Financing expat kids’ university education whilst in the UAE

Financing expat kids’ university education whilst in the UAE

Financing expat kids’ university education whilst in the UAE

One major problem hitting on expat families in the UAE is funding their childrens’ university-level education.

Expat professionals in Dubai with university-aged kids are facing up to the dilemma of covering the costs of their offsprings’ studying for a degree at an overseas university. Unless parents are at the top of the tree as regards salaries, it’s a tall order, even if parents are long-term expats and have sold their home country property in order to help with the costs of a foreign degree for their kids.

One South African expat father put aside Dh36,725 after selling up at home, and is now saving Dh5,000 monthly to augment the main amount. His son would prefer to study for his degree in either New Zealand or Australia, with his father also paying for a life coach to help the boy decide on a future career and choose the right uni for his degree course. His father also believes his son may also be able to get a sports scholarship as he’s a strong rower. Even so, it’s a strain on the family finances, even in the UAE with its reputation for generous expat salaries.

Another expat professional who’s lived in the UAE for 12 years is now saving $1,200 every month against his son’s education, even although the baby won’t be born until July. He believes it’s essential to plan ahead for any eventuality, and is planning to rely on compound interest to increase the education fund. US universities may well be the world’s most expensive, but they’re also the most generous as regards financial assistance for talented students, both expat and local. Some 20 top unis including Princeton and Harvard offer ‘needs-based assistance’ to cash-strapped parents with annual salaries of up to $200,000.

Education consultants Gabbitas Middle East are another route to financial help for talented expat kids wanting to study for a degree at a British university. Foreign students are charged form £10,000 to £50,000 a year dependent on the educational status of the university, and medical degrees are now more expensive as the NHS is now not subsidising expat students. Education service providers in the UAE are advising parents to prepare to support their kids for at least six years after their 18th birthdays as many go on to post-graduate courses followed by low-paid internships.

Several advisories are now suggesting first degree studies in the UAE as they’re less expensive than overseas, with parents on hand to help their kids adjust to university education by ensuring good study habits are employed. There’s a general feeling that studying locally for a humanities or liberal arts first degree saves students from making a possibly flawed career decision too early in their adult lives.

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