New research reveals the cost of international education in Asia in 2020

Key points:

  • Asia is the most expensive region for international education in the world.
  • China has some of the highest international school prices in the world.
  • Phnom Penh has the cheapest international school fees in Asia.
  • Despite the lower cost of living, Hanoi and HCMC have some of the highest international school prices in Asia.

At the International Schools Database, we help local and expat parents choose the perfect international school for their children. Our database allows parents to find, research and compare international schools in cities across five continents. Naturally, this means that we gather and analyse a huge amount of information about international schools all over the world.

Starting in 2019, we began using this data to evaluate the prices of international schools across the globe. For 2020 we have expanded this research and in this article, we share and analyze the prices of international schools in Asia in 2020.

Below, we have analysed price data from 22 cities in 13 Asian countries, in graph and table forms. While we have used all price data available to us, there may be additional schools and prices not included in each city, because they do not make their price data available or it is unknown to us. Links to additional research focusing in each of the other regions individually and globally can be found at the bottom of this article.

Prices of International Schools in Asia, Per Year

The graph below is known as a box plot graph. It shows a comprehensive view of the range of prices in each city, instead of just an average, as a single average price may not necessarily represent the full picture of prices in each destination. Since there is a lot to unpack in this graph, we have also provided a little explanation on how to read the graph easily at the end of the article.

How to read this graph

Highlights and takeaways from the research findings

It may be the most expensive country in the world for international school fees, but there is a surprising range of prices on offer in China. In Shanghai, prices range from over $40k per year for international schools at the top end of the scale to just over $5k per year for international schools at the bottom end. Shenzhen is similar with the maximum international school fees at $36k per year and minimum international school fees of less than half of that, at $12k per year.

Vietnam’s Hanoi and HCMC are two surprising additions to the top 10 most expensive cities for international school fees, given the country’s low cost of living compared with the rest of the top 10 cities. This might be a hint that Vietnam’s economy is thriving, that it’s number of expats is ever increasing, and its reputation as a South East Asian hub is growing.

Non-capital cities in Asia can offer much more affordable international school prices than other, bigger cities. For example, Bangkok’s international school prices reach up to $31k per year, while just a few hours down the coastline Pattaya’s maximum price is just shy of $19k.

Overall, Asia is one of the most expensive regions for international education in the world, with median prices reaching $20k per year or above in 6 different cities.

You can find a breakdown of exact prices for each Asian city in the table below. But if Asia isn’t enough, we have also compiled price data for other regions and cities around the world; you can find links to this additional research at the bottom of this article. If you require any further information or have additional questions, don't hesitate to contact us at andrea@international-schools-database.com.

Prices of International Schools Per Year

Rank City Minimum Q1 Median Q3 Maximum
1 Beijing $11,802 $29,872 $35,233 $36,600 $38,974
2 Shanghai $5,163 $21,261 $30,146 $40,315 $43,191
3 Shenzhen $12,438 $21,163 $25,666 $31,645 $36,144
4 Guangzhou $13,547 $19,743 $24,663 $31,280 $48,597
5 Seoul $8,721 $20,354 $23,455 $27,538 $33,104
6 Singapore $4,482 $13,587 $21,588 $24,233 $38,517
7 Tokyo $5,882 $13,535 $18,805 $22,102 $27,725
8 Hanoi $3,643 $5,762 $18,064 $20,329 $28,435
9 Hong Kong $2,270 $14,937 $16,447 $22,180 $32,287
10 Ho Chi Minh City $5,095 $8,476 $16,162 $19,776 $25,543
11 Taipei $12,631 $14,140 $15,789 $18,105 $29,327
12 Bangkok $2,550 $9,181 $15,060 $20,117 $31,044
13 Yangon $3,600 $9,088 $13,000 $21,668 $25,340
14 Jakarta $2,502 $9,272 $12,693 $19,468 $30,029
15 Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe $5,111 $8,896 $12,235 $15,027 $23,337
16 Pattaya $3,914 $8,022 $12,214 $17,110 $18,924
17 Manila $2,476 $6,223 $11,050 $16,820 $20,710
18 Phuket $4,558 $7,167 $8,554 $11,320 $21,169
19 Johor Bahru $2,923 $5,791 $7,732 $17,174 $20,463
20 Penang $3,508 $5,341 $6,114 $6,813 $9,376
21 Kuala Lumpur $2,492 $4,248 $5,782 $9,379 $23,542
22 Phnom Penh $1,895 $3,625 $5,000 $7,524 $19,941

source: www.international-schools-database.com

How to read the graph

The purple box shows the middle portion of the data, known in statistical lingo as the Interquartile Range. This is the ‘ballpark’ range that you would usually expect to pay in that particular city. The horizontal lines at each end of the box represent the First Quartile (Q1) and Third Quartile (Q3). These are the prices that would be considered somewhat cheaper (for Q1) or more expensive (for Q3) than the norm.

The median is shown as a vertical bar in the centre of the box. This is the price of the school in the exact middle of the range, i.e. the half-way point. Finally, you’ll see dots next to some of the box plots. These are ‘outliers’, prices that sit outside of all of the above ranges.

⇧ Go back to the graph ⇧

Additional research for other regions: