School Fees driving UAE Parents into Debt

School Fees driving UAE Parents into Debt
By David Westley
Do your children attend a UAE school? Take our survey and help other parents.
WhichSchoolAdvisor's annual school survey.
LET'S GO

Taking out a personal loan to cover school fees is clearly a last resort of most parents, however a surprisingly high number - over one fifth - have taken on debt to cover school fees at some point during their child's education.

For the majority that has meant bank debt, but a surprising number of respondents have borrowed from friends and families. Many use credit cards - one in four - to pay school fees, but in the majority of cases this is a short term measure, with the credit card paid within the billing cycle.

Those that have borrowed from banks are relatively happy with the experience - two thirds of cases banks have been helpful in providing finances, but in 37% of cases - for one reason or another - bank debt has not proved to be the solution parents have needed.

Reasons given by respondents for this included the onerous process, and the length of time it takes to get a bank loan (as opposed to the immediate need to pay). "The banks process was too cumbersome", one respondent told us, "the paper work is tedious and time consuming..." said another.

However the most frequently mentioned reason is the high levels of interest banks charge. While some banks may have something called an "education loan", it is not different in any shape or form from any other type of loan a bank offers.

"They treat it just like any other personal loan," one respondent told us; "There is no short term loan for a school fee with no/low interest rates", said another.

Some respondents told us their bank did not like the idea of funding education for students, and so a personal loan for "other reasons" had to be taken.

Banks are of course not government institutions designed or intended to support education, or other social institutions. However, from a PR perspective, they could do well to show greater social responsibility, and to be seen to be supporting education and the community would do wonders for a banks reputation.

Even at a country level, to be seen to be supporting the nation's development would be a positive PR move by banks.

Too many banks offer schemes that are personal loans in disguise, and for education in name only.

That said there do seem to be some good examples where schools and banks come together to help parents. Taleem shines a light in this regard.

"We have negotiated special payment schemes with two reputed financial institutions to help our parents plan financially and spread out their fee payments," Clive Pierrepont, Director of Communications of the Taleem group of schools told us.

"We have a responsibility to support the parents who we consider our partners. They have supported us throughout the years and we will help them as far as we can within guidelines given by then KHDA."

Clearly Taleem has the advantage of representing a group of schools, and its ownership structure is pretty special. However, it clearly offers a blueprint other schools and school groups, would do well to evaluate.

 

More
Extra-curricular - but not optional
UAE Teachers blamed for poor performance
UAE School Fees, Performance - Who is satisfied?
Schools make payment easy, but could make it easier
School Fees driving UAE parents into debt
One in 3 UAE parents admit to late school fee payment
9/10 parents claim financial stress from school fees

Even More
Click here for up to date real time trends for Dubai school fees
Click here for a complete and up to date list of Dubai school fees
Click here for a complete and up-to-date list of Abu Dhabi school fees
Click here for a complete and up-to-date list of Sharjah school fees

Comments
Latest UAE articles
School Fees

Safa Schools Latest to Discount Term 3 Fees

Safa British and Safa Community have become the latest schools to offer a discount on…

School Fees

Al Najah Education Cuts Fees by 20%

Al Najah Education has become the first school group to offer discounts on term three sch…

Society

High 5s From Cub Reporter, Mishal, After Wk 1!

High five to all the students all over the UAE! You're now bonafide distant learners! Gi…

Schools Closing

Covid-19: Distance Learning till End of Year

Schools across the UAE will remain closed to students until the end of this academic yea…

School Performance

UAE Survey: Home Schooling - Have Your Say!

Share your views on how effective distance learning has been?  Has it met your expec…

Society

Covid-19: A Rainbow of Hope, en français!

Inspired by the young people of China and Italy who began sharing messages of hope  …

Society

Curfew Extended, New Fines in Force

The Ministry of Health has announced the UAE curfew will continue until Sunday, April 5th…

Parenting

Home Schooling, A WSA Mum's Diary, Week 1!

With another week of online learning confirmed and with many parents wondering if we mig…

0 Schools Selected
keyboard_arrow_down keyboard_arrow_up
Your selection Clear All