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International school costs: what’s included?

An international school education can definitely be an amazing experience for children, but for the parents, if the employee is not covering the costs, it’s a financial outlay many think about long into the night. Here are some of the costs you’ll need to consider and the questions worth asking when you’re reviewing schools.

Things to check up front

Enrollment fee: Expect to pay to submit an application; this is sometimes known as an “application fee”. Some schools will refund all or a portion of the cost if you decide to withdraw the application before an offer is made.

Registration fee: Some schools charge an additional fee when you accept the offer of a place.

Building or development levy: Most schools add this cost to fund the future development of school facilities.

International school cost

Tuition costs

Fees for a year of kindergarten can range from around $20,000 up to $29,000. Fees for Year 12 generally start around the $28,000 mark and can go up to $42,000 per year. Payment terms range from per semester or term to monthly.

Extras Technology: Older children are often required to bring their own laptop or iPad, or to purchase one through the school’s IT scheme.

Uniforms: This generally ranges from $100 to $500 per child.

Lunches: Although not compulsory, most schools offer a lunch from approximately $4 per day.

School bus: Price is dependent on the distance from school, but expect to budget a minimum of $1,000 per child per year.

Excursions and school trips: Younger children are likely to make local day-trips to the Zoo or the Science Centre, but older children often have the opportunity to visit countries such as Thailand or Nepal, at a cost of up to several thousand dollars.

Textbooks: Some texts are included under tuition fees while others are additional, up to around $500 per year.

Exams: For IGCSE and IB diploma candidates, these can cost from $150 to $2,500.

Extra-curricular activities: Many of these are free, but some can cost up to $300 per term per activity


Choosing an international school? Read our guide to schools! Or read up about all the types of curricula on offer. 


This article first appeared in the City guide 2017 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!