School Budgeting Guide 2020/21

Updated: Apr 21

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

Thankfully, very few schools increased their fees this year due to extended closures in 19/20 - firstly, protests and later Coronavirus.

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. Secondary fees have been taken from maximum grade level available.

All figures are based on available information as at 20 Aug 2020; 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.

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

  • HKCA PLK School

  • 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 an extra $40,000/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.

Take a look at the charts here. For a large (A3), printable PDF, please request via the form below.

For the PDF, please complete this form (you will be redirected):

#capitallevy #debenture #fees

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