You’ve found the perfect international school for your child, where they can learn their new language and integrate in their new culture without losing their roots. But the fees are out of your budget… Fear not! Many of the international schools in Belgium offer scholarships.
Belgium has some fine international schools, but the tuition fees at these privately-run institutions can be expensive. However, some schools do offer scholarships and funded placements for a select number of pupils who meet certain criteria.
ISF International School
ISF International School has served expatriate families and their young children in the Tervuren and Waterloo areas for over 40 years. An excellent school which provides an outstanding quality of education and care, they deliver internationally accredited programs which fulfill the requirements of the UK National Curriculum, in an exciting environment with small class sizes and creative teaching. They also have an on-site creche & daycare facility accepting babies from six weeks old, which is accredited by the Belgian Child and Family agency.
Costs of international schools in Belgium
International schools in Belgium are renowned for their high academic quality, but it comes at a price. Tuition fees in Belgium are among the most expensive in Europe. Fees typically rise on a sliding scale from Kindergarten/Early Years Primary School to Year 12 Secondary School. Current annual fees at a selection of top English-speaking schools in Belgium are:
Antwerp International School – €23,320 to €27,730
British Junior Academy of Brussels – €19,088 to €20,575
British English Primary School (BEPS) – €21,230 to €23,370
British International School of Brussels – €19,200 to €20,400
British School of Brussels – €27,750 to €35,250
International School of Brussels – €31,090 to €37,280
ISF Tervuren – €17,255 to €18,200
ISF Waterloo – €15,000 to €18,000
Scandinavian School of Brussels – €16,500 to €21,500
St John’s – €28,370 to €34,535
In addition to tuition fees, most schools will also charge separately for things such as transportation, lunches, trips and exams, as well as an initial registration fee.
Scholarships and bursaries for international schools in Belgium
“Unfortunately, international schools in Belgium are not subsidised or funded by the Belgian government” explains Kaisa Sorjonen, director of administration at ISF. “The only available funding for students is through scholarships and financial assistance programs available within individual schools.”
Scholarships in Belgium are limited and not all international schools have them. Financial support is currently available for students at the following schools:
Both the schools at Waterloo and Tervuren offer financial support to students. ISF Waterloo offers scholarships for specially gifted students spread across four entry levels: 3-year scholarships to complete primary or secondary school education, plus 2-year and 4-year scholarships for pre-university education (including Cambridge exam fees). Each scholarship is worth up to 100% of annual fees.
“ISF is committed to providing a wide range of learning opportunities across all areas of the curriculum, nurturing individual students’ potential” explains Kaisa. “Alongside the Academic Scholarship programme, we also run a Financial Assistance programme for a limited number of places. This is designed to help families whose children find it difficult to attend the local schooling systems in Dutch or French due to language barriers but cannot fully afford the fee levels of international schools.”
Antwerp International School
The school offers 50 places through the AIS Seeks Talent scholarship program, available to gifted students aged 5-17 who are struggling to commit to the full tuition fees. The scholarship offers fee reductions between 20-60%.
International School of Brussels
The International School of Brussels offers assisted places with up to 50% off annual tuition fees for those in higher grades experiencing financial hardship who need to attend an English-speaking school in Belgium. The school has a set annual budget and each bursary is reviewed annually.
Scandinavian School of Brussels
The Scandinavian School of Brussels offers subsidised places with a flat rate discount of €4,500 off annual fees for those who meet the eligibility criteria.
Bogaerts International School
Scholarships are offered to gifted students if the family is unable to pay the full fee amount and is eligible for an award. Families are required to give volunteer hours to support school activities in exchange for the scholarship.
Pupils with French nationality can apply for a grant at the French Consulate in Brussels. Annual deadlines are in February and September.
The catholic primary school offers means-tested bursaries for those unable to pay full fees; these are available through the ARDEA Foundation.
Ecole International Montgomery
The school offers reduced fees at both primary and secondary school level to those unable to pay full fees.
International Deutsche School of Brussels
German-speaking new students from grades 5 to 10 can apply for a full one-year scholarship if they can demonstrate good academic performance, motivation and commitment.
How to apply for a scholarship at an international school in Belgium
The exact process for applying for financial support at international schools in Belgium will vary from school to school and will depend on the type of support being applied for. Applications can include:
- an application form submitted along with supporting documents as required
- proof of income or financial situation
- details of academic achievements
- personal statement from the student
- interview or exam
“Our scholarships are awarded on the basis of scholarship application (including personal statement), previous school reports, the ISF scholarship exams and an interview with the ISF panel” says Kaisa. “The assessment process tests not only the candidates’ academic abilities but also their suitability to ISF’s multicultural learning environment. Applicants must provide evidence of excellent levels of academic achievement or, in the case of Primary School applicants, show academic promise from previous school reports.”