Moving abroad with your family can be nerve-wracking – especially when it comes to finding the right school for your kids. The good news is that there are more and more top quality international schools around the world. The not so good news is that these schools can be expensive, so it’s worth taking the time to work out how much you’ll need to pay and how you can pay it. Below, experts at the online investment management service Nutmeg, offer some tips on how to fund that dream education abroad.
What you can expect
International schools offer world-leading standards but it’s no secret that they don’t come cheap. When you move overseas, you’ll usually have a choice of either a British or an independent international school. British international schools will teach the same curriculum as in the UK, while independents will teach in English but may offer different types of exam, like the International Baccalaureate.
If your main priority is finding a British International School, then you can check whether the school is approved by the British schools overseas inspection scheme. This ensures it meets criteria set by the UK government. You can also check if it’s a member of the Council of British International Schools.
So, the cost. This will vary depending on where you live and how old your kids are, but to give you a rough idea of the sorts of figures you’ll be looking at, here are a selection of the average yearly fees for a five-year-old, across leading international schools in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the US:
International School of Paris: £22,000 per year.
International School of Geneva: £22,000 per year.
Tanglin Trust school in Singapore: £25,000 per year.
Wellington International School, Dubai: £11,500 per year
British International School of New York: £36,000 per year.
Ways to pay
Thankfully, schools recognise that fees are a key concern for parents, and they are sensitive to the global financial climate. Many go out of their way to help families find a payment plan that suits them and their circumstances.
Some schools have their own schemes that offer discounts with up-front payments, while others offer ways to pay by taking fees from parents’ monthly income. It all depends on the school. While school-specific plans offer convenience and peace of mind, they often incur extra admin charges.
Remember that schools will have also extra costs aside from tuition fees, ranging from application fees to equipment, trips, transport and so on. So the most important thing is to plan early: do your homework on finding out the total cost of what you’ll have to pay. Then, have a proper conversation with your school and ask them how they can help you pay in a way that suits you.
If you think that you’ll be moving abroad in the near future, then have a think about what sort of school you’d prefer and look into the costs involved. And remember to check with your employer to see if they’d offer any support for this.
If you’ve got time on your hands, it makes sense to start saving early so that you’re prepared – whatever the total ends up being. With interest rates at an all-time low, it might make sense to invest your savings to help them grow more quickly.
While you’re in the UK make sure you’re making use of your tax-efficient ISA allowance. Each individual can save up to £15,240 per year in an ISA – that’ll certainly help to make a dent in those school fees.
To find out how much your money could be worth in years to come, why not try out Nutmeg’s handy ISA calculator.