The Price You Can Expect to Pay for Expatriate Education

Ensuring that your child gets access to top quality expat education should be a priority for all expat parents and for this reason many expat opt for private international schools when living overseas.

Internationals schools do cost a lot more money than local government-run educational establishments and you may need to be prepared to put aside significant amounts of money on a monthly basis to cover the cost of your child’s education, especially if you’re company are not footing the bill.

But where is all your money going?

Here’s our guide to the costs that you may come across when placing your child in a private international school overseas.

Where Your Money Goes

Teacher’s Salaries

The teachers that work at private international schools are among the best in the world and this comes at a price. Many international schools pay extremely high salaries and also pay their teacher’s generous expatriate compensation packages in order to attract some of the best teachers.

Smaller Class Sizes

The class sizes in private international schools are generally smaller than those in state-run schools and this means that there is a higher teacher-pupil ratio. This costs money.

School Location

The majority of international schools are located in prime, central areas. As a result the cost of leasing or buying the properties on which the schools are located is very high. This also explains why private international school costs are so much higher in one city than they may be in another.

Other Expenses

Other costs are associated with the facilities that the schools offer, whether they need additional security to protect the expatriate community that attends their school and any special programs they offer that require specialist equipment or teachers.

What Fees You May Pay

Tuition Fees

Tuitions fees will make up the biggest area of cost. The tuition fees that you will need to pay for your child’s education in a private international school will depend upon how prestigious that particular school is and how competitive private education in the city within which you live is. Basically, the stronger the reputation that a school has, the higher the tuition fees you can expect to pay.

Additional Costs

On top of the basic tuition fees you may face a number of additional costs. These could cover areas such as transportation to and from school, lunches, compulsory school uniform, extra-curricular activities, schoolbooks etc. If you choose to board your child at school then you can obviously expect a great deal of cost associated with that.


Many schools also requires debenture, a non-interest loan that the parent gives to the school before the child starts and may be returned when their child leaves that school. Debentures can be anywhere between $5,000 and $30,000 USD per child.

Paying For Your Child’s International School Education

Ideally you should negotiate a contract that covers educational expenses for your child when you move overseas. See our free guide to expatriate contract negotiation for hints and tips. However, even if your expat contract does cover tuition fees, you should put aside your own money to cover education costs in the event that you change jobs or are put out of work at short notice. You never know what may happen in the future and you need to be sure that you are in a good enough financial position to ensure that your child’s education is not negatively impacted.

Some schools may offer international scholarships for outstanding students and you should fully research this when starting your initial discussions with suitable schools. You may also be offered reduced fees for second or multiple children if they attend the same school so, again, you should enquire about special fee structures that may be available to you when you start your research process.

For further information about overseas education, see our free Expat Manual, which contains a wealth of information on expatriate schools.

Author: ExpatInfoDesk