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The cost of international schools in Europe in 2020 revealed

Key points:

  • Spain is one of the cheapest countries in Europe for international education.
  • Switzerland is again the European country with the most expensive international schools.
  • The three most expensive cities for international schooling in Europe are Zurich, Lausanne and Geneva.
  • Copenhagen is the cheapest city in Europe (and the 2nd cheapest in the world!) for international schools.
  • There is a stark difference in international school prices between Western/Central Europe and Eastern/Southern Europe.

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.

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 29 cities in 18 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

Spain is among the cheapest countries in Europe for international school fees, with 6 cities among the cheapest in the region: Valencia, Malaga, Alicante, Madrid, Barcelona, and Mallorca.

Switzerland dominates as the most expensive country in Europe for international schools; Zurich, Lausanne and Geneva take the top 3 spots. Lausanne and Geneva are both small cities with a population of less than 200,000. This is in stark contrast with the 4th most expensive city in Europe for international education - London and its population of 9 million!

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.

Two of Europe’s iconic capitals - Paris and London - have the biggest range of international school prices. In Paris the difference between the cheapest and most expensive international schools is $33k a year. In London this difference is slightly higher at $34k a year.

In contrast, other major European capitals like Berlin and Rome have a narrower range of international school fees. In Rome for example the cost difference between the least and the most expensive international schools is $15k a year, and in Berlin $14k.

There is a clear difference in international school prices between Western and Central Europe and the East and South of the continent. 7 of the top 10 cities with the highest international school fees are in Western and Central Europe, while 7 of the 10 cheapest cities for international schools are in Eastern and Southern 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 $8,825 $26,246 $28,092 $30,444 $35,742
2 Lausanne - Vaud $16,233 $18,080 $26,828 $30,955 $41,984
3 Geneva $16,464 $21,899 $24,510 $28,170 $30,697
4 London $3,990 $13,268 $21,787 $28,148 $38,705
5 Brussels $7,789 $13,850 $18,833 $23,658 $39,016
6 Milan $4,084 $9,293 $13,613 $17,499 $30,659
7 Paris $2,758 $8,116 $13,021 $19,887 $36,519
8 Frankfurt am Main $4,563 $9,244 $12,911 $16,495 $25,036
9 Rome $6,155 $9,071 $12,666 $16,928 $21,248
10 Budapest $4,311 $9,562 $12,019 $13,518 $23,700
11 Vienna $5,966 $6,818 $11,250 $21,487 $24,094
12 Bratislava $6,002 $8,760 $11,246 $13,140 $18,771
13 Berlin $3,551 $6,416 $11,246 $12,695 $17,875
14 Bucharest $4,380 $8,849 $11,068 $14,513 $24,030
15 Lisbon $5,007 $8,494 $11,009 $13,974 $15,421
16 Sofia $5,392 $6,629 $10,890 $11,441 $23,051
17 Barcelona $4,960 $8,334 $10,276 $12,903 $20,209
18 Athens $5,188 $7,221 $10,180 $12,258 $13,329
19 Madrid $4,617 $8,239 $9,148 $10,180 $16,687
20 Mallorca $6,132 $8,049 $8,862 $9,517 $11,814
21 Prague $6,395 $7,032 $8,574 $17,766 $24,563
22 Rotterdam - The Hague $4,439 $6,880 $8,435 $19,488 $28,647
23 Warsaw $4,674 $6,718 $7,967 $10,595 $22,639
24 Algarve $5,393 $7,102 $7,606 $8,697 $11,719
25 Malaga - Costa del Sol $2,667 $6,201 $7,334 $8,119 $10,062
26 Alicante - Costa Blanca $1,953 $5,204 $7,067 $8,342 $9,920
27 Valencia $3,255 $6,028 $6,126 $8,340 $9,400
28 Amsterdam $4,084 $5,457 $5,712 $19,023 $29,002
29 Copenhagen $4,030 $4,226 $4,818 $5,860 $20,069

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 2020 research for other regions:

Latest updated research for 2022: