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School Budgeting Guide 2023-24: A Comprehensive Look

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

Once more, we've delved deep into the numbers, meticulously researching, verifying, and ensuring we present these figures in the most transparent manner. Navigating school fees can be a maze, but we're here to guide you through it.

Total Annual Cost

To arrive at the 'Total Annual Cost', we've combined tuition fees with the mandatory annual levy. For primary education, we've used the fees for Year 6 or Grade 5, irrespective of where a particular school concludes its primary or elementary education. For secondary education, we've taken the fees from the highest grade level available.

All data is accurate as of 8 September 2023. While Top Schools strives for accuracy, we recommend verifying the schooling costs either with a Top Schools consultant or directly with the school.

Regarding ESF, our figures pertain to the 'centralised' schools and do not include private institutions like Discovery College and Renaissance College.

Do note, some schools might have additional costs, such as registration fees, which aren't included in our calculations.


Comparing debentures across schools can be quite the task due to the variations in offerings. Hence, we've simply highlighted whether a mandatory debenture is in place.

You might find it surprising, but several schools do NOT require a mandatory debenture. This means there's no need for a lump sum payment upon entry, in addition to the tuition fees and capital levy. Here's the updated list of such schools:

American School Hong Kong

Australian International School

Canadian International School of Hong Kong

Chinese 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

Shrewsbury International

Stamford American School Hong Kong

Victoria Shanghai Academy

Wycombe Abbey School

*Do note, ESF requires a modest capital levy of HK$38,000.

If affordability is a concern, it's worth inquiring with the school if a significant debenture can be waived.

Extra Costs

Most schools will charge additional fees for uniforms, bus services, and lunches. Costs for textbooks, local field trips, examination fees, and after-school activities might vary. Devices like MacBooks or PCs are typically not included in the tuition. And remember, bus fees can sometimes add an extra HK$40,000 or more annually!

It's prudent to delve into the extra costs of a handful of schools you're considering.


A lesser-known fact is that all international schools are mandated to allocate a percentage of their revenue for bursaries and scholarships. These funds, however, are typically reserved for existing students facing unforeseen financial hardships. On the rare occasion, they're available to new students, they can make a seemingly out-of-reach school suddenly become affordable.

For a detailed breakdown, please refer to our school budgeting guide below. If you'd like a larger, printable PDF version, fill out the form below, and we'll email it to you.

For the PDF, please complete the form at the following link:


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