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  • Policy 2.27 

    School Fees

    Rationale

    The Catholic Church's preferential option for the poor obligates Catholic schools to ensure that no baptised student is denied a Catholic education because of an inability to pay.

    In recognition of the differential capacity of families to contribute to the costs of education, both the Australian and State governments incorporate a needs-based element into their recurrent funding of the Catholic school system. The Australian Government uses the Socio Economic Status (SES) index, which is intended to account for the financial position of families, while the State Government includes the SES and each school's Health Care Card (HCC) enrolment level in its formula. Both formulas are designed to fund the system according to need.

    The Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd (CECV) policy formula for allocating funding to Catholic schools also accounts for need in that, all other factors being equal, lower SES schools receive more funding than higher SES schools. In addition, schools are provided with additional financial assistance for each HCC student which enables them to offer fee remissions.

    Catholic Education Melbourne's policy on school fees recognises the significant contribution that individual schools make to the costs of education through the generation of private income that includes the payment of fees by families. In recognising the role of schools in this area, and in supporting the principle of accessibility of Catholic schools through its needs-based funding formula, Catholic Education Melbourne encourages school communities to establish fee setting and fee collection practices that are consistent with access and equity priorities.

    Definitions

    • School fees are what the school charges families for the education of their children.
    • Private income is that portion of a school's income which is not derived from government recurrent and targeted grants.
    • Socioeconomic status (SES) is a measure of an individual or group's standing in the community and is based on variables including income, occupation, educational attainment and wealth.
    • The Health Care Card (HCC) is an allowance provided by the State government to assist low-income families to meet the educational needs of their children. The proportion of HCC recipient pupils enrolled at a school is therefore a measure of the schools 'need' or disadvantage.
    • School levy is a specific purpose school charge that is in addition to the school fees.

    Principles

    Responsibility Each Catholic school is responsible for setting its own fees.

    Accessibility Catholic schools should be accessible to all Catholic families irrespective of capacity to pay.

    Needs-based As Governments and the CECV Ltd allocate funds on the basis of need, and given the principle of accessibility, Catholic schools must take into account the ability of parents to pay when setting and collecting fees.

    Procedures

    1. Policy Development

    School communities are required to develop their own school fee policies within the framework of this Catholic Education Melbourne policy.

    2. Fee Setting

    Catholic schools are obliged to set fees according to criteria that represent a thorough and transparent assessment of the internal and external factors influencing costs and the ability of the clientele to pay. Refer to Appendix 1: Procedures for the Setting of Fees and Granting of Fee Remissions.

    3. Determining and Granting Fee Remissions / Concessions

    Catholic schools are expected to provide fee remissions/concessions to families in need. Refer to Guidelines for specific advice. Refer to Procedures for the Setting of Fees and Granting of Fee Remissions.

    4. Fee Collection
    Catholic schools are required to develop strategies for fee collection that are consistent with the CECV policy framework. For specific advice, refer to Procedures for Fee Payment and Collection of Unpaid Fees.

    5. Communication with the school community

    Catholic schools should employ a number of strategies for communicating with the broader community, including Catholic parents of students enrolled in government and other non government schools and kindergartens. Schools should ensure that:

    • Their fee policies are reviewed and updated on a regular basis
    • Fee policies and related documentation are accessible in a variety of ways and from a wide range of sources including the school website
    • The school's communication/strategy plan makes provision for the development and review of strategies for the dissemination of information about its fee policies.

    Refer also Catholic Education Melbourne Procedures as per Catholic Education Melbourne Policy 2.27  

    Procedures for the Setting of Fees and Granting of Fee Remissions
    Procedures for Fee Payment and Collection of Unpaid Fees 

    Catholic Education Melbourne August 2015