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Thu 1 Sep 2016 09:50 AM

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UAE parents spend $18,000 a year on children’s university education

Residents in the emirates pay more than any of their global counterparts

UAE parents spend $18,000 a year on children’s university education

Parents in the UAE pay more than those in any other country towards their children’s university costs.

Residents in the emirates pay $18,360 (AED67,440) a year to allow their offspring to attend higher education, compared with an international average of $7,631 (AED28,030), according to research from HSBC.

The figures are driven by 58 percent of parents preferring to send their children abroad, the second-highest in world after Indonesia. The most popular destinations for UAE parents to send their children include the US with 53 percent, UK with 51 percent and Australia with 28 percent – all in the top four most expensive countries for higher education.

Medicine is the most popular field of study that parents would like their children to pursue, at 26 percent, the annual cost of which amounts to $26,558 in the UAE and up to $44,724 in the USA.     

The Foundations for the Future survey polled 6,241 people in 15 countries, including more than 400 in the UAE.

“Parents naturally want the best for their children and hope that a strong education will put them in the best position to lead a prosperous life,” said Gifford Nakajima, Regional Head of Wealth Development, Retail Banking and Wealth Management, MENA, HSBC.

“Of those in the UAE looking to send their children abroad, 52 percent would even consider investing in a property in that country. However, the choices in terms of fields of study and the level of education parents hope their children will  gain, coupled with the cost of education and accommodation, indicates there is a mismatch in aspirations and financial preparedness.

Six in 10 parents said they start making decisions about their children’s education before they start primary school, while seven in 10  end up relying on their daily income to meet these targets, Almost two-thirds, 64 percent, would be willing to go into debt to finance their child’s studies. 

 “We see today that a great deal of planning is required to meet these goals as there is no denying the fact that higher education can be very expensive,” said Nakajima.

“Parents can take proactive steps towards planning by looking more actively at investing in savings accounts designed for education instead of getting into debt, while others can look to instil a greater sense of responsibility amongst their children by encouraging them to play a role in financially supporting their own higher education. It’s no longer just about starting early, but you also have to save wisely.” 

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Renton 3 years ago

With the emergence of online education platforms, the education sector is on the verge of being disrupted. More and more students are taking to these websites to acquire knowledge and brush up their skills.
Given that the nature of work is changing and that jobs are disappearing in spurts based on the needs of the market, the importance of such platforms is going to shoot up. Paying millions to attend a university doesn't make sense anymore

Doug 3 years ago

That would be true if the sole benefits of going to university were limited to the very narrow remit of the qualification you were studying.

A website, however, doesn't teach you how to look after yourself, manage your finances or let you make genuine personal connections which could prove very useful during your career. An online education platform won't provide you with the option or encouragement to discover new hobbies, interests and activities. Given that the most popular sector according to the article is medicine, I might also point out that there's no way on earth anyone's going to learn how to be an excellent surgeon by following a course on a website.

At university, you don't just pay for the right to study for a qualification. You pay for an education in life, and get out from spending yet another day just staring at a screen and never interacting with real people.

Telcoguy 3 years ago

@Doug plus all the signaling associated with admission to a top university. It really makes a difference in the labour market.