The Cost of Education

The Cost of Education

Whether your children (or grand-children), are yet to start school, or already attend school and have a University education in their sights, this time of year is an apt reminder of the investment that either of those requires, and the real price to parents and guardians:

  • Average cost of sending one child to ‘State school’ from year 1-11 is £1,579 a year, which equals £17,374 in total¹.
  • Average fees of a private school (day only) are £15,396 a year².
  • A University course costs on average £20,340 a year³.

‘State schooling’ still requires items such as:

  • Uniform (£70),
  • Tech (£85),
  • After school clubs (£106),
  • Packed lunch (£585),
  • Commuting (£60),
  • School social events (£55), and
  • Childcare (£220) per year.

Research¹ shows that the most expensive years are year 8 and 11 (due to school trips). These figures vary not only on a personal basis, but regionally:

  • East Anglia – £15,312
  • London – £21,298
  • North West – £16,507
  • Scotland – £15,714
  • South West – £14,505
  • Wales – £15,573
  • West Midlands – £15,526
  • Yorkshire and the Humber – £14,107

With ‘private schooling’, all the above ‘extras’ of State schooling will still apply – although school outings, after school clubs and uniform are likely to cost more. On average, you can expect to pay the following fees per term:

  • £12,344 for boarding²,
  • £6,836 for a day pupil at a boarding school², and
  • £5,132 for a pupil at a day only school².

These figures are the average per term across the 1,388 schools that participated in the census. There is also a non-refundable ‘registration fee’ and some schools ask for payment for the year rather than term by term. These can reduce with scholarships, bursaries, sibling discounts, and up-front payment. It is worth pointing out that Private school fees have risen faster than inflation every year for the past 10 years, so be prepared for further increases in the future.

For University, a typical three year course in University totals £61,000³. The cost of tuition for the majority of students in the UK is approximately £9,250 a year plus the average annual cost of living of £11,088³.

To help with tuition fees, specific tuition fee loans cover the full cost of the course, and won’t have to be paid back until the student is earning above a certain level.

There are also ‘Maintenance loans’ and ‘Student Grants’ that are means tested to help with living costs.

Note that Tuition fees depend on what country the University is in, and your home location, see

Pre-funding and saving for this, using the many available tax shelters, can help with all of the above. If you would like us to demystify the technical jargon and find a way to help you plan for your children/grandchildren’s future education, please get in touch.


¹ Provident research of 2024 parents in 2020 (
² Independent Schools Council Census 2020 of 1,388 schools (
³ Student Money Survey 2022 (

Approver Quilter Financial Limited 31 March 2023

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