One that meets their individual needs, aligns with our own values, and provides activities that nourishes your child’s aspirations can often seem like looking for a diamond in the rough – and that diamond, unfortunately, can cost quite a lot.
Though some of us may be fortunate to live in an applicable public school catchment area, where school fees are relatively affordable compared with top-tier private schools, for many, sending children to a desirable school will cost a significant amount in terms of school fees.
How can you get ahead of the expenses? We have four ways to make sure you can get the funds you need for your children’s education.
Start early: establish a long-term savings account
If you’re considering kids – or maybe your kids are still crawling around – it pays to establish a long-term savings account or long-term term deposit to ensure you have the funds when your children reach school age. You may also want to defer private school education until your child reaches high school – which gives you another seven years to save for the school of your choice.
Buy in a school catchment zone
Quality schools aren’t necessarily all privately run. Mount Barker South Primary School in South Australia changed its culture in 2010 and enrolments surged to over 1000 in 2018, which is remarkable for a school that usually has under 200 students at any given time. If you buy in a school catchment zone, this guarantees a place for your child at that high-performing public school; families outside the zone are put onto waiting lists.
Consider a student loan
One way to finance private education is through a student loan. These types of loans are not tied to an asset, like a car loan is tied to a car. Parents or caregivers may choose to take out a personal student loan on behalf of students under the age of 18. If you are over 18 and a parent of a student and earning some form of income, you may be eligible for a specialised student loan.
Bill Tsouvalas, managing director of Savvy, and loan expert says these loans can be flexible to pay for tuition fees, textbooks, or living expenses, if your school of choice is a boarding school.
“Depending on your income and your financial standing, you can borrow from $2000 all the way up to $100,000,” he says. “Most personal loan terms stretch out over five years, so you can spread the payments over that time. You may be able to extend the terms to suit also. Student loans can also have a fixed interest rate, so you know exactly how much each repayment will be in advance.”
Some student loans (subject to fulfilling eligibility criteria) may come with additional features to help you with expenses throughout the term of the loan.
One feature is a redraw facility. This means you can withdraw funds from the loan to pay for sudden expenses such as excursions or activity days. Another similar feature are top-ups. A top-up adds additional funds to the loan for you to spend on whatever education expense you choose.
Live in a cheaper suburb and use the savings on education
Though your child will have to commute a little longer, another option is to buy into a cheaper suburb and use the savings to put toward private education. With private schools accepting students from all over instead of being bound to strict government school catchment zones, you can live further away from the school itself and save money on rent or mortgage repayments which you can then put toward education.
Starting early, taking out finance, or using creative options such as buying in certain zones can ensure your child has the best chance at receiving a quality education.