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Sat 13 Sep 2014 10:53 AM

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Most UAE parents 'unprepared' for cost of children's education

HSBC report says average annual cost of studying abroad, including uni fees and cost of living, is up to $36,500

Most UAE parents 'unprepared' for cost of children's education

More than two-thirds of UAE parents are not adequately prepared to fund the high aspirations they have for their children's education, according to research by HSBC.

HSBC’s Value of Education: Springboard For Success report reveals that the total price of an international university education in the UAE is the sixth highest in the world.

The research showed that the annual cost of sending a child to study abroad, including university fees and the cost of living, is $30,472 in the UAE compared to $36,564 in the US and $35,045 in the UK, which are among the most expensive destinations in the world.

HSBC's report covered 16 countries across the world, by examining the average cost of living and university fees, as well as the countries perceived to offer the highest quality of education according to parents in the UAE.

It also looked at hopes they have of education, with a special emphasis on its value as a transformative force in the lives of their children. The report showed that of the top five countries rated the highest in terms of the quality of education, three are among the most expensive.

Given the UAE’s high expatriate population, it is not surprising that nearly two thirds of parents (65 percent) here are considering sending their children for a better university education abroad, and have varying views on which country provides the best quality of education.

The UK and the US are jointly rated the highest with 60 percent of people ranking both countries for having the best universities, followed by Canada (37 percent), underscoring the prevailing perception that ‘west is best’ when it comes to education.

However, coupled with this demand for an international education, parents also have to take into consideration the high costs associated with pursuing a degree abroad.

Two-thirds of UAE parents (67 percent) said they wish they had begun saving earlier, while virtually all (99 percent) said they fund their children’s education fully or partially through their current income.

Andy Ripley, head of retail banking and wealth management, UAE, HSBC said: “Even though we see that four out of five parents believe their children’s education is the best investment they can make, less than a third are able to allocate their funds towards this goal and over half find this a daunting process.

"This highlights that there is clearly a lack of understanding about how they can go about developing a dedicated financial plan to meet the long-term funding requirements of a post-graduate education. Parents must also understand the significance of saving early, it makes a world of a difference.”

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