The cost of primary school education is 42 percent higher than parents expect, while the cost of secondary school education comes in 21 percent above parents’ expectations, according to research conducted by Zurich into the cost of education in Ireland.
In 2018, the cost per child of nearly all primary school expense categories increased with parents now paying €88 for books, €71 for uniforms, €64 for footwear and €52 for supplies annually. The highest spend during the primary school year was extra-curricular activities which cost on average €191 per child per year. Meanwhile the highest spend items during the secondary school year were grinds (€279) and lunch (€177). In total, parents estimate that it costs €584 per year to send a child to primary school, and €1,236 per year for secondary school.
More than 80% of parents feel that the Back to School allowance is insufficient in covering their children’s basic school costs and the financial pressure to cover the costs of their children’s education has resulted in 19 percent of primary school parents and 34 percent of secondary school parents falling into debt.
The number of parents who have taken out loans to cover the cost of primary school education has doubled (now 17 percent compared to 9 percent last year). The number of parents taking out loans to cover the cost of secondary school has also gone up with almost one in three families now relying on loans to help finance their children’s education.
“The findings of this year’s research show that the cost of primary and secondary education is significantly higher than parents expect and more than ever families are taking on debt to finance their children’s schooling. It is unsustainable for families to rely on borrowing to fund their children’s future and the most effective solution against this is rigorous early financial planning,” Jonathan Daly, Head of Retail Distribution and Propositions at Zurich Life said.
“Early and consistent saving is the best way to prepare for covering your child’s education costs. Opening a savings account when children are under a year old will allow you to prioritise education costs before they become a significant financial burden,” he added.
A great education is the best possible start in life and for most parents ensuring they can provide for their children’s education, from primary school right through to third level, is crucial. Zurich Life understands that while education in Ireland is said to be free, this is never the reality and costs are rising per child. With a tailor made plan from Zurich Life from as little as €75 per month, you can gradually build up the funds necessary to support your children’s education.
While the cost of sending children to primary and secondary school are increasing, the expenses associated with third level education are particularly high. Zurich’s research reveals that accommodation and college fees are the highest spend items during the college year. The cost of accommodation for the college year ranges from over €3,000 to over €4,000, depending if you are paying for rented or student accommodation. Given these increasing expenses, Zurich has developed a Cost of College Education Calculator to help parents work out the estimated costs of sending their children to college and to see how much they might need to save each month to meet these college costs.