Education and Schools in San Jose

As the heart of the high-tech sector in the US, the greater Silicon Valley area is renowned for its education system, and most notably its tertiary institutions.

Public education in San Jose is administered by a number of school districts, the main one in the metropolitan area being the San Jose Unified School District. 

Educational institutions in San Jose consist of public, charter, private and international schools.

Public schools in San Jose

Public schools in San Jose generally offer a high standard of education, but parents are advised to judge each school on its individual merits; it's a good idea to visit a school in person, meet with the head teachers and request a tour of its facilities.

Attendance of public schools is determined by geographical location with students attending the public school in the school district in which they are resident. Parents will need to provide proof that they reside permanently within the specific school district. It follows, then, that choosing a home in a good school district is therefore paramount for expats moving to San Jose with children. In general, the better public schools in Silicon Valley tend to be in the more upmarket areas.

Charter schools

Charter schools are public schools governed by a non-profit board, including members of the local school community, and operating on a performance-based contract with the local school district. Charter schools have more flexibility in terms of their academic programmes and curricula, and often tend to offer a higher standard of education than mainstream public schools. They are tuition-free and open to any child who wishes to attend. However, competition for a place at a charter school in San Jose can be quite tight, and if there are more students applying than there is space, there will be a lottery to determine who is admitted. 

Private schools in San Jose

There are many private schools in San Jose and the greater Silicon Valley region. The majority of these schools have a religious affiliation, usually Catholic. Each private school has its own admission requirements which may involve tests and personal interviews, and have more freedom to follow their own curriculum and academic programme.

There are no residential boundaries for children attending private schools in San Jose. Nevertheless, competition for places at the best private schools can be fierce and parents should start the application process as early as possible. Tuition at private schools can also be expensive. On top of basic fees, other expenses may include school uniforms, extra-curricular activities, textbooks and school excursions. 

International schools in San Jose

Given the multinational makeup of San Jose, expats can rest assured that there are a number of international schools in San Jose and the wider Silicon Valley region catering to a variety of nationalities. These schools either follow the curriculum of their home country or offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme. International schools are often a good option for families living in San Jose on a short-term assignment. However, fees at international schools can be exorbitant, and expats should ensure that they factor this into their contract negotiations if planning a move to San Jose with kids. Space can also often be limited so the earlier one applies the better.

Tertiary education in San Jose

There are a number of world-renowned tertiary institutions in the Silicon Valley region, most notably Stanford University in Palo Alto. Other notable institutions in and around San Jose include Santa Clara University and San Jose State University. There are also a number of community colleges that offer quality tertiary education.

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Aetna International

Aetna is an award-winning insurance business that provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. Their high quality health insurance plans are tailored to meet the individual needs of expats living and working abroad.

Get a quote from Aetna International


Cigna Global

With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.

Get a quote from Cigna Global