English School Foundation (ESF) fees in Hong Kong could rise by as much as 25% next year under a proposed new fee structure announced this week.
Founded in 1967, the ESF is the largest international educational foundation in Asia, running 22 international schools for about 17,700 students from more than 60 nationalities.
The proposed increases could impact fees across all year groups, with Year 12 and 13 students having to pay HK$135,000 in the next academic year alone.
The largest group of international schools catering to English-speaking students has proposed fee increases of up to 24.7% as the loss of its government grants impact the Primary Three level.
This means that the ESF could charge parents of Year Three pupils HK$111,200 for the school year starting in August, compared with HK$89,200 this year.
In a letter to parents, ESF CEO, Belinda Greer, explained that HK$17,300 of the planned increase was due to the loss of government grants, which started being phased out in 2016.
“The government subvention will continue for all students in Years Four to 13 in 2018-19. A new fee structure applies to students who joined ESF Year One in August 2016 and August 2017, and to students joining ESF Year One in August 2018,” Greer said.
“I want to assure you that 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.”
Greer added that the average increase was at the minimum level needed to meet rising costs while maintaining the quality of education.
For Years One and Two of its primary schools, including the Jockey Club Sarah Roe school, the foundation plans to raise fees from HK$106,500 to HK$111,200. For Years Four to Six, the proposed increase is from HK$89,200 to HK$93,900.
For Years Seven to 11 of its secondary schools, including the Jockey Club Sarah Roe school, the foundation plans to raise fees from HK$122,900 to HK$128,400. For Years 12 and 13, the proposed increase is from HK$129,100 to HK$135,000.
The original version of this article was published in the South China Morning Post.