The Cost of Education in Ireland
We all want to give our children the best possible start in life and a good education is a top priority. However, this can be a lot more costly than you might realise.
The cost of putting just one child through school can easily run into tens of thousands of euro. If you have two or more children then you're going to have to dig even deeper to keep the educational roadshow up and running.
Latest research has revealed the cost of educating your children in Ireland, from your nervous goodbyes on their first day in primary school right through to your gushing pride on their college graduation day. Here's the breakdown of what you can expect to spend throughout your child's school years
Primary School Education
It all starts here; your child's first days at school are a big milestone. Their first day at school is also your first day of many years of (very worthwhile) expense and investment.
The average cost of sending a child to primary school each year is €490, with uniforms and books being the most substantial expenses. Capitation grants paid to primary and post primary schools have been reduced in recent years and parents have seen this reflected in the increased voluntary contributions they are asked to pay, now €90 on average in primary schools.
The total cost of 8 years' primary school education comes in at an estimated €4,000.
Annual cost €490; Lifetime cost €3,920 (Source Barnardo’s School Costs survey 2015)
Secondary School Education
The cost of education gets even higher as your child moves into secondary school. The average annual cost of education for a child entering first year is €1,135. School books and transport are among the most sizeable expenses.
The move to secondary school also brings a greater number of 'other' expenses such as lunch money, sports gear, school trips and class essentials like ingredients for Home Economics or T-Squares for Technical Graphics.
If we allow for the fact that the bulk of school books will be bought in first and fifth year in the build-up to junior cert and leaving cert cycles respectively, the total cost of 6 years' secondary school education, extra expenses excluded is estimated to be €5,500.
Annual Cost €1,135; Lifetime cost €5,510 (Source Barnardo’s School Costs survey 2015)
Whilst the average cost of sending a child to primary school and secondary school may seem excessive, the expense associated with third-level education leaves both in the ha'penny place. All "free-fees" third level institutions charge a mandatory student contribution of €3,000 per year for 2015/16 with no sign of easing in the medium-term.
Unfortunately, this student contribution is just one of the costs likely to be incurred when putting your child through third-level education, although they may well be able to help out with tuition fees by undertaking some part-time work by this stage; at least to cover some of the costs associated with their blossoming social lives!
Living at Home Annual cost €3,495; Lifetime cost €12,495
Living Away Annual cost €6,726; Lifetime cost €24,906
(Source: DIT Student Cost of Living guide 2014/2015)
Given these figures, we estimate the minimum cost of education for children in Ireland from primary school to college graduation is €34,000*.
*Source Zurich Life based on data published in 2014/15
Don't leave it too late to plan!