Moving to Japan and bringing your family along might seem like a dream come true in numerous ways. The land of the rising sun is known for many things—gorgeous tourist spots, wonderfully kind and polite people, mouth-watering cuisine—but it can also present a few difficulties for foreigners. If you have school-age children, then one of the most important things on your list is to find the right school for them. One thing Japan is also known for is the high cost of living.
If you want to make sure you manage your budget well and have more than enough to set aside for your children’s school expenses, understanding the school fees are a must. Here are a few tips for you.
Read Up About the Fees
Public schools are free. But you still need to shell out money for uniforms and backpacks and school supplies. However, if your children don’t understand the local language, it’s not ideal to enrol them in public school. International schools are a better fit, especially those that use English as a medium of instruction. That will ease the transition for your children, help them adjust to school better as it means that they won’t stand out as much because of the multicultural environment, and they will catch up faster with their peers. Private schools, though, cost about an average of 2,000,000 JPY for every student, and that’s for the tuition alone. There will be additional expenses you will need to set aside money for.
The good thing, though, is that you can check out educational grants. If your children have excellent grades and are academically gifted, they stand a good chance of winning one. Several programmes offer scholarships for international students. Make a list of them and discuss each one with your children. Some of those grants might be geared towards students talented and skilled in sports, and some are ideal for those who demonstrate skills in visual or performing arts. Figure out which ones are a good match for your children.
Pick the Right School
Not all schools offer those scholarships, so that’s another detail that you will need to sort out. Be conscious of that when you check out schooling options. If you still have time—if you are yet to move to Japan—then keep browsing around for schools that can provide educational grants that your children can qualify for. That can be one of the major considerations you’ll want to factor into your decision when choosing a school.
Know All the Other Fees
Tuition is just one of the regular fees that you pay for when your children go to school in Japan. There’s also the building management fee and the family committee fees that you will need to cover. Also, there are special fees like the application fee, registration fee, and development fee. All three of these special fees are paid at once, so you won’t need to worry that they’ll get added to the tuition fee every term or semester.
Think About Out-of-Pocket Costs
Other things that you must also worry about when it comes to expenses include the lunch fee since children eat at school. There’s also the school bus fee if you intend your children to have transportation to school. That way, you won’t need to drop them off and pick them up after. While that probably won’t apply now, when the students go back to in-person classes, that will be a lifesaver as it will allow you to get to work on time. Other costs include extra curriculum or learning support courses, excursions, and donations.
Don’t Miss the Application Period
Now that you know the fees you’ll have to cover, you can develop a budget. You can take a serious look at your finances and get everything in order. By the time you and your family are ready for the move, you should have made considerable headway in your preparations and on where your children will go to school. Make sure you don’t miss the application period for the schools. However, many are quite flexible when it comes to accepting applications, even if your child joins during the latter part of the academic school year. Not all schools allow that.
Gather the Requirements
If your children apply for the scholarship, at some point, make sure you can provide the proper documents. Keep that in mind so when they ask for the papers, you’ll know what they’re talking about, and you can procure the documents easily. These are usually papers that show the family’s income level. Some educational grants are open to children from moderate-income families, so your children have a shot at that.
Hope this information helped you understand how to manage your children’s school budget if you’re enrolling them in an international school like GIIS Tokyo.