The cost of funding education
If you are in a position where you feel able to fund private education or university for your children or grandchildren, the first step is to quantify the likely expenditure that you could encounter. This will then allow you to consider budgeting for this new cost against your expected income over the years you will be paying for education. All the figures in this section are based on 2018 research, unless otherwise stated.
The cost of private schooling from reception age (4-5 years old) to 18 years old varies depending on where you are in the country, whether it is day or boarding school, and increases as the child gets older. The average annual cost according to the Independent Schools Council (ISC) in 2022 varied from £4,827 per term for primary day school, up to £12,966 per term for sixth form boarding school.
These are the averages, with schools in London and the South East generally charging more. These are the fees and do not include other costs, such as travel, trips, books, and some extra-curricular activities. Finding out exactly what your school of choice charges is a very important first step. As you can see from the above illustrations, the regional differences, as well as variations per school, will make a large difference to your financial planning.
UK universities are now allowed to charge up to £9,250 per year based on 2022-23 fees, with many of the top universities choosing to charge this maximum figure. A three-year undergraduate degree could therefore eventually cost students £27,750.
It is also worthwhile, as part of this exercise, to try to quantify if you expect to fund any additional expenditure, on top of the above. Children in private education are often offered the chance to enhance their learning with residential trips, for example, or to take part in different educational schemes.
During the compulsory education part of your child’s schooling, it is likely that they will live at home, although boarding school is an option, with its extra costs.
Once your child or grandchild reaches university, however, most students decide to move out of the family home. According to the National Student Money Survey, the average UK student living costs for 2023 are £924 per month, including rent.