Hong Kong parents are the most likely in the Asia-Pacific region to want their children to go to a foreign university, but they may not have done their homework about the extra expense of getting a degree abroad. Across the region, a survey found an average of 63 per cent of parents hoped their children would go to a local university, but the percentage in Hong Kong was just 45 per cent. At the same time, the percentage of income Hongkongers put aside for their children's college education ranked halfway down the regional list, which included Australia, India, Japan and mainland China. They are saving an average of only 15 per cent of their monthly household income for their children's education, the same as mainland parents. About 24 per cent of Hong Kong parents wanted their children to study in the United States and 21 per cent in Europe, while others had different regions in mind. That is despite Hong Kong universities ranking among the best in the world. The figures came in a MasterCard survey of 6,904 parents, including 409 Hongkongers, who were interviewed between April and June. "Local families choose to send their children abroad for tertiary education, perhaps due to the reputation associated with international universities and the added experience time abroad brings, which can enhance employment prospects," said Ling Hai, division president of Greater China, MasterCard Worldwide. The survey also showed that Hong Kong parents heavily prioritise extra-curricular activities - 88 per cent have arranged enrichment classes for their children, ranking second behind Thailand. Meanwhile, in a survey by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, 35 per cent of students scored high levels on a stress index when it came to their feelings about starting school next week. The main concern of 65 per cent of them was that the curriculum would be too hard to handle. Of the 1,497 primary and secondary pupils interviewed earlier this month, 22 per cent said they were excited about starting school and 23 per cent said they were nervous. About 45 per cent said they felt calm. A Baptist University survey found that 80 per cent of secondary school pupils would welcome the use of English and Chinese in classes.