Can I afford to send my kids to college?

So, today will be my first born's first day in 1st grade. When he was just 3 years old, I started calling schools to ask how much the tuition fees where. I did that because of my background, a finance educator advocate and a financial planner. If I was not in this field, I don't think I would have done that. 

Anyway, this post will be more of a sharing of the data that I gathered back in 2010 and an updated version of the Tuition Fee Study that I started.

I have read an article years back showing the tuition fee rates of the top schools in Manila. However, for somebody living in Cebu City and have no plans of sending my son to Manila, I decided to do my own to get an idea of the situation in my very own city.

Note: This research isn't rocket science. CHED and DepEd wouldn't give us access to the latest rates with their respective reasons. We respect it but still we needed to get the data, and so we had to go from one school to another. Some rates were given by working students, some would only give the rates for my "imaginary" incoming students. The gathered data where then tabulated. The averages and medians were computed. So, the rates that you'll be seeing are just a guide as to the average tuition fee rates of the different levels in the schools. We do not guarantee 100% accuracy on the data gathered. The rates that you see are inclusive of dictated miscellaneous fees. For those who gave us purely tuition fees, we added 15% on top of it to take into consideration the miscellaneous fees. 

Tuition fees for Pre-elementary, Elementary and High School

Tuition Fees for College
As you can see, the average tuition fee increase from the schools listed is at 10%. But I saw an article dated last year that listed more schools here in Cebu, and the average increase was at 12%. (Article here.)

Since April, I have read several posts of mothers being shocked of the tuition fee rates in the schools that they're eyeing on for their child. Well, if they're surprised of the tuition fee rates TODAY, how much more in high school? In college?!

To give you a visual presentation of a 6-year old's tuition fee based on the current average tuition fees (elementary - P46,779, high school - P55,793 and college P72,011) vs the average budget for education of a P50,000 and P100,000 combined family income. Education budget allocation is based on NSO study on family expenditures in 2009.

based on average tuition fees

based on average tuition fees

From these two charts, for a couple with a combined take-home pay (net of taxes and other deductions) of P50,000, they would have a hard time sending their child to school based on the average tuition fee rates. Even if their annual income would increase by 6% per year. 

For a P100,000 take home pay (maybe an OFW's case perhaps?), yes, sending their child to really good private schools is doable in the first few years but by the time the child will reach Grade 7 until college, at an average tuition fee increase of 10% per year, the couple would now have to consider increasing the budget allocated for education OR find additional source of income to compensate the need.

Now, that's based on the AVERAGE tuition fee rates. How about if the couple would just go for the minimum tuition fee rate based on the study? Well, here's a chart for that. 

based on minimum tuition fees

based on minimum tuition fees

Based on these 2 charts, there's a big adjustment made. The school considered here are the one's with the least tuition fees based on the study.

For the P50,000 take-home pay couple, sending their child to senior high school until college (based on the K-12 program) would still be a challenge. But for a P100,000 income couple, as long as they only have 1 child to send to school, then they will be able to provide for their child's education with extra budget to spare.. :)

Now, the previous charts are showing trends for a 1-child couple. How about those with 2 kids with 4 years gap? Like myself... :)

based on average tuition fees

based on average tuition fees

From these 2 charts, it shows that the P50,000 couple would now be faced with a BIGGER challenge of how to send their kids to the listed schools.

For the P100,000 couple, by the time the 1st child will be in 3rd grade, then the fund source for tuition will  be a challenge, just like the P50,000 couple.

Same situation as those with just 1 child, what if the couples would opt to go for the minimum tuition fees?

based on minimum tuition fees

based on minimum tuition fees
From these 2 charts, it shows that for the P50,000 pay couple, the challenge of paying off for the tuition fee starts at the 2nd grade of the 1st born, and even until the eldest graduates from college.

However, the P100,000 pay couple will be financially struggling by the time the eldest is in senior high school until the child graduates from college. They would be able to take a breather when the 1st child graduates.

Now, these scenarios are good for 1 or 2 kids.. If you would like to have an idea of how much your child's tuition fee based on your school picks, you may use this widget we created based on the data shown above.

Or you may also reach us at or landline (032) 381-0188 for help on creating a financial plan and how to create an education fund.

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