The Cost of an International Education in Recessionary times

A world-class international education offers parents and children a valuable option, but many families are left questioning the cost of international education. Generally speaking, international schools require higher tuition payments than public schools, but international school fees can vary based on the city or country that the school is located in.

The Cost of an International Education Around the Globe

For instance, the average monthly tuition cost at an international school in Shanghai was more than $2,700 per month. At the opposite end of the spectrum, international schools in Capetown had an average monthly tuition of a little more than $300.

The same is true in Singapore. The cost of education in Singapore will vary based on the individual school, its campus features and its location in the city. Tuition costs range from $15,000 to $50,000 annually.

Factors that Contribute to the Cost of an International Education

There are a variety of factors that contribute to the cost of international education, which is why the international school fees in Singapore vary so greatly. These are a few of the factors that may impact the price you pay each month in tuition fees:

  • Pricing Structure — Every school has its own pricing structure which determines how it collects tuition fees, and in turn, how those fees are dispersed. By selecting an international school that efficiently uses its tuition fees and strategically allocates all funds received, you can enjoy a high-quality education for a moderate price. Looking for schools who may be part of a ‘partner’ group is also important. Often these schools are linked together to outsource certain administration tasks. This means that their costs are reduced in these areas which then means that they are able to use the money they save in these areas to improve their campuses, offer educational opportunities, improve resources or technology and employ the best teachers.
  • Campus Amenities — Some international schools offer extensive amenities like swimming pools and multiple sports arenas on campus, which directly impact the overall cost of education. Recently renovated features, such as a performing arts theatre or an entirely new campus building can drive up tuition fees. Knowing whether there are plans to expand a campus or do these building works is also important, as it may be the case that the school is planning a price hike to prepare for these extra costs.
  • The number of Language Courses, Elective Courses or Extracurricular Activities — Schools with an extensive list of language and elective courses may be required to have more staff members, which in turn impacts the cost of education. A high number of extracurricular activities can also drive up the overall tuition fees. Schools that allow students to choose and pay for only the extracurricular activities that they participate in or offer the activities as an option after school avoid passing these costs onto parents and are able to keep their fees at a more moderate rate.
  • Hidden Costs — There are other hidden fees that parents may be responsible for, and it is important to be aware of those costs before selecting a school. Application fees, registration fees, facility fees, development levies and technology fees are just a few examples to look out for. As above, it is also important to know whether extracurricular activities are already included in the fee structure. Some schools will offer a basic fee structure with numerous add-ons that may include sports, trips and other extracurricular activities. Knowing whether you have the option to select these extras is important. For instance, if your child is going to attend sports clubs at a different location you may not want to be paying for after school sports at their school as well. Another consideration regarding fees is checking whether the school offers payment options and ensuring that they do not escalate their prices year on year. You do not want to be caught out with a price hike especially if you have multiple children enrolled at the school.

While some international schools may offer temporary financial measures and discounted fees in this COVID-driven recessionary time, parents should look at international schools in Singapore that offer a transparent fee structure with a clear breakdown of fees for the courses, amenities and activities offered. Parents should feel confident in what the fees will be and that they will not have any unexpected surprises. They should also be kept up to date with what the school spends their fees on.

How OWIS Offers a High-Quality Education for a Moderate Price

Fortunately, expatriate families who are searching for an international school in Singapore will be pleased to know they can provide their children with an excellent educational experience at a moderate price point. In recessionary times, it is essential to be sure that you are getting the best possible value for your money and the best possible education for your child.

OWIS is able to offer students a high-quality education for the best possible price because we maximise our resources and operate with a lean non-academic staff. We are able to strategically allocate funds and direct the resources we have to the most important elements of education: teachers, curriculum development, training and professional development for teachers, the right teaching and technological resources.

We are careful with our funding and ensure that we invest it into the most appropriate areas. We are open and honest about what our fees are used for, and always keep parents and families in the loop.

At OWIS, our parent organisation Global Schools Foundation helps us reduce overhead costs. GSF provides us with human resources services, financial services and facilities management services. This valuable partnership reduces our operational costs and allows us to offer high-quality education at a moderate price. We ensure that our students get the best educational experience possible whilst maintaining fair and affordable pricing.

To know more about OWIS, contact our Admissions Counsellor today or book a school tour. On your tour, we can show you the valuable amenities that are available on our campus, and we can discuss our transparent fee structure.

This blog was originally written in collaboration with Jasween Gill, former Admissions and Communications Director, OWIS Nanyang and Suntec. 

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