825 Euros per Child: Returning to School Costs

school costsThe beginning of the new school term is a period which many parents in Spain both dread and look forward to. On one hand, they get their little ones out from under their feet and back into some kind of routine, but on the other hand, each year, the return to school implies a great expense for parents.

The study took into account data from both state and private schools. However, it does conclude that choosing between a private and a state school could mean a difference of about 200 euros per child.

Books have increased in price by three per cent and they vary depending on the different levels, e.g. 86 euros for infant school, 175 euros for primary, 199 euros for secondary and 260 euros in higher education. However, in Andalucia, books for many levels of education are completely free.

Other necessary items of school material like satchels, notebooks, pens, etc exceed 100 euros. Clothes and footwear also take up a great part of September’s expense, ranging from 135 euros to 330 euros in private schools. On top of all that, you have to take school lunches into consideration. Having your child stay at school for lunch could cost you approximately 109 euros per month extra. Transport, mainly by bus, also ranges between 70 and 100 euros per month, as the global increase in oil price has significantly affected these rates.

If your child goes to a private school, he or she will need 250 euros on average just for enrolment. If you choose a state or state-subsidised school, enrolment will cost you nothing.

Breaking this report down by regions, Madrid is by far the most expensive city for parents who have children in full-time education. The capital city is closely followed by Cataluña and Valencia, which both proved to be extremely expensive when compared to Galicia, Aragon and Castilla- La Mancha, the cheapest communities. But this difference is due to their different funding system, as these three communities (together with some others in Spain), issue free books during the whole school period. They have put into practice a borrowing system that is good not only for your pocket but for the environment. Other communities have chosen a ‘cheque book’ system or the granting of subsidies according to factors such as the size off the family and its gross income.

It comes as no surprise then, that the period when children go back to school is known in Spain as the ‘cuesta de septiembre’ or September slope. Some tips offered to make it a little easier to survive are as follows:
* Apart from the regional subsidies, apply for the state grants (becas) that the Ministry of Education awards every year to purchase books and school material.
* Avoid quick loans as they will only make your debt higher.
* Get information about the different activities that your council offers, in case you want your child to do any extra curricular activity instead of choosing private services.
* Diversify and stagger the purchases. Not everything is necessary from the very first day.
* Use the discounts that the law recognises for primary and secondary education books.
* Not buying popular brand name clothes could mean a 30 per cent saving.

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