Average cost of educating your child can add up to €60,000

Research launched today [6th August 2008] by Bank of Ireland Life in association with online parent resource Schooldays.ie, reveals the essentials associated with putting your child through the education system adds up to €60,000.

The savings and investment arm of the Bank of Ireland Group believe that the high cost of the nation’s ‘free’ education system will be particularly shocking for those parents who have no savings plan to call on to meet these expenses.

Highlights of the research include:

  • 98%of parents find ‘Back-to-School’ time expensive
  • Parents spend on average of €376 per child at ‘Back-to-School’ time
  • 89% of parents believe that the monthly Children’s Allowance of €166 per child is insufficient to meet these expenses
  • 75% of parents believe that the ‘Back to School Allowance’ which is currently means-tested by the Government should be made available to all parents
  • 67% of parents spend their Children’s Allowance in the month they receive it
  • 76% of parents believe that Transition Year in Secondary school is the most expensive 2nd level year for parents with 59% saying that it should be optional
  • 47% of parents say that 3rd level education costs are the most expensive years
  • 51% of parents think that schoolbooks are the most unnecessarily expensive part of their children’s education

The research also revealed that 71% of parents think that the best time to start saving for their children’s education costs is when they are 0-4 years old. And of the 35% of parents who save their Children’s Allowance, 55% use a deposit savings account while 45% use a long-term investment plan to save this money.

So how much does free education typically cost? Bank of Ireland Life estimate it will cost over €61,206 to educate each child to third level.

Expenditure Annual €
Annual €
Annual €
3rd level
Study Books & Materials 123.44 169.31 504
Uniform, Sports gear & Shoes 125.50 317.00 756.00
Lunch 610.50 1,152.00 1,071.00
Fees & Voluntary Contribution 132.00 244.00 3,467.50
Transport 240.50 240.50 525.00
Accommodation 3,330.00
Total Annually 1,231.94 2,122.81 9,653.50
Years in Education 8 6 4
Grand Total 9,855.52 12,736.86 38,614

Commenting on the research results, Eoin Kennedy, Head of Products, Bank of Ireland Life said, “The best time to start saving for your children’s education is from day one – when you start to receive the State Children’s Allowance. It’s the old saying that what you don’t have you won’t miss. In fact, if you saved the children’s allowance for two children of €332 over the eight years spent at primary school and put it into our SmartChoice Education plan, you could end up with a lump sum of over €37,000 to help cover the various costs associated with children’s education.”

“Better again, those who can afford to divert their creche fees which average from €600 – €800 per month into a regular savings plan after their children start Primary school, could benefit from a lumpsum of €66,000 or €88,000 to put towards the expensive secondary and 3rd level education years.”

89% of parents feel pressured to contribute to the running of the school through sponsored events, with 69% of parents giving their children additional money for school supplies and fundraising events at least once a month.

Regular changes in the schoolbook curriculum also cause a big headache for parents looking to buy second-hand books, and in particular for those looking to save money by passing schoolbooks on to other siblings. With 51% of parents citing schoolbooks as the most unnecessarily expensive part of their children’s education.

As another cost-saving measure, 62% of parents agreed that their children should wear their school uniform on Communion and Confirmation Days in order to ease the financial pressure on parents.

Commenting on the survey, Annemarie Wade, Managing Director of Schooldays.ie, noted that enrolment for Extra Curricular activities also coincides with peak expense period of ‘Back-to-School’, putting even more financial pressure on parents. This period is also one of the busiest on the Schooldays.ie website, with parents using the site to locate extra curricular activities nationwide. As part of the Bank’s research parents estimated that they spent an average of €626 per year at Primary school level and €620 per year at Secondary school on extra curricular activities such as dance, swimming and piano lessons.

The additional expense of pocket money during the education years also adds up, according to the Bank of Ireland Life research. On average the surveyed parents give their children weekly pocket money of €9.69 for Primary school children, €18.51 for Secondary School children, and €60 for 3rd level students.

“Sending a child to school from primary right through to third-level education is an expensive exercise. In particular if there is a requirement to source accommodation during the college years, which according to our research can add up to in excess of €13,000 over 4 years. The best way to deal with these expenses is to plan ahead,” concluded Eoin Kennedy.

Examples of ways to Save for your Children’s Education Savings Amount Saving during the Primary School years Projected Fund after 8 years investment (Primary School Years)
Child Benefit €166 8 years €19,492
Child Benefit x 2 €332 8 years €36,442
Creche Fees €600 8 years €65,859
Creche Fees €800 8 years €87,813

Projections are based on the policy value of a Bank of Ireland Life SmartChoice Education plan over 8 years after the payment of taxation. Projections assume a growth rate of 6% per annum.


Notes to Editors:

Research conducted by Schooldays.ie on behalf of Bank of Ireland Life in June and July 2008, with a nationwide sample of over 500 parents with children in primary, secondary and 3rd level education.

Schooldays.ie is Ireland’s Online Resource for Parents and Teachers. Established in 2006, the website provides comprehensive information for parents on schools, parental resources, afterschool activities, mid-term camps and family milestones such as Communions, Confirmations, Debs and Birthdays. Teachers can source information on school tours, roadshows, competitions and school year events.

SmartChoice Education is Bank of Ireland Life’s most popular product solution for parents looking to save for their children’s future.

SmartChoice Education is a regular savings plan linked to the stockmarket that includes an innovative 25% loyalty bonus for those who commit to saving regularly for a period of 7 years. In the first year of the plan, Bank of Ireland Life invest an amount equal to 25% of the customer’s annual contribution, this sum plus any growth achieved is then added on to the policy providing their regular contributions are maintained for a period of seven years. For example, a customer saving €200 per month will be allocated a bonus of €600 plus growth.

SmartChoice Education requires a minimum payment of €100 per month and has a wide range of funds for customers to choose from. These include our award winning Evergreen Fund to geared property products and our new Innovator Fund, which invests in new growth areas. SmartChoice Education has a minimum investment period of 7 years.

For further information contact:
Laura Erskine
Public Relations Manager
Bank of Ireland Life
Ph. 01 617 2586
Mob. 086 856 2929

Sharon McDonnell
Group Consumer Communications
Bank of Ireland
Ph. 01 604 3750
Mob. 087 226 9324