Tuition fees have increased at 64 international schools across Hong Kong for the 2019-20 academic year. As reported in the South China Morning Post [external link] the Education Bureau (EDB) received applications for fee adjustments from 48 Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS), 68 private, and 66 international schools, including the 15 English Schools Foundation (ESF) schools. Currently, there are around 80 international schools in Hong Kong. The EDB rejected applications from just three schools – one DSS and two international.
All international, Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS) and private schools must apply to the EDB for the approval of any adjustment to tuition fees. Four DSS schools were given approval to raise tuition fees by more than 10%, with one approved increase of 19.2%.
Last year, for the first time in four years, the EDB rejected bids by three private and three international schools to raise their tuition fees; it also capped all increases at 20%.
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The EDB approved an increase in annual tuition fees at English Schools Foundation (ESF) of an average of 4.5%. 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.
Tuition fees in Years 1-3 at ESF’s primary schools have risen from HKD 111,200 to HKD 115,800 per year; Year 4 fees increases by HKD 21,900 from HKD 93,900 to HKD 115,800; and Years 5 to 6 went up from HKD 93,900 to 98,500. This affects families at Kowloon Junior, Beacon Hill, Sha Tin Junior, Bradbury, Peak School, Glenealy School, Clearwater Bay, Quarry Bay and Kennedy schools.
At secondary schools including Sha Tin College, South Island School, King George V, West Island School, and Island School, the fees for Years 7 to 11 increased from HKD 128,400 to HKD 133,800; families of students studying the IBDP in Years 12 and 13 pay an extra HKD 5,700 as fees rise to HKD 140,700.
Fees for the SEN 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, pay an increase of around 5% and 5.8% respectively, Fees for 2019-20 range from HKD 124,000-167,900 at RCHK and HKD 129,700-175,400 at Discovery College.
At other international schools, the approved increases vary. For example, fees for Year 1 have risen by 3.9% from HKD 186,700 to HKD 194,000 at Hong Kong Academy; by 6.% from HKD 205,500 to HKD 217,900 at Chinese International School; and by 4.9% from HKD 164,400 to HKD 172,600 at Kellett School.
The cost of an education at any of Hong Kong’s international schools cannot be judged by its tuition fees alone, though. Most schools charge an annual non-refundable capital levy per student. These can range from an annual levy of HKD 7,530 at Discovery College to as much as HKD 60,000 at Harrow International School. Other schools charge a compulsory debenture, ranging from HKD 90,000 at French International School to HKD 450,000 at The Harbour School. And this is all before counting the cost of other fees covering technology, field trips, lunch, uniform etc.
Read more about the true cost of an education at international schools in Hong Kong here.