Private school fees bill could hit €129k
Parents could have to save as much as €2,000 a month to have enough money in the bank to cover private school bills by the time their child starts secondary school - if they've left it late to set aside funds.
There has been a pick-up in interest in private schools in recent years - driven in part by the economic boom, which means more parents can afford private education. There has also been an increased demand from international students for places in Irish private schools.
However, it could cost as much as €129,000 to send a child to boarding school for six years. For example, full board at St Columba's College, in Dublin 16, costs €19,563 a year for Junior Cert students - and €23,481 a year for Leaving Cert students. Clongowes Wood College, in Co Kildare, charges €19,890 a year for full board.
Meanwhile, fees for a private school where a child attends during the day only could come to more than €45,000 over six years, depending on the school.
Parents who want to save up to €120,000 to cover boarding fees for a child's entire secondary school education would need to squirrel away €1,950 a month - if they have only five years left to save up the money, according to figures compiled by Galway financial advisers, Curran Financial Services.
Parents looking to save up to €45,000 to cover day fees would need to put aside €731 a month - if they have five years left to get the money together. The amounts that would need to be saved each month would be significantly lower, however, if the parents had 10 years to save up.
It could cost several thousand euro or more to borrow money from the bank to fund day fees for a private school.
For parents who can afford private education, the big dilemma is whether Irish private schools are worth the price tag.
"It would be naive to think there are not advantages to private schools," said education expert Michael O'Leary, who holds the Prometric Chair in Assessment at Dublin City University. "However, there are really brilliant public schools - and then there are some which aren't so good. The same is true of private schools."