: Average of $1,929 per month.
78735: Average of $1,358 per month.
78745: Average of $1,341 per month.
78727: Average of $1,249 per month.
78758: Average of $1,309 per month.
How much does infant daycare cost in Austin?
Most child care centers define “infant” as less than 18 months old. Infant daycare in Austin costs, on average, $1,240 per month for full-time, full-day care.
Full-day rates for infant daycare in Austin (About 6+ hours per day)
5 days a week: Average is $1,240. Ranges from $620 to $1,725 per month.
3 days a week: Average is $901. Ranges from $667 to $1,100 per month.
2 days a week: Average is $701. Ranges from $504 to $910 per month.
Half-day rates for infant daycare in Austin (About 4-5 hours per day)
5 days a week: Average is $831. Ranges from $505 to $1,230 per month.
3 days a week: Average is $510. Ranges from $285 to $999 per month.
2 days a week: Average is $375. Ranges from $225 to $799 per month.
Drop-in rates for infant daycare in Austin
In Austin, hourly drop-in rates for infant daycare average $12 per hour. Daily rates for infants average $77 per day.
How much does toddler daycare cost in Austin?
Child care center websites in Austin often define “toddler” as any child between the ages of 18 and 36 months old. Toddler daycare in Austin costs, on average, $1,168 per month for full-time, full-day care. We’ve generally seen that costs for toddlers are cheaper than for infants, since at the higher end of the age range, they require slightly less dedicated attention and many times are potty trained.
Heads-up: Some providers will require that your child is potty trained for certain ages, while others do not -- so just make sure to ask.
Full-day rates for toddler daycare in Austin (About 6+ hours per day)
5 days a week: Average is $1,168 per month. Ranges from $540 to $1,847.
3 days a week: Average is $826 per month. Ranges from $562 to $1,098.
2 days a week: Average is $638 per month. Ranges from $377 to $850.
Half-day rates for toddler daycare in Austin (About 4-5 hours per day)
5 days a week: Average is $839 per month. Ranges from $460 to $1,311.
3 days a week: Average is $460 per month. Ranges from $285 to $799.
2 days a week: Average is $367 per month. Ranges from $225 to $699.
Drop-in rates for toddler daycare in Austin
In Austin, hourly drop-in rates for toddler daycare average $11 per hour. Daily rates for toddlers average $70 per day.
How much does preschool cost in Austin?
Across most preschool websites in Austin, the average age for preschool is typically defined as between 3 and 5 years old. Preschool in Austin costs, on average, $1,138 per month for full-time, full-day programs.
Full-day rates for preschools in Austin (About 6+ hours per day)
5 days a week: Average is $1,138 per month. Ranges from $650 to $1,804.
3 days a week: Average is $783 per month. Ranges from $550 to $992.
2 days a week: Average is $619 per month. Ranges from $385 to $835.
Half-day rates for preschools in Austin (About 4-5 hours per day)
5 days a week: Average is $819 per month. Ranges from $350 to $1,250.
3 days a week: Average is $447 per month. Ranges from $285 to $960.
2 days a week: Average is $348 per month. Ranges from $220 to $675.
How much does Pre-K cost in Austin?
In Austin, the average cost for Pre-K is $1,121 per month for full-time, full-day programs.
You might be wondering, “What is the difference between preschool and Pre-K?” Preschool is usually offered to children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old. Pre-K is more of a transition from preschool to kindergarten, and is usually offered for children between the ages of 4 and 5 years old. Pre-kindergartens are also often attached to elementary schools and are timed for the school year right before kindergarten. This helps families more smoothly transition to kindergarten.
In Austin, there are both private and public Pre-K options. We dive into both of them here.
Private Pre-K costs in Austin
Full-day rates for Pre-K in Austin (About 6+ hours per day)
5 days a week: Average is $1,121 per month. Ranges from $599 to $2,013.
3 days a week: Average is $805 per month. Ranges from $550 to $1,213.
2 days a week: Average is $611 per month. Ranges from $385 to $830.
Half-day rates for Pre-K in Austin (About 4-5 hours per day)
5 days a week: Average is $775 per month. Ranges from $330 to $1,250 per month.
3 days a week: Average is $465 per month. Ranges from $285 to $960 per month.
2 days a week: Average is $363 per month. Ranges from $220 to $550 per month.
Public Pre-K options in Austin
The Austin Independent School District (ISD) offers Pre-K3 and Pre-K4 for free (also called district-supported) to children who are eligible. To see if you’re eligible, check out their Pre-K eligibility screener here.
If you’re not eligible for free Pre-K, you can apply for a paid (or tuition-based) spot. The tuition-based Pre-K programs offered by Austin ISD are typically more affordable than private school options. But, they also often have a higher teacher-student ratio than private schools.
Pre-K4. There are 72 locations that offer district-supported (free) full-day Pre-K for 4 year olds. There are also 57 schools that offer tuition-based (paid) full-day Pre-K4 -- and the cost for these tuition-based programs is $550 per month.
Nearby school districts. Just outside of Austin, other districts like Round Rock ISD and Pflugerville ISD also offer district-supported Pre-K. Just note, both Round Rock and Pflugerville do not offer tuition-based programs for Pre-K.
What are the most common daycare and preschool fees in Austin?
Top 3 fees
As we searched through hundreds of Austin’s early education websites, we noticed a lot of different fees. But the 3 most common annual fees were:
1. Application (or waitlist) fee 2. Enrollment (or registration) fee* 3. Supply fee
When we combined these 3 fees together for daycares and preschools, we saw that the average total fees ranged from $25 to $3,760 -- but the average was $363 per year.
Diving deeper into each of these fees:
Application (or waitlist fee). Application fees ranged from $20 to $500, with an average of $108 for each new student.
Enrollment (or registration) fee*. Enrollment fees ranged from $25 to $3,760, with an average of $200.
Supply fee. Supply fees ranged from $25 to $1,250, with an average of $238. There were a few child care providers that mentioned an itemized list of school supplies was available, in lieu of the supply fee. So, it might be worth asking if you can purchase supplies (and shop around and save) instead of paying the fee.
* A number of centers had a “facility fee” that was due at enrollment/registration. For our calculations, we included this facility fee in the enrollment/registration fee.
Meals. Some early education providers may provide meals. If they do, ask if this is already included in the tuition. We saw a few cases where meals were an added fee.
Shuttle service. Some child care centers may offer transportation services to and from school each day. This is usually offered as an option for an additional cost.
Deposit. Although not technically an additional fee, we have seen a number of daycares and preschools require a deposit. We’ve seen that this is many times one month of tuition that is later applied towards the last month’s tuition. Make sure to ask when and how the deposit will be applied or returned.
Penalty fees. There are a number of fees when things don’t exactly go as planned. Here are the main ones we came across when searching each of the websites:
Early or late arrival fee. If you drop off your little one before the scheduled time, or are running late to pick them up, there might be a fee for that. We typically saw a fee of $1 per minute.
Late payments. These ranged from either a per-day fee (e.g. $10 for each day late) and/or a total fee of $25 or $50.
Returned check. Usually around $25-50.
No lunch fee. If meals are not provided, and you forget to pack a lunch for your child, there may be a fee. This one wasn’t as common, though. And the fee we saw was usually around $5/day.
Sibling discount. The most common discount we saw in Austin was the sibling discount. Maybe having more siblings isn’t that bad after all. The sibling discount ranged from 2% to 40%, but mostly commonly, we saw 10% to be the standard.
Lump sum payment discount. Preschool and daycare is expensive. But, if you have the means to pay the annual cost in one lump sum, some schools will give you a discount for that. If it’s not listed on the website, make sure to ask. Where it was listed, we usually saw it range from 1-5% off.
Absence and closures. Providers seem to be divided on this one. If your child will be out due to an illness or a vacation, or if the school is closed for holidays or weather, you may be wondering if you’ll get a credit for those days. Definitely make sure to read your handbook -- or just ask the school. Most often, a school’s policy will likely be that no adjustments will be made. But, we did see a few schools that offered vacation credit or pro-rated certain weeks.
How to get subsidized child care in Austin
Workforce Solutions Capital Area Child Care Services provide subsidized child care assistance to families in Travis County that are eligible. To see if you’re eligible -- and to apply to the waitlist -- check out their website. If you already applied, you can call their office at 512-597-7191 to check your status.