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How Much It Would Really Cost To Attend Harry Potter's Hogwarts

Ever since the first "Harry Potter" book became a phenomenon that changed the publishing industry forever (via Vox), readers and watchers of the franchise have been waiting for their own Hogwarts letter — that owl-delivered missive that informs 11-year-olds that they are, in fact, part of the wizarding world. These lucky children would get to go to the school featured in the book, complete with turrets, Potions classes, Quidditch games, the Whomping Willow, trips to Hogsmeade, and so many more magical experiences.

And if Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry can offer so many delights (and dangers) to its students, then it clearly has the resources to hire teachers, provide decadent arrival feasts, and keep up a huge castle with extensive grounds housing any number of young, rowdy students. And if it's run anything like the schools Muggles go to, that means it has quite the budget. So the parents of these students must have to shell out quite a bit, you'd think. How much would it actually cost per student?

Fans have calculated that going to Hogwarts would cost more than $40,000 per year

Over the years, many have tried to estimate how much tuition costs at Hogwarts, including Centives, a self-described "economics blog that focuses on the fun and quirky side of economics" originally run by the Economics Society at Lehigh University. Noting in 2011 that the average tuition for the five best boarding schools in England was about £25,800 pounds before adding up the cost of the equipment required based on Harry's first letter — three sets of robes, a pointed hat, one pair of gloves, a winter cloak, a wand, a cauldron, a set of phials, a telescope, a set of brass scales, and textbooks — the editorial concluded that the first year of Hogwarts would cost £26,816, or $42,752, per year.

In 2015, Mic used the exchange rate between wizarding currency and U.S. dollars and the prices of school supplies listed on Pottermore to calculate the total cost of Hogwarts as $43,031 per year. Neither of these sources, however, apparently considered travel, spending money, or other costs.

Author J.K. Rowling has weighed in with a definitive answer

The author of the "Harry Potter" series, J.K. Rowling, has weighed in on the issue. In response to the Mic article, she tweeted the definitive answer: "There's no tuition fee! The Ministry of Magic covers the cost of all magical education!"

Of course, that doesn't mean the entire school experience is free — the students (and their families) in the books are shown to be responsible for their own robes, textbooks, pets, and other items. The Weasley family, who are not quite as rich as Harry is, is one of the ways Rowling showcases this. In "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," Molly Weasley (Julie Walters) is hard-pressed to purchase five full sets of Gilderoy Lockhart's collected works for their five children attending school. And in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Ron is disgusted by his hand-me-down dress robes.

Online college Oxbridge did a deep dive in 2021 and determined that a modern-day Hogwarts student would probably pay $10,353.47 per year, even without having to account for tuition. That total includes clothing, equipment, textbooks, and spending money and assumes that the Hogwarts Express costs the same as a Muggle train ticket from London to the Scottish Highlands (in off-peak hours). It's still less expensive than most colleges — but maybe makes not getting that Hogwarts letter a little less painful for us Muggles. Right?