What it really costs to send your kids to an international school in Singapore

Planning to send your kids to an international school in Singapore? From application fees to lunch at the canteen and even building maintenance, we take a look at how much it really costs to get started.

With annual tuition fees generally in the region of $18,000-$36,000, choosing an international school in Singapore is not a decision to be taken lightly. But did you know that this might be just the tip of the iceberg? To get your kids started at school you may find yourself coughing up for application fees, enrolment fees, building maintenance costs, contributions to the parents’ association, extra-curricular activities, exams, insurance… and that’s before your little person has even made it to morning snack break.

There’s no doubt there are considerable benefits to investing in an international school education, and it’s so important to make sure you choose the one that’s right for your family. To help you navigate your way through the decision-making process, we’ve taken a look at what it costs to kick off a child’s primary school adventure (we’ve used age 6-7 as the common starting point, which is most often Year 1) at 28 international schools in Singapore*. Check out the details in our handy chart below and then make your way to HoneyKids’ online school comparison tool, where you’ll find helpful comparisons of fees, curriculum, facilities and more to help you choose the right school for your family. We’ve worked with schools and sought testimonials from parents to cut down hours of your research time. So make sure you bookmark School Selector, the must-have school info bible for every parent in Singapore!

As you can see, your initial annual investment could vary wildly depending on which schools you’re considering. With an average outlay of $34,644 to cover your child’s first year, you’ll probably want to do your research on international schools. But don’t despair: the range of fees is very broad (anywhere from around $18,000 up to $49,000) and there are schools aplenty. In 2017 we even saw the launch of three new schools at the lower end of the price range – Invictus International, Global Indian International School and One World International Nanyang – and the opening of Middleton International School at the start of 2018. The fees aren’t getting any lower but more affordable schools opening may be a sign of things to come in Singapore. It really comes down to deciding on your family’s budget and therefore which ones will make it onto the shortlist. It’s also worth noting that while some costs may seem high, other things are often included within the school fees, such as books and classroom materials, including the use of IT facilities. It pays to check with your prospective schools to find out more about the potential fees AND savings.

HoneyKids Asia international school starting costs

A few examples of how the range of extra costs at international schools can vary considerably.

Some ‘fun’ fee facts you might not know:

  • The average annual tuition fee – the biggest cost you need to consider – is $27,402.
  • Submitting an application is free at some schools… but up to $4,500 at others! However, some application fees are partially refundable.
  • Rocking up to the school canteen will cost anywhere from $900 to $1,800 per year.
  • Waving goodbye to your child on the bus could set you back as little as $1,100 or as much as $6,100 for the year.
  • Uniforms can be as cheap as $30… or as much as $250.
  • Other costs that might crop up include fees for extra-curricular activities, technology, books, field trips, resources, exams, insurance, learning support, and charges for studying English as a Second Language.
  • Some fees are a one-off, so while you have to cough up for the first year, it won’t be applicable from the second year onwards.
  • Discounts are sometimes offered to families who have more than one child attending the school. Bonus!
  • Some schools allow you to pay in instalments while others ask for full payment upfront.
  • School fees increase as your child moves up an age group so do check with the schools if you plan to send your child to school in Singapore for an extended period of time.

You get the idea. International school is expensive (and, by the way, local schools are VERY tough for non-Singaporeans to get into). But it’s costly for good reason. The facilities are top notch, teaching staff are among the best, and your children will benefit from their multi-cultural schooling foundations for the rest of their lives. It’s one of the most important investment decisions you’re going to make, so taking some time to thoroughly assess your options is a must-do. But don’t fret, the School Selector is your trusty companion, and with it you’ll be packing your kids off to an excellent international school in no time.

*Amounts published here are based on research conducted online and via phone as at July 2018. Fees published are based on a mainstream programme for a new Primary Year 1 (age 6-7) student in Singapore, for the 2018-19 school year (or 2017-18 where 2018-19 figures are unavailable). Fees for 2019-2020 are likely to be increased. Fees sometimes vary across different campuses of the same school. All fee amounts should be verified directly with schools.

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