New research reveals the cost of international education in Europe

Key points:

  • Switzerland is the second most expensive country in the world for international schools, after China.
  • Zurich is the most expensive city in Europe for international schools.
  • Copenhagen is the cheapest city in Europe (and the 2nd cheapest in the world!) for international schools.

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 four continents. Naturally, this means that we gather and analyse a huge amount of information about international schools all over the world.

Our latest research project uses this data to evaluate the prices of international schools across the globe. In this article, we share and analyze the prices of international schools in Europe.

Below, we have analysed price data from 21 cities in 15 European 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 Europe, 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

Not surprisingly, Switzerland is the most expensive European country for international schooling. The Swiss cities of Zurich, Geneva and Lausanne take the top three spots on our graph below, with prices in Laussane-Vaud and Geneva starting at a minimum of $14,840 per year.

The widest range of school prices - from just $2,544 per year to $33,508 - is found in Paris. The French capital also takes the title of lowest minimum price in all of our European cities.

The lowest maximum, however, belongs to the Danish capital Copenhagen. In Denmark both public and private schools (which includes international schools) are all heavily subsidised by the government. This may explain why education is so affordable - comparatively speaking - in a country with a reputation for a high cost of living.

Other points of interest include international schools in Madrid, which range from $4,100 to $15,095 a year with the average school costing $8,763. This puts Madrid among the cheapest cities in Europe, 17th out of 21.

Brussels has a huge difference in prices, with the most expensive school costing almost $30k more than the cheapest. The range of prices in its mid range is quite wide too, ranging from $13,227 and $22,431. The Belgian capital is also home to the most expensive international school in Europe.

You can find a breakdown of exact prices for each European city in the table below. But if Europe 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 Zurich $8,052 $23,705 $25,630 $27,776 $31,406
2 Lausanne - Vaud $14,840 $16,529 $24,296 $28,167 $35,296
3 Geneva $14,840 $19,604 $23,414 $25,405 $28,006
4 Vienna $5,688 $8,763 $17,344 $20,074 $21,613
5 Brussels $6,806 $13,227 $17,195 $22,431 $36,330
6 Milan $3,307 $8,019 $13,117 $16,091 $19,400
7 Frankfurt am Main $4,144 $7,275 $12,857 $16,255 $22,475
8 Rome $6,462 $8,363 $11,618 $15,239 $19,014
9 Budapest $4,314 $9,603 $11,559 $12,421 $23,100
10 Paris $2,544 $6,900 $10,711 $20,281 $33,508
11 Berlin $2,568 $5,974 $10,471 $11,821 $16,203
12 Barcelona $4,508 $7,451 $9,878 $12,400 $18,301
13 Lisbon $4,503 $7,121 $9,810 $12,803 $13,447
14 Bucharest $4,078 $7,234 $9,697 $13,771 $21,880
15 Prague $5,835 $7,437 $9,249 $14,878 $22,100
16 Sofia $5,010 $5,936 $9,149 $12,400 $21,136
17 Madrid $4,100 $6,448 $8,763 $9,831 $15,095
18 Warsaw $4,103 $6,386 $7,694 $10,105 $21,730
19 Malaga - Costa del Sol $2,621 $5,707 $6,663 $7,287 $10,471
20 Amsterdam $3,764 $4,983 $6,117 $17,427 $26,234
21 Copenhagen $3,613 $4,034 $4,542 $5,095 $18,139

source: www.international-schools-database.com

How to read the graph

Boxplot explanation

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: