School fees are always daunting. Below we have put together five guidelines that can be a real help as you look at how you will finance providing your child with the best preparation for life.
1. Start Early
It is surprising how many people wait until the week before their child starts school before really thinking about where the fees will come from. It is never too early to start planning, saving and investing for your child’s future. There are financial packages on the market with monthly saving contributions invested so as to meet school fees requirements when the time comes, but always remember that investments can go down as well as up and you may still be left with a fees gap to fund directly. Still, simply having a savings account set aside that you make regular contributions to as soon after your child is born as possible (or even before!) will mean that by the time real school fees start, you are already part way there.
2. Ask and you may receive
Most schools have discounted fees available – either as a sporting or academic scholarships, or as straightforward bursaries that offer financial assistance. In Pembroke House’s case, these could add up to as much as a 60% discount. Always find out what a school has to offer, and be open about your own personal circumstances.
3. Spread your payments
Provided you are regular and consistent in your payments, schools may be quite happy to take monthly payments. Whilst there can be small interest charges for taking this route, in Pembroke’s case this is well below the Bank of Kenya’s interest rates. This may significantly help you manage your cash flow so that there isn’t one large, and slightly intimidating lump sum that you have to pay at the start of each term.
4. Communicate at all times
At Pembroke House the Headmistress and the Commercial Director’s doors are always open. It can often help just to come in and lay out personal circumstances and then a personal payment plan can be developed just for you. Schools are always open to communication and even if you get into financial difficulties later, the most important thing is to let the school know and you may be suprised as to what help could be offered.
5. Plan, plan and plan for the long-term
Remember that your child will become settled and happy at their school. You don’t want to be in a place where lack of fees means they have to be withdrawn. Remember also that paying for education may not end until they are over 21 years if they go on to university. Starting your child in a good prep school is as good as committing to a good secondary school. Planning now for how you will finance education over the long-term will take an enormous weight off your mind.