ESF - English Schools Foundation

Parents hit with extra charge by college

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 April, 2011, 12:00am

The loss-making Renaissance College has become the latest international school to raise fees, putting up its charges for primary and secondary students by 5 per cent.

The private school, under the English Schools Foundation (ESF) umbrella, will also impose a one-off, non-refundable levy of HK$23,500 for all Primary One students starting in the 2012-13 academic year.

Parents reacted angrily to the increase and the levy, saying they had lost count of how many times they had been asked for more money.

At least four other international schools will also raise their tuition fees for the new academic year in September, with increases ranging from 4 to 8 per cent.

Fees at other ESF schools will rise by up to 3.3 per cent.

Parents of Renaissance College in Ma On Shan received an e-mail from the school on Monday informing them of the new tuition fees and the imposition of the one-off payment which was called a 'Contribution to the Building Fund'.

ESF communications manager Suzanna Chiu said the levy would help pay for maintenance for facilities and infrastructure, which cost between HK$3 million to HK$4 million a year.

'The capital levy will generate HK$3.8 million per year for the school,' she said. 'It will also help pay for the loans owed to ESF for the construction of the school.'

Chiu said the waiting lists for Renaissance College and other ESF schools continued to grow despite the increases.

The foundation paid HK$110 million towards the building of the school, which opened in 2006.

The college is required to repay the ESF within 20 years of its opening for the construction cost and subsequent annual capital replenishment.

An annual repayment of HK$10.3 million has to be made.

In the e-mail to parents, chairman of the board of ESF Educational Services, Heather Du Quesnay, said the school would have a deficit of HK$3.2 million by the end of the next academic year. 'It is the result of an increased number of students and teachers in the Diploma Programme with specialised courses of study.

'The school has not reached its full capacity planned for 2014. Currently, we have only 1,859 students out of the full capacity of 2,100.'

The annual tuition fees for primary students will rise by HK$3,600 to HK$76,100 for 2011-12. Fees for secondary students in years seven to 11 will rise by HK$4,800 to HK$101,800.

Fees for secondary students in years 12 and 13 will rise by HK$4,900 to HK$102,900.

Du Quesnay said the increases were needed to cover pay increases of 3 per cent for teaching and support workers. 'Staff costs are over 70 per cent of our total expenditure,' she said. But parents reacted angrily.

Darren Jopling, whose daughter is in Primary One, said he had lost count of the number of times he was asked for extra money.

'They never tell me where the money goes,' he said.

'It's not fair for parents with children starting Primary One in 2012-13 to pay the levy, as it will increase their financial burden.'

Another parent, who has a son in Primary Two, said: 'Tuition fees were increased by several hundred dollars last year.

'My [other] son will go to Primary One in September, but I won't enrol him in the college as it has too many charges.'