The recent ExpatFinder International School Fee Survey 2016 has found that Singapore is the 7th most expensive country for international education. Designed to provide guidance on navigating cost challenges relating to global relocation, the study bases its ranking on a comprehensive market survey of 707 international schools across 98 countries.

The annual survey also captures sentiments around international school fees to not only highlight challenges for expats, but also opportunities for companies to remain attractive to foreign talent.

Based on the median of the 6th grade (for ages 11 to 12) tuition fees per country, the top three most expensive countries for international education are China (US$36,400 per annum), Switzerland (US$28,300 per annum) and Belgium (US$27,800 per annum).

Not far behind with fees above US$20,000 per annum, the countries that make to the top 10 out of 98 countries (in descending order) are United Kingdom, Hong Kong, United States, Singapore, Malaysia, Austria and Australia.

Most expensive countries


According to the report, annual tuition fees fluctuate from as high as US$48,170 in Switzerland’s Institut Le Rosey, to as low as US$860 in Colombia’s Colegio Anglo-Colombiano among the 707 international schools surveyed.

Here are some of the most expensive schools in the countries surveyed:

  • United Kingdom: The American School in London
  • United Arab Emirates: American School of Dubai
  • United States: The Dwight School
  • China: Yew Chung International School
  • Singapore: The Australian International School
Top most expensive countries


Stephen Park, head of global mobility at Fonterra commented: “Often, we find parents of younger children favour smaller and more intimate schools that are not necessarily the most expensive, but it depends on the child and how best to cater for their education needs. Given the rising costs of education and ability to access top schools in certain locations, we are noticing an increasing trend of short-term international assignments and commuting assignments where children remain in the home location.”

The survey had also identified several price trends that companies should consider when deriving expatriate pay and benefits packages:

  • International school tuition fees in 2016 have increased by 3.43% from 2015.
  • The following countries have the highest price variance between the most expensive and most affordable schools (in descending order): Switzerland, the United States, Spain, France, Sweden.
  • In general, American schools’ 6th grade tuition fees rank most expensive and costs an average of US$17,095 per annum.
  • When comparing the average tuition fees of international schools located in capital cities with those in secondary cities, prices for the former can be up to five times more expensive.
  • There are typically three types of mandatory costs listed in international school enrolment: admission, registration and application fees. Other incidental costs include meals, uniforms, material or books, transport, examinations, extracurricular activities, elective subjects and boarding.
Top most expensive countries for international education

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