Here’s how to pay international school fees:
- Create an account with OFX to save on all foreign money transfers.
- Log in to check exchange rates for international transfers.
- Collect the necessary banking information from your recipients, including full names and bank account numbers.
- Set up a one-off or recurring tuition payment.
- Track your transfer(s) with the OFX mobile app.
For millennia, adventurous and curious minds have struck out beyond their own borders to seek the great and noble pursuit of knowledge. Whether to give their children an early head start in an increasingly global world, to expand their horizons via the wisdom of far-flung universities, or to learn a highly-skilled trade from its most expert practitioners, the world’s best and brightest have long understood the immeasurable value of an international education.
As with every increasingly global market, the expansion and increased accessibility of international education is thanks in large part to the growing simplicity of paying for it. Not that it’s getting easier to afford, per se: but it is getting easier to pay for. International money transfer services like OFX are making this change happen.
Let’s take a look below at some of the most popular types of international schools, exactly what they offer to curious academics like yourself, and some of the ins and outs of paying for them!
International Boarding Schools
Ah, boarding schools. Images of crisply-pressed uniforms and stern-but-nurturing headmasters spring readily to mind. Once much more popular than in recent years, boarding schools have begun to come back in popularity, thanks in part to their all-inclusive nature, jet-setting parents who don’t want to uproot their children each year, and the pure, powerful experiential value they offer to young people.
Unlike conventional day schools, boarding schools provide both residences and academics, entire campuses where children from ages 5 to 18 can get the chance to experience a university-like setting long before their college years.
Boarding schools are ideal for two reasons: they offer invaluable real-world exposure to children who can sometimes, due to circumstance, otherwise live comparatively sheltered lives. Whether they live in remote areas, lack siblings or playmates, or any number of other situations, boarding schools allow young people to develop social skills, organisational and time-management skills, and foster an important sense of independence.
Secondly, many parents opt to send their children to a boarding school because it provides a sense of permanence that can be missing from some international, travel-heavy lifestyles. With work sending them all over the globe and requiring frequent relocation, some parents choose to spare their children that tumult by guaranteeing them the same friends, the same faculty, and the same school year in and year out.
How to Pay for International Boarding Schools
When paying for international boarding schools, there are several things to consider.
First, boarding schools offer several different, distinct services, including but not limited to tuition, room and board, meal plans, and school supplies. Some boarding schools allow you to choose, piecemeal, from these services, selecting the offerings you need and refusing the ones you don’t a la carte. Other schools offer one total package with everything included, and without the options for customisation.
In situations with the former type (and sometimes, less frequently, with the latter), you may need to pay multiple offices, multiple departments, of even multiple entities and companies. Tuition payments may go to the school, room and board payments may go to a separate Residential Facilities and Services organisation, and meal payments may go to a contracted catering service employed by the school.
That’s why it is crucially important to get all payment requirements and information from the school; do not assume that one payment to one account leaves you covered.
Once you have secured all payment information, you would be wise to leave your credit card in your pocket. International transaction fees are the sneaky burglars and ninjas that take your money when you make a payment in a foreign currency. Most people can expect to pay an average international transaction fee of 3% when paying with a credit card. That typically shakes out to 1% going to the payment processor – usually the name on the card, like Visa or MasterCard – and 2% going to the bank that issued you the card. What’s more, many credit card companies charge a further margin of 3-5% on top of the daily market exchange rate. This margin is entirely at the discretion of the credit card company, and may not be obvious or readily apparent without doing a bit of research into your contract.
All told, you could be paying as much as an extra 6% more than the cost of your payment just to use your credit card when paying in a foreign currency. On a $50,000 tuition payment, that’s another $3,000 just to pay for it.
Instead, inquire whether the boarding school (and any other vendors involved) accepts direct payments into its bank account. If it does, you can use OFX to convert your payment into the correct foreign currency and send the money straight to them without ever using a credit card or suffering an international transaction fee.
OFX also offers award-winning fraud prevention, and services like Limit Orders and Forward Contracts help give you flexibility and peace of mind that you’re never overpaying to send your money.
Pomp and circumstance, thy name is university! Since the dawn of higher education, universities have attracted the most intellectually curious and wisdom-hungry students in the world to their hallowed halls. And for nearly as long, people from all over the world have travelled from foreign countries to pursue their university education in an international environment.
International universities offer several unique benefits that make them especially attractive to students from far and wide. First and foremost is, similar to international boarding schools, the horizon-broadening exposure to different cultures and peoples. By and large, all universities offer a chance to meet students from other towns and cities, and even other countries. But only by attending an international university to do you have the opportunity to completely immerse yourself in a foreign culture, a foreign language, and a foreign mindset. If necessity is the mother of invention, immersion is the mother of fluency. Secondly, the growing accessibility of international universities is opening more and more career paths and educational pursuits to students who may never have had them before simply by virtue of geographic proximity. In certain fields, these opportunities’ dependence upon geography is obvious. Norway and Portugal, for example, offer excellent educations to prepare students for careers in maritime industries like captaining cruise ships and managing ports and harbors. In the agricultural breadbasket of the United States, many fine universities offer excellent programs in Farm Science, Dairy Science, and Horticulture. Others, like Australia, offer students the chance to become an expert in Aboriginal Studies, something they simply couldn’t do in Egypt or China.
What’s more, the global economy is creating industrial hotspots in certain countries. If students want to be surrounded by their smartest and most talented peers, and reap the benefits of the most stimulating, engaging, and challenging discussions in the field, it behooves them to attend universities in those regions. Students interested in learning about production automation, for example, would be wise to study in China, especially near Guangzhou. Those looking to study finance should flock to the United Kingdom or the Netherlands, and some of the world’s best computer science universities are in Singapore.
The benefits continue, though! Attending a university is a wonderful way for a person to truly discover themselves, and indeed, for perhaps the first time, begin to forge their own, unique identities. Attending an international university amplifies this effect ten-fold. If removing someone from their hometown and placing them in a new campus culture is liberating, imagine the freedom to be oneself that is born from leaving your homeland behind and starting anew again in a foreign country and a foreign culture.
How to Pay for International Universities
When paying for international universities, there are several things to consider.
Like boarding schools, universities may require payments to be made to different offices or entities for different services. Tuition payments are usually payable to the university’s bursar’s office, while things like meal plans (if opted for) may be payable to the catering company the university contracts with.
Many universities offer room and board via on-campus dormitories, but others either have agreements with property management companies and landlords in their area, or they do not provide housing whatsoever. In either of the two latter cases, payments will be made to entities other than the university itself.
If you are dealing directly with a foreign landlord, be sure to do a couple things. First, do as much research as you can into renter’s rights in that area. They are likely different than your home country. Secondly, get all agreements about payments and prices in writing, and in an official lease if possible. Keep multiple records of these. And finally, research any housing, renting, or residential purchasing limitations imposed on visitors who are in the country under a student visa. Some countries restrict where students can and cannot purchase housing; others, on another hand, offer housing subsidies. So do your homework!
As with boarding schools, enquire whether the university, caterers, landlord, et al. accept direct payments into their bank account. If they do, you can use OFX to convert your payments into the correct foreign currency and send the money straight to them without ever using a credit card and suffering an international transaction fee again.
International Grad Schools
Congratulations! You’ve made it through university, and you’re ready to chase down that dream of becoming a doctor or a lawyer or a real serious expert on ornithology. You should really consider doing so at an international grad school.
For many of the same reasons as international universities, international grad schools can be geographic hubs of expertise and excitement. France, for example, has wonderful graduate teaching programs; Mexico offers great pharmacology programs; South Africa specialises in conservation education. If you’re considering pursuing your chosen expertise, why not do it where the experts already are?
How to Pay for International Grad Schools
Fortunately, because grad schools tend to cater to adults, paying for them is made simpler by the fact that they primarily only charge tuition. Everything else – housing, food, supplies – is on you to arrange. That can make some of the institutional, “who do I send this payment to, again?” confusion a bit easier to manage. Just don’t forget to find somewhere to live.
If the grad school accepts direct payments into its bank account, you can use OFX to convert your tuition payments into the proper foreign currency and send the money straight to the school without ever using a credit card. OFX can help your payment get there quickly and for less cost.
Other Expenses to Consider
Of course, there’s more to the financial drain of international schooling than just tuition and housing. Make sure you don’t forget to plan for these, as well.
Medical travel insurance is an extremely smart purchase to make before attending school abroad. Your regular insurance here at home may not always cover you when you are out of the country and need to deal with a foreign medical system. Medical travel insurance helps guarantee that you can always get the medical help you need, and that you can always afford it when you do.
In the same vein as medical travel insurance, make sure that you either a) stock up on any and all medicines you regularly take before you depart, so that you have more than enough to last you the entire duration of your trip, or b) arrange to buy them from a pharmacy in your host country.
But be careful: your primary insurance here at home may not cover prescriptions filled in foreign countries. So make sure you are able to buy the medicines you need while you are abroad.
Attending an international school is one of the greatest experiences a person can have in their lifetime. So go on. Get out there and take in all the world has to offer.
IMPORTANT: The contents of this blog do not constitute financial advice and are provided for general information purposes only without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any particular person. UKForex Limited (trading as “OFX”) and its affiliates make no recommendation as to the merits of any financial strategy or product referred to in the blog. OFX makes no warranty, express or implied, concerning the suitability, completeness, quality or exactness of the information and models provided in this blog.