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New research reveals the cost of international education in Europe in 2023

Key points:

  • Eastern Europe’s reputation as a cheaper part of the continent does not hold up when it comes to international school fees. 6 of the 8 Eastern European cities in our research have median prices of over $10,000 per year.
  • Some major European capital cities are lower in the price rankings than you may expect. Rome, Berlin, Madrid, and Amsterdam all feature in the lower half of our price scale.
  • Switzerland continues to be significantly more expensive than the rest of Europe for international schooling. Median prices in Swiss cities are a minimum of 16% higher than any other European city included in our research.

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.

Starting in 2019, we began using 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 updated to 2023.

Below, we have analysed price data from 31 cities in 21 European countries, in graph and table forms. While we have used all price data available to us as of Dec 31st 2023, there may be additional schools and prices not included in each city. This is because do not make their price data available or because it is unknown to us. Links to additional research focusing on each world region individually and globally can be found at the bottom of this article and here can be found the results of the previous year 2022.

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. 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

In 2022 we saw an Eastern European city - Latvia’s capital, Riga - enter the top 10 most expensive cities for international schooling for the first time. This reveals something most people may not realise - that Eastern Europe is not all that cheap when it comes to international school fees. Of the 8 Eastern European cities included in our research in 2023, 6 of them fall within the top 20 most expensive. They are Riga, Bratislava, Bucharest, Budapest, Prague, and Warsaw. Only Vilnius and Sofia are positioned in the bottom 10. To put this in context, the median price in Riga stands at $18,165 per year, while in Sofia it is significantly less at $7,560 per year.

On the other side of the coin, some very-well known European capitals are much further down in our rankings than you may expect. Rome in Italy, Berlin in Germany, Madrid in Spain, and Amsterdam in the Netherlands are all in the bottom half of our rankings with median prices of $11,508, $11,225, $9,409 and $6,429 per year respectively. Of these cities, Rome is the highest ranked 16th of 31 cities.

Since our research began Switzerland has always been the most expensive country in Europe for international schooling, and it has also been among the most expensive in the world. Nothing has changed in 2023. The top 3 most expensive cities in Europe are all located in Switzerland - Zurich - Zug (median price $30,701), Lausanne - Vaud (median price $17,271) and Geneva (median price $26,553).

What is becoming more clear, however, is just how significant the difference is between prices in Switzerland and the rest of Europe. For example, London is the most expensive non-Swiss city in our list with a median price of $22,725 per year. That means there is a minimum of 16% difference between London and the Swiss cities when median prices are compared. As we go further down the list of cities, this difference becomes bigger and bigger.

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 - Zug $9,530 $29,502 $30,701 $34,965 $41,583
2 Lausanne - Vaud $18,038 $20,471 $27,271 $34,712 $50,080
3 Geneva $14,182 $20,949 $26,553 $31,097 $34,297
4 London $4,076 $15,174 $22,725 $29,204 $41,780
5 Brussels $8,086 $14,034 $19,056 $24,146 $43,169
6 Riga $6,393 $7,543 $18,165 $19,272 $20,508
7 Paris $2,787 $9,715 $15,063 $19,494 $36,407
8 Vienna $6,812 $9,891 $14,778 $23,928 $26,168
9 Milan $3,046 $6,884 $14,288 $17,600 $21,033
10 Frankfurt am Main $4,552 $10,744 $13,416 $17,985 $26,627
11 Lisbon $5,477 $10,423 $13,358 $14,820 $16,544
12 Bratislava $6,048 $9,196 $13,125 $17,087 $28,510
13 Bucharest $5,870 $8,695 $12,812 $16,046 $24,478
14 Budapest $5,868 $7,049 $12,800 $14,682 $25,700
15 Athens $5,937 $10,190 $12,405 $12,627 $13,635
16 Rome $5,693 $8,086 $11,508 $16,836 $21,266
17 Prague $5,155 $9,034 $11,399 $16,361 $27,791
18 Berlin $3,323 $8,736 $11,225 $12,978 $18,940
19 Warsaw $6,487 $8,365 $10,678 $15,178 $24,671
20 Madrid $4,785 $7,144 $9,409 $10,168 $17,066
21 Barcelona $5,073 $8,188 $9,324 $12,887 $20,751
22 Rotterdam - The Hague $4,430 $7,199 $9,219 $19,438 $28,006
23 Mallorca $6,756 $8,596 $9,071 $9,712 $12,372
24 Vilnius $6,092 $7,194 $8,551 $13,977 $20,145
25 Malaga - Costa del Sol $5,438 $6,908 $7,950 $9,955 $15,340
26 Algarve $5,510 $7,018 $7,676 $8,477 $11,334
27 Sofia $5,934 $7,083 $7,560 $12,820 $24,002
28 Valencia $3,688 $6,224 $6,493 $8,141 $9,348
29 Amsterdam $4,034 $5,527 $6,429 $20,276 $30,171
30 Alicante - Costa Blanca $2,049 $5,760 $6,272 $8,595 $10,467
31 Copenhagen $3,783 $4,266 $5,143 $6,099 $20,358

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: