As an expat living abroad, you might have to pay international student fees for your children to study at university. These fees are considerably higher than fees for local citizens. Aside from that you also have to consider accommodation and basic living expenses, books, and extra fees.
To add to that, if you don’t have university age children, private international schools are almost just as expensive as universities.
The more affluent individuals should not be quick to judge saving for education fees. Expat packages abroad are usually very generous, but private school and university fees could eat up disposable income every month and leave very little left for savings or luxuries. To add insult to injury, many expat benefit packages are being trimmed down to exclude tuition for children.
According to Forbes, 45.8 Million Americans owe $1,7 Trillion in student loans. Do you want your children to be in debt before they even start their professional careers?
We look at the average tuition fees for private international schools and universities all over the globe.
2. Importance of an Education Savings Plan
Stats show that you could spend over £700 000 over the course of 18 years to put your child through private kindergarten, primary and high school, and tuition fees could reach over £100 000 for a degree at a top university.
This is often more than most would have in their pension pot at retirement. To be fair, this huge amount is distributed over the course of 18 years but, imagine how much could be saved a month if there were an education plan in place to cover these costs.
Even for affluent professionals, this eats into monthly disposable income.
2.1 Benefits of an Education Savings Plan
- You can give your children the opportunity to study at the best schools and universities if they so desire
- Your children can start their professional careers without the burden of huge student loan debt
- Having a lump sum for tuition allows you to have more monthly disposable income to save towards your retirement
- Not having to spend huge amounts on schooling and universities will allow for more luxuries like family vacations, hobbies, or renovations to your home
2.2 Example of compound interest on an Education Savings Plan
An Education Savings Plan started at the birth of a child could help significantly to cover these huge expenses for private schools and university.
£200 invested a month into an Education Savings Plan earning on average 6% p.a. with a 2% annual increase to beat inflation
|Term Invested||Compound interest earned||Total Investment Sum|
|10 years||£9 439||£35 717|
|15 years||£ 24 424||£65 927|
|18 years||£38 352||£89 740|
3. Average Fees of Private Schools
*All fees have been converted into Pound Sterling to make comparison easier
|School||Average school fees p.a.|
|Berlin Brandenburg International school||High school up to £18 000 p.a.|
|Australia International school – Hong Kong||High school £18 000 p.a.|
|St Benedict’s School London||High school £16 845 p.a.|
|International school of Madrid||High school £8 900 p.a.|
|International school – Paris||High school £26 300 p.a.|
|Barker Private school – Sydney||High school £18 000 p.a.|
|British school of Amsterdam||High school £15 000 p.a.|
You also need to take into consideration that costs could double if you have two or more children.
4.Ranking and Average Fees of Top Universities
The Times Higher Education (THE) World University rankings for 2021 have been published. Over 1500 universities across 93 countries are included, and ratings are based on 13 carefully selected performance indicators that measure a university’s performance according to:
|Teaching||Research||Knowledge Transfer||International Outlook|
Let’s look at the top countries boasting ranked universities. Most of the top 50 are based in the UK, US, W Europe (Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands), Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Australia, and Canada.
The table below just covers course fees. Accommodation and books often exceed course fees. (some of these universities have limited or no English tuition)
4.1 Table of Top Universities and Tuition Fees
|World Ranking||Country||University||Average course fees for international under-graduates|
|1||UK||Oxford University||£30 000|
|2||US||Stanford University||£38 000|
|14||Switzerland||ETH Zurich Science and Technology||£2 400|
|18||Canada||University of Toronto||£23 000|
|20||China||Tsinghua University||£3 200|
|25||Singapore||National University of Singapore||£12 800|
|32||Germany||LMU Munich||£12 400|
|36||Sweden||Karolinska Institute||£15 700|
|Tokyo||University of Tokyo||£6 500|
|39||Hong Kong||University of Hong Kong||£16 000|
|45||Belgium||KV Leuven||£3 100|
|46||France||Paris Sciences et Lettres||£2 455|
|51||Australia||University of Sydney||£31 000|
|60||South Korea||Seoul University||£8 800|
|62||Netherlands||Wageningen University and Research||£14 000|
|84||Denmark||University of Copenhagen||£12 400|
|98||Finland||University of Helsinki||£13 200|
|127||Norway||University of Oslo||No tuition fees (minor admin fees)|
|147||New Zealand||University of Auckland||£13 000|
|152||Spain||Pompeu Fabra University||£7 000|
|155||South Africa||University of Cape Town||£4 630|
|Ireland||Trinity College||£17 000|
|167||Italy||University of Bologna||£2 100|
|174||Russia||Lomonosov Moscow State University||£2 560|
|191||Israel||Tel Aviv University||£9 150|
|200-250||Austria||Medical University of Vienna||No fees (German only)|
|Brazil||University of Sao Paulo||£4 000|
|Estonia||University of Tartu||£6 200|
|300-350||India||Institute of Science||£3 000|
|Malaysia||University of Malaya||£3 000|
|Qatar||Qatar University||£7 300|
5. Other Costs to Consider
Remember that there are costs other than just tuition fees that need to be considered.
Costs could include:
- Tuition fees
- Admin/registration fees
- Accommodation and living expenses
- Membership to societies or sports clubs
- Travel to school and back (international or local)
5.1 Average student living expenses in cities per month
(This includes food, leisure transport and personal items)
|Sydney £ 1 100||Madrid £970||Paris £970||Hong Kong £1400||Berlin £970||Amsterdam £880||London £ 1 265|
There are more than just tuition fees to consider when planning for you children’s education needs. These need to be factored into the budget. It is ideal to meet with a financial adviser to plan out the future education needs of your child and how much you need to save into an education plan.
Contributing to an Education Savings Plan when your children are still infants, could help cover private school and university fees whilst you are abroad.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin