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Securing your child’s education on a budget

Hellen Njeri @njerihelen

If you are seeking to educate your children privately, then you have quite a huge task ahead. Experts say school fees have risen by more than a fifth since 2012, thus exceeding the rise in average earnings.

According to a recent research, inability to pay school fees is the main cause of school transfers with 34.1 per cent of students leaving school for more affordable options.

With funding private education being more expensive, here are some tips to keep costs down.

Plan early

Financial expert say, after buying a home, a child may be your largest expense. The best gift you can give a child is a bright future. In this day and age, a great deal of your child’s security lies in financial planning from an early age. If you choose private education, it can seem an unachievable goal but if you plan ahead, it can be done.

You can take up an insurance education policy that will help save for your child’s future. The policy also comes with benefits such as disability (temporary and permanent), death (natural and accidental) and critical illness cover. When such eventualities assail, most insurance companies will cushion the contributor and secure all the expected benefits.

Aim for tax efficiency

Parents/guardians should use their individual savings allowances to maximise on tax benefits.

For example, a parent or guardian who has enrolled into a savings plan say for Sh15,000 per month, you can enjoy up to 15 per cent tax relief which equals to Sh2,249.

Be smart about it

While investing for an education, look for investments that will give you returns to reduce on your capital investment. For example: you can use a financial expert to help you invest in shares and unit trusts. Over time, these investments can give returns in form of dividends and also interest in addition to your initial capital investment.

Be on the lookout for bursaries and scholarships

There is always a common belief that only students from poor backgrounds deserve scholarship facilities. However, this is not always the case. The level of necessity changes as you seek better and more specialised education.

For exampl, a scholarship to an international standards institution may help a local student achieve world-class learning, which they might otherwise not afford.

Therefore, parents/guardians should always approach the school and other scholarship offering institutions to see if they qualify for fee assistance. If you are a student who is physically disabled, have a long-term health condition or mental health condition, or a learning difficulty ( dyslexia, dyspraxia), you may be entitled to extra higher education funding from the government.

Use public facilities

Some parents have opted for a personal solution to arts program budget cuts by enrolling their children in private lessons and after-school or holiday programs. Some of these programs, may offer quality music instruction for slightly less fees. However, look into long-term programmes and not temporary courses, to sustain the momentum.

Also, many programs are available to certain age groups only, while others are simply inaccessible in many towns and cities. These programs can, however, be used to stimulate interests in the arts through student exposure in classes and public exposure through exhibits, recital.

Religious places are also good centres for learning arts. Look out for the schedules that might have opportunities to give your child the much needed art exposure at little or no fee at all.

Cheaper options with maximum benefits

If you cannot afford a private education for your children, look at your options. Top state schools with best grades are an option. Besides the low fees, diversity is part of what makes large state schools great. At a large state institution, you have great opportunities to learn outside the classroom and to gain perspectives that will prove invaluable in today’s increasingly globalized world.

Besides, government subsidies, incentives and innovation events are usually tried and directed to such intuitions as they are considered whole in nature adding into the bounty of exposure to your child.

Choose no tuition option

Working parents and guardians who tend to have hectic schedules and are away most of the time may end up paying more to get suitable education for their children. Many a times you are forced to pay extra in tuition fees to cover the gap or for their absence. However, parents who have time can spare and pay attention to their children’s academic progress and always foyer for better services from learning institutions; they are also able to make follow-ups for the services delivered to their children and are likely to pay less: for there is no extra tuition needed.

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