How Much Money Should I Save for My Child’s Education in 2023?

Moneymax Editorial Team

Moneymax Editorial Team

Last updated July 24, 2023

Have you started saving for your child's tuition fund? If so, are you saving enough?

To say that the cost of education is expensive is an understatement. Higher education institutions in the country increase tuition fees in the Philippines by about 10% year-over-year.[1] However, financially preparing for your kid’s future is doable if you do it early.

As we gear up for another school year, ask yourself: How much do I really need to prepare for my child’s education?

What are the Differences Between Private and Public Schools in the Philippines?

The cost of your child’s education depends on your choice of school. Are you planning to enroll your kid in a private school or a public school? The rising cost of education in the Philippines depends on so many factors.

To help you decide, here are a few of the similarities and differences between public and private schools in the Philippines.

✏️ Free Tuition Fees in Public Schools

Generally speaking, parents of children attending public schools don’t need to pay tuition fees. Under Republic Act 10931 (Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act), you can send your child to any of the 112 universities that offer free college education.[2]

The list includes the Philippine Normal University and the University of the Philippines School System, Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in the Ilocos Region, Cavite State University in CALABARZON, and Agusan del Sur State College of Agriculture and Technology in Region XIII.

Through the government's Free Higher Education program, over two million Filipino students no longer had to pay tuition and miscellaneous fees.[3]

✏️ Better Facilities in Private Schools

tuition fees in the Philippines - better facilities in private schools

Private schools charge tuition fees to cover the maintenance and provision of facilities. Most classrooms are air-conditioned. Many private schools also have designated computers and equipment for each child.

On the other hand, the public school system may find it hard to provide high-tech equipment as funding is limited.

✏️ Larger Class Sizes in Public Schools

Most public schools accommodate up to 65 students per classroom while private school classes are composed of up to 30 students only. Class size often matters for most parents because a small class size means teachers can better supervise and monitor their student’s progress individually.

✏️ Differences in the Medium of Instruction

Public schools use the national language in classroom discussions while most private schools maintain the use of both Filipino and English as the medium of instruction. If you and your kid are not used to communicating in Filipino, you might find it hard to adjust to the medium of instruction in most public schools.

How Much Do Tuition Fees in the Philippines Cost?

How much you should save depends on the grade level of your child. For instance, some schools charge higher tuition fees for grade school compared to high school.

Read on to get an idea of the range of tuition fees in the Philippines. Note that these are just base amounts—costs can go up or down depending on your choice of school.

Average Annual Tuition Fees in the Philippines for Private Schools

💸 Grade School: ₱30,000 to ₱100,000

Grade school in the Philippines starts from Nursery to Grade 6. Depending on the school’s location and facilities, you may need to prepare at least ₱30,000 for school fees alone. Some other fees may include books, uniforms, laboratory, and miscellaneous fees, which will raise the school’s monthly charges.

On average, here’s a breakdown of expenses for private schooling. 

Educational Expense Average Cost
Tuition ₱30,000
Books ₱10,000
Laboratory fee ₱5,000
Uniform ₱5,000
Miscellaneous fees ₱7,000
Total ₱57,000 annually or ₱5,700 monthly

Read more: Buying School Supplies? 6 Money-Saving Hacks for Matipid Parents

💸 High School and Senior High School: ₱50,000 to ₱150,000

The K-12 education system added two more years at the high school level for both private and public schools. On average, tuition fees in the Philippines for high school students starts from ₱40,000. Compared to grade school, high school education covers more subjects, thus more books and requirements are needed to develop the student’s mastery of knowledge and skills.

Educational Expense Average Cost
Tuition ₱50,000
Books ₱15,000
Laboratory fees ₱7,000
Uniform ₱5,000
Miscellaneous fees ₱10,000
Total ₱87,000 annually or ₱8,700 monthly


💸 College Level: ₱60,000 to ₱200,000+

College is probably the most difficult stage, both financially and emotionally. Aside from the increasingly expensive education fund, a four- or five-year course might be more difficult for the child.

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Tuition Fees of Top Universities in the Philippines

To help you better understand how much you need to save for your child’s education, here are the college tuition fees in the Philippines this 2023 for some of the country's top universities:

🏫 University of the Philippines Diliman

Annual cost of tuition: Free (for qualified students)

tuition fees in the philippines - university of the philippines
Photo: University of the Philippines (Facebook)

UP Diliman has over 20,000 students. Journalism, computer engineering, philosophy, anthropology, and creative writing are just some of the many courses offered by this university.

Under the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (Republic Act 10931), UP is among the state universities that offer full tuition subsidies for students. This means qualified UP students can enjoy free tuition.

🏫 University of Santo Tomas

Annual cost of tuition: ₱60,000 to ₱140,000

The oldest university in Asia, UST has nine colleges and offers courses in architecture, physical therapy, and journalism, among others. It has over 10 CHED Centers of Excellence.

Depending on the program, tuition fees per semester range from ₱30,000 to ₱70,000. There are additional laboratory, library, computer, and other miscellaneous fees.

🏫 Silliman University

Annual cost of tuition: ₱120,000 to ₱160,000

tuition fees in the philippines - silliman
Photo: Silliman University (Facebook)

Siliman, located in Dumaguete, has the greatest number of accredited programs in the country. Founded in 1901, the university has degree programs in information technology, nursing, biology, marine science, and more.

Tuition fees range from ₱60,000 to ₱80,000, excluding laboratory and miscellaneous fees.

🏫 Mapua University

Annual cost of tuition: ₱120,000 to ₱204,000

Mapua University is known for its engineering and architecture programs. Eight of the university’s programs are recognized as CHED Centers of Excellence. Mapua has campuses in Intramuros and Makati. There are four terms per year, with each term costing around ₱30,000 to ₱51,000.

🏫 University of San Carlos

Annual cost of tuition: ₱140,000 to ₱180,000

One of Cebu’s largest universities, the University of San Carlos has the most CHED Centers of Excellence in the Vis-Min area. It offers programs in education, physics, engineering, and anthropology. Tuition fees cost around ₱70,000 to ₱90,000.

🏫 San Beda University

Annual cost of tuition: ₱145,000 to ₱155,000

Founded in 1901, San Beda has campuses in Manila, Alabang, and Rizal. CHED granted the institution university status in 2018. San Beda offers courses in accountancy, marketing, economics, and law.

🏫 Ateneo de Manila University

Annual cost of tuition: ₱184,000+

One of the top private universities in the Philippines, Ateneo offers elementary, high school, college, and graduate education. The university offers competitive programs in sciences, liberal arts, law, management, and engineering.

ADMU charges around ₱92,000 on average per semester. Meanwhile, basic fees cost around ₱12,000 and other fees over ₱3,000.

Tuition fees in the Philippines vary depending on your child’s program of study. Additional fees may also be charged aside from the ones mentioned above.

🏫 University of Asia and the Pacific

Annual cost of tuition: ₱184,000 to ₱202,000+

UA&P offers courses in economics, humanities, management, and information technology. The institution also has an international student exchange program, with partner schools in Europe, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific.

Its tuition fees are one of the highest in the country, costing around ₱92,000 to ₱101,000 per semester. After miscellaneous fees, the total cost can amount to more or less ₱125,000.

🏫 De La Salle College of Saint Benilde

Annual cost of tuition: ₱195,000 to ₱300,000

CSB was founded in the 1980s as a night school, but today it offers various courses in the fields of arts and design, international studies, and hotel and management. The school has three terms, with each term costing around ₱65,000 to ₱100,000.

🏫 De La Salle University

tuition fees in the philippines - dlsu

Photo: De La Salle University (Facebook)

Annual cost of tuition: ₱200,000+

DLSU offers courses in communication, sciences, engineering, business, and technologies. Unlike most Philippine universities that have two semesters per academic year, DLSU has three terms, each costing an average of around ₱70,000 to ₱90,000.

The basic tuition fee charged per unit is, on average, ₱3,712. If your child takes 18 units in one trimester, you need to pay ₱66,816 for tuition fees alone. Other fees include student orientation for ₱850, a library fee of ₱2,075, and a registration fee of ₱872, among others.

Related reading: Want to Study Abroad? Try These Study Abroad Programs Online

Personal loan in the Philippines

Factors Affecting the Cost of Education

Before you compute the amount to save for your child's education, consider the things that impact the cost of education.

📌 Your Target School and Course

Do you dream of sending your children to one of the top universities in the Philippines? Start saving more because college courses in the Philippines, especially at the best universities, aren't cheap.

Looking for schools that specialize in fields like business, accounting, engineering, medicine, IT, and the arts? If the schools on your shortlist all charge high tuition payments, you must either build a huge tuition fund or keep looking for more affordable choices.

Consider a state university or college covered by RA 10931 or the free tuition law.[4] Qualified students in premier state universities like UP and PUP no longer pay for tuition, miscellaneous fees, and other school fees.

However, the free tuition law has numerous conditions and restrictions, so you don't know for sure if your child will qualify for it. Also, you can't be too certain if this law will still be in effect by the time your child enters college.

📌 Your Target School’s Current Tuition

Once you've determined your target college, find out how much its current tuition costs. Look for the information on the school's official website or through search engines like, among others.

Take note that the five-year moratorium on tuition fee hikes for state universities and colleges just ended this 2023.[5] Meanwhile, when it comes to private universities, tuition fees in the Philippines increase by an average of 10% every year—about twice the country's average inflation rate of 4% to 5%.

While the cost of education rises exponentially, household incomes, unfortunately, don't always keep pace. Can you already imagine how costly it will be to fund your child's education?

📌 Number of Years Until Your Child Starts College

Your kid's age today will determine how long you have left to save for college tuition. A parent with a newborn, for instance, has 18 years to prepare for the child's college education.

That's easier to manage compared to building a tuition fund for a 10-year-old kid or older. The shorter the time left for you to save, the bigger the money you have to set aside per month or year.

How to Calculate Tuition Fees in the Philippines

tuition fees in the Philippines - how to calculate

Now that you know the factors that affect the cost of education in the country, you can compute the amount you need for securing your child's education in the future.

To make it simpler, calculate the cost of education for your child's first year in college. Use this formula:

Cost of College Education = Current Tuition in Target School x (1.10 ^ Years Until College)

For example, you want your three-year-old to study at UST 15 years from now. Let's say the current tuition for the program you're eyeing is ₱110,000. The estimated tuition cost for 2033 is computed this way:

₱110,000 x (1.10 ^ 15) = ₱459,497.30

That's for the first year of college alone. You also need to compute for the remaining years in college, taking into account that tuition goes up by 10% every year.

To get the total tuition cost, multiply the estimated tuition for the first year (₱459,497.30) by 1.10 for every year your child will be in college, then get the sum.

Assuming your child will complete a four-year course, here's how much it will cost you for every year in college:

Year in College Estimated Total Tuition
First Year ₱459,497.30
Second Year ₱505,447.03 (₱459,497.30 x 1.10)
Third Year ₱555,991.73 (₱505,447.03 x 1.10)
Fourth Year ₱611,590.91 (₱555,991.73 x 1.10)
Total Tuition ₱2,132,526.97

The estimated total cost of education is over ₱2 million. This is your target amount to save for your child's tuition. The actual cost may go higher or lower depending on your target school, the tuition cost, and how long you'll save up for it.

You can use a Future Value calculator[6] for quicker computation.

How to Reduce Expenses on Your Child’s Education

tuition fee in the philippines - how to reduce expenses

Overwhelmed by the numbers provided above? You can do a lot of things to ease the financial burden. A little help can go a long way if you’re determined to send your child to school.

👉 Get Discounts

Private schools, usually at the grade school and high school levels, grant student discounts to siblings or relatives of their students.

Some also offer early bird discounts. If the opening of classes is set for August, early birds can pre-enroll by March or a few months before the enrollment date. Available discounts become lower as the opening of classes approaches.

👉 Apply for Government Subsidies

Yes, private school students can also qualify for government subsidies, such as the following:

Educational Services Contracting (ESC)

This government program seeks to decongest public high schools by granting subsidized education to students in private schools instead. Instead of crowding classrooms in the public education system, the government makes arrangements with private schools to open enrollment slots to these students for free.

Senior High School Voucher Program (SHS VP)

The SHS VP[7] is another financial assistance program that provides would-be college students with a voucher. The voucher is only for those who completed senior high school from private or public schools as non-ESC grantees.

For students entering college in the National Capital Region, the maximum voucher amount is ₱22,500. For those in highly urbanized areas, the voucher is worth ₱20,000; and for all other locations in the country, ₱17,000.

The grantees will present the voucher to their selected university or college upon enrolment. The voucher amount is deductible from tuition and other school fees.

👉 Look for Scholarships and Grants

Tuition fees in the Philippines can go lower if you look for scholarships and grants. Universities, colleges, and private schools offer free or subsidized tuition to deserving students. Your child can apply as an academic scholar.

The process includes the assessment of previous grades and scores on written entrance exams. Some students also need to undergo interviews. If you want to apply for a scholarship or grant, prepare your Income Tax Return (ITR) as schools also evaluate the subsidy amount based on the parents' earnings and financial capacity.

👉 Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Reuse books and uniforms. Look for students within your neighborhood who have taken up the same program or subject as your child. You can pay at a reduced price or even get these hand-me-downs for free.

👉 Choose Cheaper Student Accommodations

If you’re sending your child to study somewhere far, then you might want to look for practical accommodations. Consider dormitories instead of studios and apartments.

Dormitories are built for sharing, but these are usually located near the school. Your child can save time and money on commutes.

5 Tips To Help You Save for Your Child’s Education

tuition fee in the philippines - tips to save

Not every parent can shell millions of pesos out of their bank accounts all at once to pay for college tuition. Here are tips on saving for your little one’s college education:

✔️ Start Saving Early

Don’t wait until your kid gets older before you start saving for their education. The earlier you start, the longer you have to save for your child's tuition fund. Start slowly, and once you’re in a financially better place, amp up your savings. 

✔️ Find the Perfect Saving Strategy

Allot a portion—one that won’t strain your finances—of your monthly salary for your child’s education. Add more to your kid’s tuition funds every time you receive a bonus.

Try aiming for a no-spend month. Buy essentials and pay off bills and debts—the rest goes to your child’s education fund. The idea is to spend less and save more for your kid’s future.

If you have a stable income, you can also aim for a monthly 10% saving rate. You will have a set amount of savings each month. It may not seem much, but it adds up!

✔️ Invest Your Money

Rather than just saving straight-up, invest your money in an instrument that yields a return of around 8% to 10% or higher. Put your savings in mutual funds, stocks, VUL insurance, or other investments. Just a word of caution, though: don't fall for online investment scams.

Investing will help bring down your target savings while still meeting your tuition fund goal. 

✔️ Get an Educational Plan

An educational plan isn’t cheap, but it guarantees that you can send your child to a college or university. This type of pre-need plan also ensures that your child’s tuition for their entire stay in college is covered.

✔️ Take Out a Loan

You can get a student loan from private financial institutions or government agencies, such as CHED, GSIS, and SSS.

If you are a GSIS or SSS member, you can get an educational assistance loan with financial aid of up to ₱20,000. CHED also offers a student loan program for tertiary education in the Philippines. Use the financial aid for books, tuition and other fees, or other educational expenses.

You may also turn to a private financial institution to fund the cost of education. Private lenders typically set higher limits on financial aid. Of course, ensure you can afford the monthly repayments or you may find yourself racking up debts left and right.

Final Thoughts

Education, particularly tuition fees in the Philippines, comes with a hefty price tag. However, it can help secure your child’s future—and it’s a legacy you’ll want to leave behind for your little one. Start as early as now and find a savings strategy that won’t jeopardize your finances.

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The Moneymax Editorial Team consists of talented and experienced writers, editors, investors, and subject matter experts on a mission to help Filipinos build healthier financial lives. Browse the Moneymax blog for information and advice on credit cards, loans, insurance, investments, and other personal finance topics. For more financial news and articles, follow Moneymax on LinkedIn.


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