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Expats need to be prepared for the rising cost of international school fees

By March 1, 2018February 8th, 2023FinGlobal

Expats need to be prepared for the rising cost of international school fees

March 1, 2018


South African expats living abroad will not be happy to hear that the annual cost of international school tuition fees increased on average by 1.9% during 2017 to a global average of USD 15 363 and is expected to continue to increase during 2018. With many expat packages not covering, or only partially covering education, it is essential you monitor these fees.

Private versus state tuition

Providing a suitable education for your children can be very expensive in certain countries and in some countries its essential you find an internationally recognised private school because local ones are not on the same standard as your home country or may not offer internationally recognised qualifications or tuition in your children’s home language.

Expats tend to move between countries, so it’s important your child works towards getting an international qualification like an International Baccalaureate which is recognised by many universities around the world.

Hong Kong is the most expensive country for education

A recent survey of international schools by HSBC found that sending a child to school in Hong Kong from primary to university will cost in the region of $132 161. The UAE came in second with the same tuition costing in the region of $99 378. The costs include tuition fees, educational books, transport and accommodation. This data is based on a survey of more than 8 400 parents in 15 countries and territories

Plan for the future

Expat parents need to bank on the fact that school fees will increase every year and need to plan ahead and save in order to meet the often significant costs associated with educating their children. Parents who want their child to do a two-year post graduate degree in engineering can expect tertiary tuition fees to reach $26 400 in the UAE, $21 000 in the United States and $19 700 in Australia.

Coping with rising costs

Parents in the survey revealed that they were sacrificing a substantial portion of their monthly income to cover their child’s education. In order to cope with rising costs, many parents were making financial sacrifices including cutting back on leisure activities (40%), working long hours (21%), reducing their regular contributions for long-term savings or investments (20%) and taking on a part-time or second job (18%).

In some countries, tuition fees have increased by more than the global average of 1.9%. Singapore which tops the PISA education rankings has increased their fees by 3.6% and the trend of higher-than-inflation school fees are also seen in China (5.13%), the UK (3.16%) and the USA (4.65). In most countries the cost increases as the child moves through the school system.

The 10 most expensive countries to educate your children in:

  1. Hong Kong $132 161
  2. UAE $99 378
  3. Singapore $70 939
  4. USA $58 464
  5. Taiwan $56 424
  6. China $42 892
  7. Australia $36 402
  8. Malaysia $25 579
  9. UK $24 862
  10. Mexico $22 812

Ensure you are financially prepared

FinGlobal’s financial services have already helped thousands of happy customers emigrate abroad. If you have already relocated or are planning on emigrating in 2018, contact us for expert, personalised advice concerning financial emigration, competitive foreign exchange rates and other financial aspects including retirement annuity transfers and tax refunds.

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