International schools just got 19% dearer!

International schooling is a must for expat kids. But prices are rocketing.
Expatfinder’s International School Fees 2018 survey of almost 700 international schools across almost 30 countries “reflects a startling 19% rise in prices compared to 2017”.

There is too much demand for places at International Schools. Why? Because it’s no longer just expat kids (and rich kids) who are lined up for places; “While it is challenging enough for international schools to cater to growing expat demand, we now see that the demand for places is coming from the exploding middle classes of host countries as local parents regard international schools as a stepping stone for their children to compete for spots in prestigious Western universities.” (Sebastien Deschamps, CEO and co-founder of Parents of non-expat kids are muscling their way into International Schools. And this is why it is China which is now the global leader in hosting International Schools with 807 (ISC Research, 2018) as well as hosting the most expensive on average; “In China the need to get into top 100 universities is more intense than even 10 years ago and an international school is seen as a secure track for a very good education.”  (Laurence Cook, Dulwich College International, Shanghai)  

Snapshot: International Schools 2018

  • 4.5m pupils globally with more than 8,000 English medium International Schools globally (ISC Research).
  • Most expensive International School: Surval Montreux, Switzerland ($92,240 per annum).
  • Most expensive country for International Schools: China ($33,591 average per annum).
  • West still more expensive than East: average fees of $22,730 per annum are asked for in the Americas and Europe compared to $16,403 per annum in the Middle East and Asia.
  • Shop around by country! Belgium, for example – with average fees of $29,613 per annum – is over 3 times more expensive than the neighbouring Netherlands, with average fees of $8,859 per annum.
  • Shop around by School System! Expat parents should be aware that the French and Dutch School Systems work out as half the price of the popular General International System which comprises over 80% of all International Schools curricula.
  • A huge future as a sector: the global International Schools market will be worth US$89 billion by 2026 (


Snapshot: UAE International Schools 2018

  • There were 627 International Schools in the UAE at the beginning of 2018, according to ISC Research. The Middle East hosts roughly 1600.
  • International Schools in the UAE are relatively cheap. In Expatfinder’s 2018 analysis, the UAE was ranked 18th most expensive provider of International Schools out of 27 countries.
  • The International Schools at home in the UAE might be relatively cheap, but UAE parents are big spenders on education across the world. HSBC’s 2017 Value of Education survey revealed that UAE parents spend more on their kids’ education than any other group of parents in the world other than Hong Kong.


Snapshot: UK International Schools 2018

  • International Schools in the UK are relatively expensive. In Expatfinder’s 2018 analysis, the UK was ranked 4th most expensive provider of International Schools out of 27 countries.
  • Perhaps confusingly, 3,700 of all 8,000+ international schools, both in and outside of the UK, are “British International Schools: “schools with a British national orientation, and/or using elements of the UK national curriculum.” (Cobis)
  • UK parents spend an average of $24,862 on a child’s education each year, making Brits the 9th-most avid education investors surveyed by the HSBC in 2017.


About the Expatfinder Survey

  • The Expatfinder International School Fees Survey 2018 covers 688 schools in 27 countries.
  • The Expatfinder survey is growing in authority as a reliable source for international education financial data alongside the established HSBC annual Value of Education survey.
  • Check out the full Expatfinder survey findings here.

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