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Brexit benefits: British schooling more affordable for international students

By Danny Harrington

Through most of the 20th century, until about the 1980s, a private education became gradually more affordable in the UK as earning power of the middle classes grew faster than the fees charged by most independent schools. However, the last 30 years or so has seen these gains eroded as middle incomes have stagnated. The last 10 years in particular have seen the ratio of fees to incomes take a turn for the worst. It is no wonder that UK independent schools have ever more enthusiastically embraced international students who bring the double benefit of enriching the cultural life of the school while helping to balance the books.

At the same time, the growing wealth of the “emerging economies” has seen an exponential rise in middle-income earning families across the world, particularly in Asia, and an equally meteoric rise in the truly wealthy across these areas. Many newly wealthy families have opted for a UK boarding education for the children as an excellent way to build networks, develop their grasp of the global language, experience another culture and more easily access UK universities.

Now, with the incredible devaluing of sterling after the Brexit referendum decision even more people in Asia will be able to afford a private education in a British boarding school. Fees range from approximately GBP12,000 to over GBP30,000 per year in tuition. There are of course added extras, both at school and around being an international student – guardians, transport, insurance and such – but certainly for GBP20,000 per year, a child can have a comfortable existence at a private school. In May 2016, just before the referendum, this translated to about USD29,000. Today it translates to USD25,000. That is a sizeable discount thanks purely to currency changes. At the top end, where the cost is more like GBP50,000 per year, the discount is even greater – around GBP13,000 less per year.

It has never been better to access UK boarding schools. With these huge built-in discounts , the fact that school student visas are not under threat, and the reality that schools need to look further afield to keep their numbers up, means the possibility for getting to experience such a high quality education is an option for more and more people.

Remember though that you still need to make a careful choice – not every school is the same – and a certain amount of preparation is needed to be able to cope with this unique and quite foreign environment.

ITS Education Asia is an officially accredited IGCSE and A-level school organisation and has helped hundreds of students access UK qualifications and UK boarding schools over the years. We use expert partners in Hong Kong and the UK to help students choose schools and use our own schools to provide full preparation so that students arrive ready to fit into their new UK school. Email us at [email protected] for details of all our packages.

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