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 SchoolCanadian International School of Hong KongChinese International SchoolChristian Alliance International SchoolDalton School Hong Kong Delia School of Canada English Schools Foundation (ESF) *Harrow International School Hong KongHKCA PLK SchoolHong Kong International SchoolIndependent Schools Foundation Academy Island Christian Academy Japanese International SchoolsKiangsu Chekiang International SchoolKorean International SchoolMalvern College Mount Kelly SchoolShrewsbury InternationalStamford American School Hong KongVictoria Shanghai AcademyWycombe 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.

#capitallevy #debenture #fees

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