How much does it cost if you were to give education as heritage to your child?

Post World War II, most countries lay in ruins. Cities were devastated and were left in debris. Governments encouraged their citizens to have more children so that they became the major driving force to restore the failing economies. This generation of “baby boomers” was the result of a postwar crisis between 1946 – 1964. Constituting as much as 16.7% of the Thai population, baby boomers today are at or near retirement [Ref1].

Because having an extended family with a large number of family members was prevalent during the baby boomer era, education planning was almost impossible. Nowadays, where the demographics are shifted, people have fewer children and tend to put more emphasis on the quality of upbringing, the standard of living, and education. Because the best heritage any parent can give their children is a good education, it is vital to plan ahead and have a good sense of how much education from kindergarten to college costs?
“Because the best heritage any parent can give is education”

A survey conducted by Chulalongkorn University in 2017 revealed that Thai people want to have 1.69 children per household on average, which decreased by 9% from the survey in 2001 [Ref2]. The fewer children parents have, the more emphasis parents put on their children’s education.

“Knowledge is power.” is a phrase often used to describe how important education is. The more a person knows, the better armed he is. Knowledge plays a vital role in every sphere of human life and activity, and that education is lifelong. 
Education means the future. It unlocks future opportunities for career progression and even paves a path toward an entrepreneurial career. Thus, this is why education is the best heritage any parent can give to their children. Education fosters greater intellectual capability and nurtures emotional intelligence. However, to ensure your children get the best education comes at a very high price and many sacrifices.
“There are choices to be made”

Costs of education vary depending on one’s needs. Some people have no idea how much they have paid for their child’s education costs even after college graduation because they did not plan ahead. The only thing they bear in mind is “To do the best they can”. Only if there were proper financial planning in place, their kids might have had a better education. With that said, education planning is not that difficult. It is easy and pays off handsome returns over the long run. You can plan ahead for your child’s education from kindergarten to college.
The first step is to figure out the total sum of money or total tuition fees from early years to college. This amount of money varies a great deal, depending on the type of school and the curriculum you opt for. To help you understand better, let us take a look at the following 3 choices.

  1. Standard: This plan refers to both public and private schools. Classroom teaching is the core, with some English classes provided. Students usually attend tuition schools after school hours and study undergraduate level in public universities.
  2. Combination: Students attend private schools from kindergarten to high school in this plan. Some subjects are taught in English. English communication is common but not yet up to the level of native speakers. Students in this plan usually pursue their undergraduate degree in international programs run by local universities.
  3. International: Students attend international schools and undergo overseas curriculum. English is the medium of communication in schools and learning styles differ a great deal from classroom teaching in the Thai curriculum. Students are prepared for higher education opportunities in universities across the world. This type of education usually comes at the expense of very high tuition fees, and sometimes living costs overseas.

In fact, you are likely to incur many expenditures for your child, such as, tuition fee, tutorial class fee, allowances, school equipment, insurance, and school placement fee. The biggest chunk of all is tuition fee, which will have to paid from the age of 4 or kindergarten level onwards. With the cost of education going up often, the burden of providing children’s education becomes even more challenging, especially as they enter college.

The table below is the survey on average tuition fee per year at all education levels. The actual number may vary across schools.
*Tuition Fee (per year)

Plan Standard Combination International
Kindergarten 10,856 baht 141,308 baht 390,975 baht
Primary School 10,556 baht 87,775 baht 483,375 baht
Secondary School 12,947 baht 109,200 baht 519,150 baht
University 41,000 baht 195,375 baht 1,053,345 baht

“The real cost of education”
As a matter of fact, education costs are constantly increasing and are never on discount. The daunting reality of escalating education costs is a major factor contributing to “education inflation”, so providing education for one’s children will become more expensive over time.

Headline inflation is Thailand is on average 3% per year. This is what causes the price of a noodle bowl to rise from 15 baht to 40 baht. Rising education costs are also attributed to inflation and could outpace or fall behind the given inflation rate. In the example below, let us assume education inflation at 3%, equal to headline inflation.

Education comes at different costs, depending on parents’ choices. However, the tuition fee as of today may not reflect the actual amount to be paid in the future. Education inflation has to be taken into account. The standard education plan costs 550,000 baht, while the combination plan costs 3.7 million baht and international education plan at 18 million baht. This figure makes up education cost for “1 child”.
“Financial planning is the key to build your heritage for your child”
For many people, providing an education for their children might be prohibitively expensive and could take their lifetime savings, making it impossible at first glance.

Good financial planning, discipline in long-term investment, good investment advice can give you clear goals and work towards them. To begin investing in your child’s education, a small initial investment can be a good kick-start. Over time, using DCA (Dollar Cost Average) technique will help you keep your discipline. By staggering the purchases, it is also a safer strategy to obtain an average price that is favorable overall. Another good source of investment is a bonus earned each year or extra commission from work to be topped up on your education fund.

A small amount of money invested over a long period of time will eventually make up a lump sum. It is never too late to start saving and to share a small amount of your income to your child’s education fund to build a long-lasting heritage for your loved ones.