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7 components of school fees: Look beyond the tution fees


We all want best for our kids in every thing and we are not ready to make any compromise especially when it related to the field of education. However, the cost of education has gone up with increasing demand, improving quality of schools and high inflation. It is important to understand what makes up the school fee to allow us to plan our spend. 


Often we base our estimates of School Fee on just the tution fees. However, you would be surprised to know that tution fee is only 30-50% of the school fee. 50-70% of the spend comes under other heads that we often fail to notice. Here we will try to shed light on what these major heads are and how do they stack up. 


1.Tution fee: This is the first thing that comes to mind and is often synonymous with the School fee itself. This is the basic fee that schools levy for tutoring your child. It increases as the student moves to senior classes. This is levied monthly or once every three months. Tution fee is 30-50% of the total school fees. Though the single biggest component of your school spend, it is still less than half the total spend that you will incurr annually



2.Books, Stationary and Uniform: Most schools ask their students to purchase books, stationary and uniform from the school specified stores. There is not much room to negotiate here and you will have to pay out the specified amount. It should not come as a surprise to know that this is 15-20% of your annual school spend


3.Commute costs: This is a necessary spend that has to be incurred every month. With rising fuel prices, the cost of commute hasd gone up significantly weather its by School Bus, Auto or your private vehicle. Based on our survey, we found out that commute cost is often the third largest contributor to the education expenses of your child and can add 12-18% to the total school fee


3.Infrastructure fund: Many schools which are in the first 20 years of their establishment have to setup new infrastrucutre e.g. new school building, sports facilities, science labs, auditorium, additional land etc. Schools pass on this cost to parents as an infrastructure fee to cover for their spends incurred in building these new facilities. In almost 80% of the schools we reviewed that this is levied at the start of the academic year and makes up 7-12% of the total fees. 


5.Admission/Readmission fee: As a fifth largest head of the school fee, admission and readmission fee was found to consist of 7-10% of the total spend. This is leveied at the start of academic year. All the schools reviewed levied this fee when the student is new to the school or when the student enters class 11. But we found ~65% of the schools levied this every year. This can vary significantly and adds 7-10% to the annual fees


6.Lab fees: This head often includes fees for facilities such as Sciece lab, computer lab, language lab liberary etc. This is levied over and above the tution fees and can consitutie 5-15% of the total fee. Majority of the schools we reviewed levy this on a monthly basis and it increases as the student moves to a senior class


7.Activity fees: As the name suggests, this head includes fees to cover activities organized by the school to support overall development of the child beyond class room tution. Example of fees included here are sports day, school trips, science day, annual days etc. 75% of the schools we reviewed levied this at the start of the academic year and this made up 5% of the annual fee


In addition there could be other one off levies e.g. evening coaching, meals, extra curricular classes, exam fee and educational trips. These are not very common but must be considered on a case specific basis when you go on school hunting for your little ones. 



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