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New research reveals the cost of international education in Europe in 2021

Key points:

  • Switzerland is once again the most expensive European country for international schooling.
  • London takes the title of second most expensive city for international schools this year, leaving Zurich in first place.
  • Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal make up the 5 cheapest countries in Europe for international school prices
  • While the median price in Zurich for international school fees is well above $25,000 per year, in Copenhagen the median is just under $5,000.
  • Spain in particular is one of the most affordable countries in Europe for international education. The highest ranking of any Spanish city is Barcelona at 18th place, while Valencia and Alicante are both among the 5 cheapest cities on the continent.
  • Outside of Switzerland, London and Brussels, all median prices for international schools in Europe are under $15,000 per year.

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 around the world. 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

Similar to last year, Switzerland is once again the most expensive European country for international schooling. However, there’s a new contender in town - the UK. London takes the title of second most expensive city this year, leaving Zurich in first place and bumping Lausanne-Vaud and Geneva to third and fourth place respectively.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal make up the 5 cheapest countries in Europe for international school prices. While the median price in Zurich is well above $25,000 per year, in Copenhagen the median is just under $5,000.

Spain in particular is one of the most affordable countries in Europe for international education. The highest ranking of any Spanish city is Barcelona at 18th place, while Valencia and Alicante are both among the 5 cheapest cities on the continent.

Outside of Switzerland, London and Brussels, all median prices for international schools in Europe are under $15,000 per year, with all but one city (Copenhagen) sitting in the $5000 - $15,000 ballpark. Lisbon and Athens, however, have both shifted significantly since last year. Lisbon has jumped to 7th place from 15th last year, while Athens has fallen from 12th to 18th place.

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 $8,744 $26,266 $27,508 $30,072 $35,413
2 London $4,126 $14,117 $24,791 $29,499 $38,782
3 Lausanne - Vaud $16,443 $18,785 $23,740 $30,655 $41,599
4 Geneva $16,313 $21,249 $23,332 $27,450 $30,415
5 Brussels $7,600 $12,810 $17,405 $22,586 $39,318
6 Milan $3,191 $7,516 $14,040 $17,486 $20,828
7 Lisbon $5,204 $8,604 $12,912 $14,130 $15,871
8 Paris $2,650 $9,376 $12,729 $18,209 $35,797
9 Frankfurt am Main $4,491 $9,061 $12,656 $16,496 $25,226
10 Rome $6,266 $9,196 $12,532 $17,108 $21,176
11 Budapest $4,646 $6,188 $12,092 $13,520 $23,300
12 Athens $5,086 $9,042 $12,071 $12,275 $13,065
13 Bratislava $5,941 $9,068 $11,546 $15,265 $25,841
14 Berlin $3,481 $7,919 $11,214 $13,045 $18,101
15 Bucharest $4,525 $8,712 $11,197 $14,626 $24,437
16 Vienna $6,127 $6,684 $11,028 $21,494 $24,328
17 Sofia $5,274 $6,498 $10,675 $11,694 $22,595
18 Barcelona $4,943 $8,444 $9,869 $11,409 $20,370
19 Madrid $4,525 $8,198 $9,242 $10,048 $15,839
20 Prague $5,190 $7,767 $8,935 $15,208 $24,077
21 Mallorca $6,382 $7,964 $8,695 $9,443 $11,592
22 Rotterdam - The Hague $4,351 $6,962 $8,504 $22,743 $28,080
23 Malaga - Costa del Sol $5,982 $6,572 $7,711 $8,991 $10,153
24 Warsaw $4,429 $6,448 $7,487 $10,406 $21,916
25 Algarve $5,393 $6,962 $7,078 $8,268 $10,356
26 Alicante - Costa Blanca $2,147 $5,895 $6,765 $8,099 $9,863
27 Amsterdam $4,003 $5,456 $6,716 $19,139 $28,805
28 Valencia $3,411 $6,075 $6,161 $8,168 $8,865
29 Copenhagen $3,764 $4,117 $4,787 $5,790 $20,121

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: