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UAE Expat Families Pay Dearly for Education
July 22, 2013, 10:02 am

The Education UAE Survey has shown that education is one of the top expenses of expat families living in the UAE, with one in five spending at least 30% of their monthly budget on school fees. Parents in Abu Dhabi are paying more than their compatriots in Dubai. American and British families pay more than Indians and those attending international curriculum schools.

The survey was conducted in March and April by, a website providing school guidance for residents of the UAE. A total of 596 households throughout the country responded to questions regarding their opinions on various schools, the performance of those schools, value for money, and more.

Of the respondents, 89% were located in either Abu Dhabi or Dubai, 9 percent from Sharjah, and the rest from Al Ain and Ajman. "Our survey has revealed that 46 per cent of parents in Abu Dhabi pay 21 per cent or more of their household income on their children's school fees, as opposed to 36 per cent of households in Dubai. Overall, close to one in five families spends over 30 percent of their monthly household budget on school fees.

The most common answer from respondents is between 11 and 15 percent of their combined incomes," said James Mullan, co-founder of to XPRESS. Perhaps the most shocking revelation of the survey is that few expat families have an employer pay for schooling as part of their benefits.

Only 13 percent had all school fees covered; 24 percent had some covered, whereas the majority at 62 percent had no assistance from their employers. Those living in Abu Dhabi were more likely to receive employer assistance. Despite these high figures, parents were split on whether the school fees represented good value for money, with 33 percent agreeing, 37 percent partially agreeing, and 30 percent disagreeing. 

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