Children’s education fees in Hong Kong are among the highest in the world, ranging from HK$70,000 to 220,000 (or US$9,000 to 28,000) per year, for leading English-language schools, meaning that planning for Children’s education fees need to be factored into your financial planning, just like any other major commitment, like acquiring property.
Some expats have their children’s education fees in Hong Kong paid for by their employer, but even in these cases, you’ll have to pay for university, bearing in mind that if your children have lived outside the UK for several years, they may not be eligible for UK-student rates and have to pay overseas rates which are much higher.
For international students, university fees range from US $21,000 to $50,000 in the UK and US $30,000 to $50,000 in the USA, while in Australia, home to excellent English-language universities but still lacking the global cachet of the Ivy League or Oxbridge, it is still possible to find some courses as low as $15,000. In addition to these expenses, given that these are all very high-cost countries, a student might have US$30,000 in yearly expenses for room and board and travelling back to Hong Kong, resulting in a total cost potentially as high as $180,000 to $360,000 for a four-year course.
If you are in Hong Kong for good, your children may choose to study there. University education fees in Hong Kong are much more moderate. At the University of Hong Kong, for example, they range from HK$42,000 for local students to HK$146,000 for overseas students (US$5,400 to $18,800 respectively).
In any case, it is important to plan for these fees. One option to monitor your progress is to set up a children’s education fund – a specific fund dedicated to saving for these expenses to which you contribute regularly – a given amount out of each paycheck, for example. Another is to start as early as possible – perhaps even as soon as your children are born. This means the savings are a smaller cut of your income each year, will compound for a longer period of time and the extra time allows you to take on a little more risk (and hopefully higher returns) in your portfolio.
If it’s too late to set up a children’s education fund, options to consider are: having your children return to the UK a few years ahead of time so they qualify for lower UK fees, considering alternative markets with highly respected universities at lower tuition rates (such as the Netherlands, France and some Scandinavian countries), and pursuing scholarship options. For a more detailed look at education fees across Asia look here.
In conclusion – education fees are eye-watering around the world, especially so if you’re going for the duo of ‘English-language International school’ and ‘World-renowned university’. Even for affluent professionals, it is a matter that merits serious analysis in financial planning.