Even though education in Ireland is expected to be free, each year families are grappling with rising back-to-school expenses. The cost of putting just one child through school can amount to tens of thousands of euros. If you have two or more children, the financial demands to cover their educational needs over the long-term intensify significantly. MBC Financial’s research on the Cost of Education in Ireland* uncovers both what parents estimate the cost of education to be and the actual costs. The research also illuminates the fact that expenses for children in secondary school nearly double that of primary school and third level costs triple that of secondary. Financing children’s education becomes increasingly demanding as the level of education rises.
The Average Annual & Lifetime Cost of Education
Education Tier Annual Cost Lifetime Cost
Primary School €1,573 €12,584 Secondary School €2,818 €15,696 College €15,154 €60,616
Parents estimate that it costs €1,146 (up €106 compared to 2021) annually to keep their child in primary school education.* The most significant expenses during a child’s primary school year are transport (€339) and after school activities (€241), followed by lunches (€215) and books €190). The research findings also reveal that most parents don’t take out loans to pay their children’s primary school expenses.
Parents of secondary school children estimate an average spend of €1,838 per school year (up €498 compared with 2021). On average, 69% of parents believe schools don’t do enough to assist parents in managing back-to-school costs. The highest spend items for parents with children in secondary school are grinds (€604), transport (€390) and lunches (€377). MBC Financial’s Cost of Education report also finds that 19% of parents have taken out a loan to help cover their child’s/children’s secondary school costs.
College fees represent a significant financial challenge, and by the time a teenager reaches third level, parents are acutely feeling the burden of putting their children through university or college. MBC Financial’s Cost of Education survey uncovers the true cost of third level education in Ireland. It’s unsurprising to learn that accommodation and college fees are the highest expenditure items during the college year. Accommodation costs for the college year range from €7,000 to €8,000, depending on whether you’re paying for rented or student accommodation.
*Source: Cost of Education Survey 2022
A great education is arguably the best possible start in life and for most parents, ensuring they can provide for their children's education, from primary school through to third level, is of paramount importance. With a Regular Savings plan, you can gradually build up the necessary funds to support your children's education and future.
Cost of Secondary School Calculator: Our Cost of Secondary School Calculator is a tool that helps you work out how much you need to save to cover the costs of putting children through secondary school.
Cost of College Education Calculator: Use our Cost of College Education Calculator to work out the estimated costs of sending your children to college and to see how much you might need to save each month to meet these college costs.
Benchmark Tool: Use MBC Financial’s Cost of Education benchmarking tool to compare education costs and identify potential areas for savings.