Expat families, take note of this potential financial trap

Expat families, take note of this potential financial trap

Michelle Zhu
06/12/16, 03:39 pm

SINGAPORE (Dec 6): Singapore is the third most expensive country in Asia in terms of international education fees after Hong Kong and China, based on recent data from the ExpatFinder International School Fee Survey 2016

The annual worldwide study conducted by ExpatFinder.com, the web publication of tech company Interexpat, was designed to provide guidance on navigating cost challenges relating to global relocation, basing its ranking on a market survey of 707 international schools across 98 countries.

On average, sixth grade tuition fees cost about US$27,100 per annum ($38,501 per annum) in Singapore. This makes the city state seventh in the world for international education costs as compared to China, which tops the list at first place with an average fee of US$36,400 per annum.

Singapore’s most expensive international academic institutions, in the order of the highest to the lowest fees, have been revealed as: The Australian international School, Stamford American International School, and Overseas Family School.

“The rising cost of international education, coupled with an ongoing trend of employers replacing traditional expat packages with local contracts, increases the financial burden on expats considerably,” says ExpatFinder.com’s CEO and founder Sébastien Deschamps in a Tuesday press release.

One trend arising from this year’s edition of the survey is the increase of international school tuition fees in 2016 by 3.43% as compared to 2015, which ExpatFinder.com believes should be taken into account as a form of recurring price inflation for long-term global assignments.

The web publication also highlights that American schools appear to rank as the most expensive in general, and this is followed closely by British, Canadian, French and German schools.

“While employers must be mindful of the financial pressure that relocating a family and moving children to international schools can place on expats, globally, mobile employees must also take into account those education costs and taxes as early as possible in their salary negotiations,” he advises.  

Additionally, Deschamps has observed an increasing trend of expats “rethinking their entire approach to their children’s education” by turning to options such as home schooling, local schools or private tutors that provide supplementary native language lessons.  

“With the move towards more localised assignment terms, human resources (HR) needs to develop creative and flexible packages that assist with this additional financial burden [of expensive schooling fees],” says Talent Mobility Search’s managing partner, Sean Collins.

“By removing this barrier and creating a consistent and fair policy, organisations can continue to attract and ensure the mobility of their top talent,” he adds.

Read the full report from ExpatFinder.com here

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