This article is from the Hanggliding and Paragliding FAQ, by Joao Geada with numerous contributions by others.
If a student goes to a certified school in a large urban area and
buys all new equipment at retail prices, learning to fly can cost
$5000+. If one purchases used equipment, however, this price can
easily drop to around $1000. Whenever used equipment is purchsed,
however, it is IMPERATIVE that an experienced pilot familiar with the
equipment inspect it thoroughly.
Costs vary a lot, but as of 1992 figure on:
Training through the Novice level: $400 - $1000
Training glider: $400 - $1500 (used) $2000 - $3500 (new)
Harness $50 - $300 (used) $150 - $600 (new)
Parachute $200 - $300 (used) $350 - $400 (new)
Helmet $80 - $300 (new)
Fortunately, this can be purchased in stages. Usually instructors will
provide training equipment as part of their package through the
Beginner rating, but will expect students to obtain their own
equipment beyond this point. Parachutes aren't really useful for
altitudes below about 300 ft AGL and thus usually needn't be purchased
until reaching the Novice level.