The cost of providing instruction, administration and facilities for the education of a student at a state school is met by the State.
In this regard, a ‘student’ is:
- a person enrolled at a state school (but not a person who is also enrolled at a non-state school unless the person’s enrolment at the state school preceded the person’s enrolment at the non-state school)
- a person who is a pre-preparatory age child registered in a pre-preparatory learning program at a prescribed state school
and who is:
- an Australian citizen or permanent resident
- the child of an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
The ‘education of a student’ may be provided wherever instruction arranged by the school is given to the student, and is not limited to being provided within the grounds of the school or on school premises.
A principal of a state school is able to charge a fee for:
- an education program for a student already enrolled in a non-state school who also enrols in a state school
- an education program at the school for a person not enrolled at the school
- a component of a distance education program at the state school for a person who is not a state school student and is not enrolled in the program at the school
- goods or services not deemed to be instruction, administration and facilities for the education of the student at the school
- an educational service purchased by the school from a provider other than the school where the school has been charged by the provider for the provision of the educational service
- a specialised educational program prescribed under the Education (General Provisions) Regulation 2006 (Qld) where the fee is prescribed under a regulation
a program of distance education for a student at a state school
- recouping costs of enrolment processing by a State school with an approved enrolment management plan of a prospective student who lives outside the school's catchment area, where:
- the enrolment management plan permits the enrolment of a student living outside the catchment area based on cultural, sporting or academic merit, and
- the significant number of prospective students living outside the catchment area and applying to enrol results in abnormal administrative costs to the school, for example, enrolment examination supervision and marking.
Delegated officers within DETi may charge a fee for the education of:
- an overseas student enrolled at the school
- a person enrolled at the school who is not an Australian citizen or permanent resident
- a person enrolled at the school who is not the child of an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
The State Education Fee Matrix reflects the goods and services commonly provided to students and is included in school fees. The list is intended to be informative, rather than definitive, and is provided as a guide only. The purpose of the matrix is to inform the legislative authority and appropriate charging scheme for a fee for the provision of the good or service. The matrix is not intended to encourage the introduction of a new fee in a school.
A state school may ask the parent of a student of the school to make a voluntary financial contribution to supplement government funding of instruction, administration and facilities for the education of the student at the school. A voluntary financial contribution is not a fee and cannot be presented as such to parents.
A fee must be applied to fund the purpose for which it is charged, and must not be applied to any other purpose, except for a fee associated with a commercial activity. All school fees must be set at a rate to recover no more than the full cost of providing the good or service for which the fee is charged. Fees for commercial activities are determined on at least a full cost recovery basis.
The methodology for calculating fees must be open and transparent.
The principal is required to consult with the Parents and Citizens' Association (P&C) to decide on the:
- conducting of any activity which attracts a fee
- decision-making parameters for the waiving or reducing or refunding of a fee.
except in relation to:
- a distance education enrolment fee
- a tuition fee for a person enrolled via DETi who is not an Australian citizen or permanent resident or not the child of an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and
- a fee for a specialised educational program.
Any person or matter may be exempt from payment of a fee or have payment of the fee reduced or waived. A person may have a fee refunded.
Principals have discretion over whether or not to refund an enrolment fee if a student fails to gain enrolment.
A principal may waive or reduce or refund a fee, and may exempt a student from payment of fees, except for
- a distance education enrolment fee, or
- a tuition fee for a person enrolled via DETi who is not an Australian citizen or permanent resident or not the child of an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
In waiving a fee, entirely or in part, the principal should consider whether:
- a student at risk of disengaging from learning (for example, independent students) or a student of parents experiencing financial hardship would be disadvantaged through the charging of the school fee
- for a specialised educational program:
- payment of a fee would cause financial hardship to the person liable to pay the fee, and
- the person wishing to undertake the program would suffer a significant educational disadvantage if unable to undertake the program.
Parents experiencing financial hardship should be encouraged to contact the principal or designated officer to discuss payment or resourcing options that may be available to accommodate their circumstances, including the waiving of a fee, entirely or in part, by the principal. Onus of proof of being so affected is on the parent, and might include a current Health Care Card or other evidence to establish financial hardship.
In considering information from a parent to substantiate financial hardship, the school will comply with the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) and the Information Privacy Principles contained in Schedule 3 of that Act. The extent of information requested and the way it is sought should be fair and not unreasonably intrude into the personal affairs of the parent. The principal should document the reason for making a decision to waive a fee, entirely or in part, but is not required to retain copies of the information from a parent.
The charging of a fee should not restrict the educational services of a school or educationally disadvantage a student. For example, a student identification card should not be withheld because a fee has not been paid, as this may disadvantage a student by restricting access to learning opportunities (for example subsidised transport and administration of the school resource centre depending on school administration practices).
Where a fee is for a good or service not deemed to be for the instruction, administration or facilities for the education of the student at the school, internal debt recovery and write-off processes are to be undertaken by the school for unpaid balances as provided by the School Accounting Manual (DET employees only).
Where warranted, debt recovery may be undertaken by an external collection agency in accordance with debt management policy.
Action to collect a school fee that is enforceable and has not been paid, or to restrict a student’s involvement in school education for non-payment of an enforceable fee, should not be implemented by a school as a behaviour management tool.