Hong Kong


Expats facing higher fees to send their children to international schools

by Ray Clancy on December 7, 2016

Expats often send their children to international schools, but new research shows it is getting costlier with school fees up by 3.5% in 2016.

In Asia the most expensive international schools are in China, Hong Kong and Singapore, while in Europe they are in Switzerland, Belgium and the UK.

Children-SchoolThe ExpatFinder International School Fee Survey 2016, designed to provide guidance on navigating cost challenges relating to global relocation, bases its ranking on a comprehensive market survey of 707 international schools across 98 countries.

The survey shows that international school fees are steadily rising, particularly in markets that are popular destinations with expats. According to Sébastien Deschamps, chief executive officer of ExpatFinder, this is resulting in expat parents rethinking their entire approach to their children’s education.

‘For example, we see more and more parents considering options such as home schooling or enrolling their children in local schools that offer internationally recognised curriculum. Some have also opted for private tutors that provide supplementary native language lessons in lieu of costly international education,’ said Deschamps.

China is the most expensive in the world with average annual fees of US$36,400, followed by Switzerland at US$28,300, and Belgium at US$27,800 while the UK, Hong Kong, the United States, Singapore, Malaysia, Austria and Australia all have annual fees above US$20,000.

In the survey expats explain the impact high fees have had. ‘We shifted both our children to an international school so they can learn French, our mother tongue. However, the high cost of education has in turn changed the way we budget for our lifestyle. We now limit ourselves on spending much more than we did in our home country. Paying for education and extracurricular activities now takes up the largest part of our monthly budget,’ said Helene Denaiffe, a French expat in Singapore.

But among the 707 international schools surveyed, annual tuition fees fluctuate from as high as US$48,170 in Switzerland’s Institut Le Rosey to as low as US$860 in Colombia’s Colegio Anglo-Colombiano.

It means that some expat parents want flexible packages when being relocated abroad. According to Stephen Park, head of global mobility at Fonterra, parents of younger children favour smaller and more intimate schools that are not necessarily the most expensive, but it depends on the child.

‘Given the rising costs of education and ability to access top schools in certain locations, we are noticing an increasing trend of short term international assignments and commuting assignments where children remain in the home location,’ he explained.

‘Some cities, such as Hong Kong, are particularly challenging. At times, it is competitive to get children into good schools and I imagine some employees may turn down assignments in Hong Kong for the sake of their children’s future. It just shows how important education has become,’ he added.

The survey also shows that Switzerland, the United States, Spain, France, and Sweden have the highest price variance between the most expensive and most affordable schools. Overall Spanish schools are the most affordable, standing at only US$6,320 per annum.

However, when comparing the average tuition fees of international schools located in capital cities with those in secondary cities, prices for the former can be up to five times more expensive.

‘I’m surprised to see such a price gap between international schools located in Paris and those in other French cities. International school fees in Paris are significantly more expensive for families not supported by their companies or embassies,’ said Camelia Pierre, an expat mother of two in France.

{ 0 comments }

Thumbnail image for Hong Kong remains the world’s most expensive place to buy property

Hong Kong remains the world’s most expensive place to buy property

September 28, 2016 Hong Kong

Hong Kong is the most expensive city in the world to buy a home, followed by Singapore, New York, London and Paris, according to new research. These are cities where career expats often aspire towards working, but if they want to buy an apartment then they will pay more than anywhere else in the world, […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Hong Kong ranked as most expensive city in the world for expats

Hong Kong ranked as most expensive city in the world for expats

June 23, 2016 Angola

Hong Kong is the most expensive city in the world for expats, pushing Luanda in Angola into second place, according to the latest global cost of living survey. The rankings from Mercer put Zurich in third place, Singapore in fourth while Tokyo is in fifth, up six places from last year and Kinshasa in sixth, […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Daily direct flights to Hong Kong from New Zealand announced

Daily direct flights to Hong Kong from New Zealand announced

May 19, 2016 Hong Kong

More opportunities are opening up for travel between Hong Kong and New Zealand with a new daily flight programme announced for later this year. Hong Kong Airlines has confirmed that it intends to operate daily flights between Hong Kong and Auckland from November this year. “This announcement further strengthens the flourishing tourism and trade between […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Accommodation employee costs highest in London, new research shows

Accommodation employee costs highest in London, new research shows

March 2, 2016 America

The cost of accommodation for expat employees working for multi nationals in London is more than double that of Sydney, Los Angeles or Chicago according to new research. The average total cost of accommodation per worker, per year in 20 key cities around the world is US$56,855, the latest Live Work index from international real […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Hong Kong is most popular city in the world for the sixth year on a row

Hong Kong is most popular city in the world for the sixth year on a row

February 2, 2016 Asia

Hong Kong is the most popular city in the world, followed by London, Singapore, Bangkok and Paris, according to new research using the most up to date figures available. The city had 27.7 million international visitors in 2014, up 8.2%, way ahead of second ranked London at 17.3 million foreign visitors, a rise of 3.6%, […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Asian cities becoming among the most expensive for expat accommodation

Asian cities becoming among the most expensive for expat accommodation

April 17, 2014 China

Four of the top 10 cities with the most expensive rental accommodations for foreign expats are in Asia, an increasingly popular expat location, according to a new report. Asia is becoming increasingly popular with expats from Europe and the United States with many major firms setting up offices in Hong Kong, China, Japan and India, […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Rental costs for expats highest in Hong Kong

Rental costs for expats highest in Hong Kong

March 7, 2014 General

If you are moving to live and work in Hong Kong you will pay more to rent an apartment than anywhere else in the world, according to a new study. In US dollar terms, rents in the city are now more than 50% higher than Asia’s next most expensive location of Tokyo. In contrast, Karachi […]

Read the full article →
Hong Kong city

Hong Kong most expensive city for companies to place expat workers

March 5, 2014 General

Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive city for companies to locate employees, significantly ahead of London and New York, which have been vying for second place over the past two years. Paris completes the list of the top four cities where renting a living and working space for a single employee costs more than […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for UAE and Hong Kong most popular expat locations for professionals

UAE and Hong Kong most popular expat locations for professionals

January 3, 2014 China

The United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong are the most popular expat destinations for relocating global professionals to stay on longer than they originally intended, according to a new report. The study, carried out by global specialist recruiter Hydrogen, has detailed Hong Kong as the celebrated gateway to China which is attracting a large number […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Asian countries top global list of best places to do business

Asian countries top global list of best places to do business

October 30, 2013 China

Singapore is the best country in the world for doing business followed by Hong Kong and China, according to the annual business report from the World Bank. The report shows that a majority of countries that top the global list are in Asia. The following countries in the top 10 are New Zealand, the United […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Expats in UAE spend most on luxuries

Expats in UAE spend most on luxuries

September 26, 2013 Dubai

The saving, spending and investment behaviour of Western expats in increasingly popular locations have been revealed for the first time by a new survey. A poll of hundreds of expats in Singapore, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates, three destinations that are becoming increasingly sought after for overseas jobs, shows those in the UAE […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Hong Kong is world’s most expensive city for home and business rental costs

Hong Kong is world’s most expensive city for home and business rental costs

September 18, 2013 Australia

Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive city to rent a home or business, followed by New York and then London, according to a global index compiled by international real estate advisor Savills. Singapore offers businesses locating in the city the best value accommodation in relation to the size of its economy according to the […]

Read the full article →