School costs crippling more parents

More parents are dipping into their savings and cutting back on clothes and leisure activities to keep their kids in school, according to an annual survey released Tuesday by the National Life Finance Corp.

A child who attends a four-year university spends 9.9 million yen on average in the seven years between high school and college, the survey indicates.

This represents an increase of 5.4 percent from the findings of the previous year’s survey.

Some 3,939 families that applied for government school loans participated in the survey.

While average household income slid for a fourth straight year, education costs remained immune to deflation.

The cost of a year in high school inched up 0.5 percent to 863,000 yen, while the price for a year at a four-year college jumped 8.6 percent to 1.4 million yen. Both figures include cram-school and tutoring fees.

More than 53 percent of households said they were using their savings or insurance payouts to meet education costs.

Spending on clothes, travel and food were the first casualties, although a record 40.7 percent of parents said they were also cutting back on the money they spend on themselves, up from 31.1 percent in the previous survey.

Average household income logged a year-on-year decrease of 0.4 percent to 7.1 million yen in 2001. Households with an annual income of between 2 million yen and 4 million yen used an average 54.1 percent of their income to cover school costs.