Almost all international schools charge a non-refundable application fee that must be paid when applying for a school place; this covers the administrative costs involved in processing the application and assessments (if required). Some schools, such as the French International School and the German Swiss International School, charge an assessment fee ranging from HKD 500 up to more than HKD 4,000 respectively.
The English Schools Foundation, which is Hong Kong’s largest provider of international education and has 17 primary and secondary schools, says: “When applying to our schools, parents are required to pay a non-refundable application fee. This fee covers the cost of admissions administration, including personnel and system costs, as well as commissions to our online service provider.”
And a spokesperson for The Harbour School says: “Our parents must pay a non-refundable application fee of HKD 2,500. This fee covers a full review of their application by the admission team and a trial day with assessment if required.”
Once a place is offered, parents are often required to pay an additional registration fee and/or tuition fees deposit to secure their child’s place. This costs HKD 10,000 at ESF primary schools (including Peak School, Bradbury School, Kennedy School, Glenealy School, Beacon Hill School, Clearwater Bay School, Kowloon Junior School, Sha Tin Junior School, and Quarry Bay School) and up to HKD 16,000 at ESF secondary schools (Island School, Sha Tin College, West Island School, South Island School and King George V School).
At other international schools, this can range from HKD 10,000 at Australian International School Hong Kong to HKD 25,000 at the French International School. This fee is typically deducted from your first term’s fees, but is non-refundable if you change your mind or your circumstances change and you no longer need the school place.
A spokesperson for Kellett School says: “The registration fee equates to 10% of the annual school fees and is deducted from the first term’s invoice.”
It’s not surprising that Hong Kong’s most affordable schools have the lowest admission fees. At HKCA Po Leung Kuk School, there’s a lower admission fee of HKD 800 and a deposit of one month’s tuition fees which is HKD 10,200; Norwegian International School has an application fee of HKD 900; Hong Kong Adventist Academy has an admission fee of just HKD 300; and the new Invictus International School, opening in November 2019, has a one-time registration fee on entrance of HKD 15, 000.
As highlighted in the table below, there is no standard fee structure for international schools in Hong Kong – and some schools will require you to pay a capital levy or debenture instead of or in addition to the deposit. So, always take the time to check what the school charges.