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Is it worth it to spend $300k on overseas education?


Let’s face it. Most, if not all, parents want to provide an overseas tertiary education for their children despite the hefty costs involved. It allows them to gain valuable exposure while abroad, moulds their character coupled with what is perhaps, a better education system to get a head start in life.

Let’s take a look at how much tertiary education will roughly amount to for 5 popular study destinations based on a snapshot of Straits Times last year. To simplify things, let us assume that a basic degree in Singapore costs S$50,000.

As you can see, the cost differences vary widely: $212,352, $167,016 and $91,392 for the top 3 popular study places – Australia, US and UK respectively.

What do you think will happen when the amounts are compounded by 1.6%* (based on MoneySense estimate) inflation rate over 21 years, the time taken for a newborn to enter university? These numbers jump to $296,363.16, $233,091.24 and $127,548.70 correspondingly.

 

Is overseas education necessary?

Many people have the notion that attaining education overseas will make you a more resourceful person with unique experiences that are unlikely to be obtained locally. In addition, a “foreign” stamp on that resume would seem to equate to higher wages and better prospects in the long run.

Nevertheless, in my opinion, the intangibles can hardly be compared to the substantial savings earned. Even if you can manage to earn  $1,000 (that is, if you can)  more than a local grad, you would need at least 120 months (or 10 years) just to breakeven!

All in all, my take is that local university education would suffice for most families and overseas education would be more suitable for those who can afford it. That way, neither would it put a strain on your parents nor would you be tied down by a loan, if any.

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