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Study of Expat School Fees Reveals Surprises

Expat Schooling

In many ways expats with school-age children have more to worry about when moving abroad.

Should you, for example, take your children with you and school them in your adopted country? If so, should they attend a “local” school or alternatively one of the highly-rated international schools?

A further option that many expat parents consider is boarding school in their home country, whereupon children can visit their parents during school holidays.

Whilst it is true that the quality of education should really be the most important factor in choosing a suitable school for your children, the reality of the situation is that cost is often a contributing factor.

But if that is the case then what are the real costs of expat schooling?

British boarding schools are often not cheap, but then many expats complain about the costs of international schools in many parts of the world. So what really represents the best value-for-money?

That’s exactly what a new study from currency exchange company FXCompared aimed to uncover recently. Their study examined the costs of expat schooling around the world in an attempt to assist parents in making the most financially sound decisions.

According to the study enrolling your children into a British boarding school costs an average of £31,000 a year. Top-end schools can cost considerably more and even day schools often charge £20,000 a year or more.

The costs of schooling in other countries can vary widely from this figure however. The study found, for example, that international schools in both Canada and the United Arab Emirates average out at just £11,000 per year; just over half the cost of the same service in Britain.

International schooling in France typically cost just £14,000 per annum; a £6,000 saving off day schooling in the UK. In Germany and Australia these costs are even lower, posting an average price of £12,000 a year.

Unsurprisingly countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Switzerland – all popular expat destinations – charge fees more similar to UK rates.

Of course the costs of expat schooling are far more than simply basic school fees. Consideration must also be given to a suite of other costs such as uniforms and school trips. For expats considering schooling their children abroad you will also want to consider the costs of travel so that your whole family can meet up from time to time.

Sending school-age children to boarding school in the UK while you’re working abroad can therefore rapidly rank up the total cost when international travel is also factored in.

As is clear, there are no obvious “winners” or “losers” – it is more a case of weighing up the alternatives to decide which option suits your family – and your chequebook – better.

If in doubt, consider whether your employer offers an expat package which can, in some cases, include a provision for school costs.

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