Annual tuition fees at English Schools Foundation (ESF) schools will rise by an average of 4.8% for the 2018-19 academic year – but Year 3 will be the hardest hit with an increase of up to 25%.
Year 3 fees at primary schools including Kowloon Junior, Beacon Hill and Sha Tin Junior schools could increase by HKD 22,000 from HKD 89,200 to HKD 111,200. The proposed fees are pending approval by the government’s Education Bureau.
ESF’s CEO Belinda Greer explained in a letter to parents that this increase is due to the loss of its annual HKD 283 million subsidy from the government, which started being phased out two years ago and will last for a period of 13 years.
“The government subvention will continue for all students in Years 4 to 13 in 2018-19,” she said.
“A new fee structure applies to students who joined ESF Year 1 in August 2016 and August 2017, and to students joining ESF Year 1 in August 2018.”
While this is a hefty increase from the 2017-18 fees for Year 3, it’s important to note parents with children currently in Year 2 will only be paying an extra HKD 4,700 per year when their child moves up to Year 3. Year 2 parents currently pay HKD 106,500, higher than other year groups as Years 1-2 were the first to lose their government subsidy last year.
The ESF runs five kindergartens, nine primary schools, five secondary schools, two Private Independent Schools and a school for children with SEN. All ESF schools have the same fee structure, and they have always had a reputation for being considerably cheaper than most international schools in Hong Kong.
Fees at ESF's kindergartens vary slightly, and the increase ranges from 5.1% to 6.9%. Tuition fees in Years 1 and 2 at ESF’s primary schools will rise from HKD 106,500 to HKD 111,200 per year, and Years 4 to 6 will go up from HKD 89,200 to 93,900.
At secondary schools such as King George V and Island School, the fees for Years 7 to 11 will increase from HKD 122,900 to HKD 128,400; families of students studying the IBDP in Years 12 and 13 will pay an extra HKD 5,900 as fees rise to HKD 135,000.
Fees for the special school, Jockey Club Sarah Roe School, face the same increase as primary and secondary schools.
Parents at Renaissance College (RCHK) and Discovery College, both Private Independent Schools run by the ESF, also face an increase of around 6% in fees; these now range from HKD 118,100-159,900 at RCHK and HKD 122,600-165,800 at Discovery College.
Greer told parents:
“Our financial planning takes careful account of the need for financial prudence, as well as the impact that any fee increase has on our parents.
“The average fee increase of 4.8% is at the minimum level necessary to meet our rising costs whilst maintaining the quality of education.”