ExpatFinder.com’s recent International School Fees Survey has brought a highlight to the increasingly substantial costs associated with international schooling across the globe. All within the global mobility industry, but especially destination service providers (DSPs), are going to have to think about their approach to school-related services in the coming years, as the prices continue to rise.
Within the last 12 months, international school tuition fees were found to increase a shocking 19% across the globe, with some countries seeing even higher rises in costs.
One of the most significant found to be fuelling the rise in international school fees is the ever-increasing demand for places while the supply stays relatively consistent. People are becoming more interested and adventurous when it comes to living and working overseas, and the trend shows no sign of stopping. Whereas previous generations would be cautious about making a global move with children, millennials show no such reservations. Here then lies the issue; more expats with children means more demand for international school places.
Unless this trend reverses itself in the very near future, there will be no visible end to the increasing costs associated with such education. New schools are being built, and existing ones are expanding, but this is a long-term solution to a current problem.
Many businesses contribute significantly to their employees’ relocation packages, particularly in the area of education for those who need it. These costs are expected to rise, although only along the lines of inflation.
When the changes are as dramatic as the increase observed over the past 12 months, problems can begin as organisations rethink their position on such subsidies. Such changes in attitude can only result in two possible conclusions; refusing to pay for international education; or, relocating fewer employees with children to avoid the costs altogether.
Remember that as a DSP embedded in your locality, you have better access to the information on any additional opportunities surrounding school fees in your area than anyone else. This single fact is your power, making you the primary providers of valuable knowledge for organisations looking to relocate employees with families without completely blowing the bank.
Get to know to how your local government handles international school fees, and whether they offer any subsidies in certain circumstances. For example, if the national language is one other than English, there may be opportunities for tuition fee reduction where parents choose to educate their children in that language.
You should also gather up the necessary information to present the option of local schools that may be appropriate for your clients. Many countries offer first-class education for free, outside of the international school bracket. These are nor certainly an option for many parents looking at becoming expats, so be prepared to present the pros and cons of each situation.
There are, of course, many alternatives to international schooling now available besides from going for local education. One of these highlighted in the International School Fees Survey is virtual schooling, where children can take a full high school education from home over the internet. This provides a homeschooling option, but with more gravitas and genuine certifications that are well recognised and can be used in an application for further education. They are also extremely cost effective when compared to many international schools, with a year’s tuition coming in at around 8,000 USD.
To become the most desirable service provider in your location, what you need to show to potential clients are the cost savings that can be achieved with you as their representative. Do this by tracking the costs of local education option and also the final prices that you manage to produce for your clients. Show relocation managers the savings you have achieved in this increasingly expensive area of mobility, and see the results.
Whatever the state of international school fees and the availability of places where you operate, it's up to you to provide your clients with options. Be aware that this is an increasingly hot topic, and that you are in the perfect position to provide your customers with the most accurate knowledge and advice.
At the time of writing, the ReloTalent Partner Network is close to 50 partners on 4 continents. For more information please contact CEO and Co-Founder of ReloTalent, Sebastien Deschamps - email@example.com