Planning for your child’s overseas education
Providing your children with international schooling takes much thought, research and planning around the associated costs.
Globally, approximately 4.3 million students* are pursuing tertiary education in an overseas country. Closer to home, 47% of the African respondents in the Knight Frank 2017 Wealth Report strongly agreed that wealthy families are sending their children overseas to get an education.
As more families consider sending their children overseas to receive a top-quality education, you may be wondering how you can too. Below are some steps you can take.
1. PLAN FOR YOUR CHILD’S EDUCATION OVERSEAS
Consider your goals for your children when planning your child’s overseas education pathway. If the ultimate goal is to enable your child to attend an international university, you may even be considering sending them earlier, such as to high school or even middle school. This will provide them with a greater opportunity of being accepted into their university of choice.
Sending your child to an overseas school earlier may also give them a chance to acclimatise to a new country, particularly if the native language is not in their mother tongue.
2. CONDUCT UPFRONT RESEARCH
Start to plan well in advance around which locations, schools or universities you are considering and how much the fees may be to attend now and in 18 years’ time. Adjust the amount by an inflationary figure to give you an idea of how much it will cost you once your child has graduated from high school.
Also, take into consideration the type of location that your child or children may enjoy. For the next few years this may possibly become their home away from home.
Research the qualification requirements or equivalent qualifications of the school or tertiary education to ensure that you will be providing your children with the best opportunity to secure university placement or career opportunities in the future.
3. UNDERSTAND THE COSTS INVOLVED
Affordability of overseas education may not be a concern, but recognising the costs involved is worth noting, particularly should you be sending more than one child overseas.
Although the tuition fees and accommodation will make up a significant portion of the costs, there are also additional costs that you would need to factor in, such as extra fees for study abroad programmes, entertainment expenses and meals, as well as flights home and abroad.
Another factor to consider is the cost of maintaining your child’s at-home living standards while they are studying abroad. The costs could be significantly more expensive than at home.
4. MANAGE CURRENCY RISK
Expect currency fluctuations and ensure that you have a plan in place to mitigate currency risk. For example, if you are saving in Rands but paying tuition fees in British Pounds and the rand weakens significantly, you may suddenly have a shortfall. It may be sensible to save in an international account, enabling you to hedge against currency fluctuations.
Standard Bank offers an Optimum and Platinum Optimum account, available in four major currencies.
5. PROVIDING YOUR CHILD WITH FUNDS WHILE ABROAD
Sending money to your children while they are abroad is another consideration you will need to make. Currency conversions and exchange rate fluctuations should also be noted in this regard. While credit cards may incur fluctuating foreign exchange fees, an international account could provide you with greater management of funds for your children, with fewer currency conversions.
A Visa debit card linked to the account can offer greater flexibility for easy payments and withdrawals, as well as Internet and Mobile banking, so you have better management control over funds for your children.