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How Are Nigerian Parents Financing Their Children’s School Fees?

September is around the corner. If you’re not a parent, this probably doesn’t mean anything to you. For parents, however, September signifies a dreadful period for settling heavy expenses like school fees. 

We asked Nigerian parents about how they finance their children’s education, and they told us the good, the bad and the ugly. 

“Piggyvest’s Safelock helps me pay my children’s school fees on time” — Kelechi

I’m a single mother and trader with three children in private school, so paying school fees can get exhausting. Although there are months when I make millions, I also experience long dry spells. For this reason, I always try to save at least two months before each academic session. 

Initially, this wasn’t easy because I always spent my savings and defaulted on payments. Thankfully, I discovered PiggyVest’s Safelock in 2018, and it’s been a lifesaver. With it, I’m able to meet my target quickly. For instance, I have already paid the upcoming term’s fees.  

“Without my family members and friends, my children would probably not be in school” — Seyi 

I earn ₦100k monthly, while my wife earns ₦70k. We have four children (three are in secondary school, and one is in primary school). Paying their school fees is often a hellish experience because we have other responsibilities like rent, food, and transportation. 

Even more, schools are constantly increasing their fees. I understand that the economy is hard, but I can’t keep up anymore. Thank God for good family members and friends who provide financial assistance. If not, my children would probably not be in school right now.  

“I go as far as using loan apps to pay my children’s school fees” — Busayo 

Although I have a husband, I have had to shoulder the responsibility of paying my kids’ school fees alone because he’s neck-deep in debt. I’m constantly racking my brain on how to pay the fees. 

My salary isn’t enough to pay two kids’ school fees conveniently, forcing me to go as far as borrowing money from loan apps. September is here again, my eldest kid is resuming at a private university, and I can’t help but think, “God abeg!” 

“The best I can do is pay my children’s school fees in instalments. I can’t kill myself” — John

I always feel bad whenever my kids get sent out for late school fees payment. Things have become so bad their school is no longer surprised whenever we default on payment. This is depressing because I hate the embarrassment. 

Sadly, there’s almost nothing I can do. My wife is a petty trader, earning next to nothing, and my salary is simply not enough. I’ve also borrowed so much money that nobody is willing to lend me any more. I’m already exhausted ahead of the upcoming academic session. The best I can do is pay in instalments. I can’t kill myself. 

“My wife and I are contemplating withdrawing our children from their current school” — Rahman 

I have always paid my kids’ school fees months before resumption. This was because both my wife and I were earning well. Unfortunately, this upcoming school year might be different. My wife recently became a victim of the massive layoffs happening in the tech industry, and I also had to take a pay cut at work. 

My salary isn’t enough to cover our living expenses, let alone school fees. So this might be the first time we might pay school fees late. We’re even contemplating withdrawing our children from their current school and sending them to a more affordable school in the meantime. 

Do you find these stories relatable? Here are some tips that could help.

  1. Get your priorities right. Since you owe your kids a quality education, try your best to prioritise early payment of your children’s school fees. For instance, if going on summer vacation will eat deep into your income and hinder you from paying your kids’ school fees, you should postpone it. Settle the fees first. 
  2. Open a dedicated account and save ahead. Opening a savings account specifically for your children’s education protects you from school fees problems. For best results, ensure you save in this account monthly and use an automated platform like PiggyVest. 
  3. Consider investment. Beyond saving, you can explore investment options (like Investify) with attractive returns. 
  4. Explore alternative income sources. As seen in the case of Sola, your income might never be enough, no matter how hard you try. In such instances, try other income sources. If you’re a 9-5 worker, you can start a side hustle or learn a high-income skill
  5. Try fundraising. Sometimes, you might need to pay your kids’ school fees urgently. In these special cases, the above tips might not cut it because they take time to yield results. In cases like that, it might make sense to seek financial assistance from your friends and family. 
  6. Ask for a payment plan. You can explain your financial situation to your kids’ school and request to pay in bits. More often than not, schools are willing to grant you this option. 

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