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The cost of children's education is a big worry for many parents nowadays, as shown by the example of the Cheung family:

Getting the best start at school

Mrs Cheung has a four-year-old daughter and a son who is 18 months old. She has been talking to her husband about which primary school is best suited for their daughter. She wants her to study at an international school and go to an Australian university. Mr Cheung, however, thinks studying at an international school is too expensive and believes a government-subsidised local school is more suitable. He also wants to wait until their daughter is older before deciding whether she should study abroad.

Mrs Cheung's vision is far reaching, while Mr Cheung's concern over the family finance is understandable. Certainly, when children are nearing school age, parents should have a plan, but the way of education and its cost can vary greatly.

70% of parents feel the pressure of education costs for their primary or secondary school children, according to an Investor Education Centre's research, Financial Habits of Four Key Segments (parents, tertiary students, working adults, retirees). This is often heightened because they have big ambitions for their kids. Extra school fees include playgroups, special interest classes, private tuition and studying abroad - which is popular.

Education cost tips

Education expenses:

StagesTypesConsideration
Pre-school education Pre-nursery If you feel it is necessary, and at your own expense
Kindergarten - Check if your chosen kindergarten is eligible under the government's free kindergarten education plan (the plan will start from the 2017/18 school year, and cover local non-profit-making kindergartens for a three-year half-day service)
- Monthly fees can cost more than a few thousand dollars
Playgroups/ special interest classes/ private tuition Fees are usually paid in advance. Do check that it is a reputable and trustworthy school or teacher
Primary school/ secondary school Government/ subsidised Free
Direct-subsidy/ private Monthly and extra fees could add up to thousands of dollars
International Monthly and extra fees could cost tens of thousands of dollars
Post-secondary Local universities/tertiary institutions Fees depend on the course. Self-financing programmes are more expensive than a subsidised one. Make sure you are aware of the costs and financial ability when your children choose what to study
Overseas study Studying abroad is more expensive because of higher tuition fees and the costs of living overseas