School Budgeting Guide 2020/21

School Budgeting Guide 2020/21

This year, we have agonised over researching the figures, checking, re-checking and justifying our position on how we’re presenting these figures. It’s complicated!

Total Annual Cost


To achieve ‘Total Annual Cost’, we have added tuition fees + mandatory annual levy. For primary, we have taken the figures for Y6 or G5, regardless of where each specific school ends their primary/elementary school.

For ESF, we refer to the ‘centralised’ schools, excluding the private schools Discovery College and Renaissance College.

Schools may also have additional costs (i.e. registration fees) that are not included.


The variation in debentures offered by schools presents a huge challenge in comparing them, so we have not included any detail on debentures – we have simply indicated whether a mandatory debenture exists.

The number of schools not requiring a mandatory debenture may surprise some of you. All the following schools have NO requirement for a lump sum on entry in addition to the tuition fees (and capital levy):

American School Hong Kong
Australian International School
Canadian International School of Hong Kong
Chinese International School
Christian Alliance International School
Dalton School Hong Kong
Delia School of Canada
English Schools Foundation (ESF) *
Harrow International School Hong Kong
Hong Kong International School
Independent Schools Foundation Academy
Island Christian Academy
Japanese International Schools
Kiangsu Chekiang International School
Korean International School
Malvern College
Mount Kelly School
Shrewsbury International
Stamford American School Hong Kong
Victoria Shanghai Academy
Wycombe Abbey School

*ESF require a modest levy of HK$38,000

It may also be worth asking a school if a large debenture can be waived if unaffordable.

Extra Costs

Almost all schools charge for uniforms, bus and lunch on top. Textbooks, Local Field trips, Exam Fees and After school Activities may or may not extra. MacBooks/PCs  are always on top. Bus fees can cost at least an extra $40,000 per year!!

It is very worthwhile to investigate the extra costs of a small number of schools you are interested to apply to.


It is not well known that all international schools must set aside a percentage of revenue for bursaries and scholarships.  However, these are rarely for new candidates and can be held to meet unexpected financial hardship of existing enrolled families. When available to new entrants, these schemes can make a seemingly unaffordable school affordable.

All figures are based on available information as at 8 Oct 2019. Top Schools makes no representations as to the accuracy of this information. Costs of schooling should always be checked with your Top Schools consultant or the school directly.

October 3, 2019 / by / in , ,

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