In the last article, we discussed boarding schools with respect to high school curriculums. This time, let us bring our attention to fees and funding, especially the common perception that boarding schools are invariably unaffordable. Firstly, the cost a boarding school student incurs can be divided into three main categories. While the exact amount varies from school to school, the following is an annual estimate for an average school in Europe or America.
- Tuition fees: JPY 3,000,000 to 5,000,000
- Boarding accommodation fees: JPY 3,000,000 to 5,000,000
- Sundry charges: JPY 1,000,000
It is worth noting that to go to a boarding school domestically in Japan, the cost can be lowered by as much as half of the above.
Generally speaking, boarding schools employ highly qualified teachers to teach small class sizes and provide plenty of individual tuition. This is reflected in higher tuition fee levels. Yet, it is worth pointing out that day school students in Japan would still incur an annual cost of approx. JPY 1,000,000 should they seek extra tuition at a tutorial centre after school.
Many schools offer scholarships which often cover up to 30% of tuition fees. For foreign expats, their employers may also subsidise their children’s school fees.
The cost of boarding accommodation varies greatly between countries, depending also on the general cost of living. This cost is worthwhile, though, as the alternative option of parents moving with their children to another country and sending them to a day school is even costlier.
Boarding schools do not usually accept students who commute to and from campus on a daily basis. This is for educational reasons, as they have a curriculum and extra-curricular programme which would not be feasible except in a full boarding environment.
The other miscellaneous costs a student may incur must not be overlooked. These include travel expenses for when boarding houses are closed during longer holidays, e.g. summer and Christmas vacations, and students have to return home. Some countries make it a legal obligation to hire guardians for underage students who can deal with emergencies on parents’ behalf. At some schools, it is compulsory to pay for extra tuition if a student’s academic performance raises concerns.
As mentioned, all these can add up to about JPY 1,000,000 per year, but can be 50% cheaper if one chooses a boarding school in Japan.