HELP! I Can’t Pay My School Fees! What Does the Law Say?

School fees are in important consideration for both parents and schools.  Schools rely on fees to fulfill their budget requirements (AKA pay teachers etc).  Parents are not all equally able to meet the school fees set.  What can schools do about non-payment? What can parents do if they are really not able to afford to pay?

School Fees and the Law
  1. Government schools are allowed to determine and charge fees. Usually these fees are determined by the School Governing Body.  A proposed budget becomes available to all parents.  A public meeting is held to vote on approving the budget. Included in the budget are proposed fees for the upcoming year.  So when you see a note saying “School Budget Meeting”, don’t think “boring” and “irrelevant”.  Think – “wow, this is where I get to have a say in how much the school fees should be!”
  2. Schools may not charge an administration fee or application fee when parents apply at the school.
  3. Schools may not demand additional payments above set school fees for activities which are part of the school program.  These additional costs should be clearly incorporated into the school fees and documented in the school budget.
Fee Exemption
  1. Parents must pay the fees determined by the school unless they have been exempted from payment. To be exempted, parents apply with the school bursar at the start of the school year.  They must provide evidence of their inability to pay.  This application is considered by the School Governing Body.  All parents have the right to apply for fee exemption, regardless of nationality or family set-up.  For more information read this link.
  2. Orphans and foster children automatically qualify for a 100% exemption.  The foster family income is not taken into consideration.  A 100% fee exemption is a right for families in receipt of a social grant.
  1. Schools may legally enforce the payment of fees by parents who have not been exempted.  They may not coerce or threaten or withhold school reports or awards.  They may not stop a learner participating in any school activity.  This includes academic and extra-mural activities.
  2. Fee payment can be enforced by debt collectors.  Schools can and have taken parents to court for non-payment of fees.
  3. If a parent is in arrears by one month or more, the school governing body must investigate whether the parent qualifies for exemption BEFORE handing over to debt collectors.
Communication

The best solution to fee problems between schools and parents is open, honest and timely communication.  Schools are obliged to make parents aware of the fee exemption process.  Parents should apply early in the year to assist schools with their budgeting.  Some schools set cut off dates for applications.  Parents who do not apply for fee exemption and do not pay fees are legally liable for those fees.  Non-payment also create enormous budgeting problems in the school.  The proper line of communication is from parents, to the bursar and then to the School Governing Body.  Class teachers and children should not be involved at all, their primary business is teaching and learning.

Do you want to know more?  You can read the South African Schools Act here.

Private Schools

Unfortunately if you are at a private school then the school fees problem is very different.  At a private school you have a private contractual agreement with the school obliging you to pay fees.  Government policy does not protect you, even if you are low income or have a sudden change of financial circumstances.  If you do not pay your fees at a private school your child can be excluded from the school.  You can also be pursued by debt recovery agencies or taken to court if you refuse to pay.  If you would like to consider moving to a low-cost high performance government school  SAILI has a list of recommended Cape Town schools here.

Bursaries or Scholarships are offered by some private schools however there are currently no public bursary or scholarship schemes in South Africa for primary school education.

86 replies
  1. Louise vermeulen
    Louise vermeulen says:

    Good day I am a mother of 2 boys I stay in kzn I receive sassa grant for my one boy and a disability grand for my oldest son I take care of him so my husband is the only provider here by the school I have to pay R700 deposit to apply for my son and then R800-R1000 for stationery that he has to get school fees are 600r pm I do apply for exsemsion but they just discounts the fees that is still difficult for me to pay . I offered to pay 300pm they now want to hand me over for the money still owed from last year .I dont know what to do this is very unfair

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, When you enroll at a school you agree to pay fees. If you were not exempted last year then you do still legally owe those fees. If you are unhappy with the decision for THIS year you can appeal to your school governing body. Ask the bursar to explain the appeals process to you.

      Reply
    • nomvuyo matshotyane
      nomvuyo matshotyane says:

      Hi my name is Nomi I was working in a cafe in houtbay my daughter was in a public school where I could afford to pay then she failed grade 10 2016 my boss dicided to take her to a private school I told her I could never afford to pay her fees she told me not to worry I won’t get any increase until she finish her school she can afford to pay ; she was 14yrs then ; she ask her to work over school holidays and weekends for pocket money she did sometimes she was axhausted she wanted some rest but everytime she doesn’t come to work I’m reminded about the fees the I would force her to come; I felt voiceless and hopeless because every time I complain about overtime or something I’ll be emotional blackmailed about the fees last December I lost it and resigned because I was not happy about the way they treat me ; then my daughter ask them what about her education they said she must ask me they are not paying her fees; I left there with nothing and I worked for 4 years now I’m jobless they don’t want to even give me a reference ; my child was kicked out of school I don’t know where to go can you plz assist me

      Reply
      • Kath Morse
        Kath Morse says:

        Hi, I can advise you for a school but I can’t help with your employment situation. If you think you’ve been unfairly treated at work you need to contact the CCMA – 021 469 0111 , http://www.ccma.org.za
        In regards to your daughter, if she has passed Grade 10 and she doesn’t want to go back to the government school then her best option now is probably a TVET College:
        http://saili.org.za/website/tvet-colleges/
        If you live in Hout Bay then it is easiest to travel to Cape College: http://www.cct.edu.za/
        She can apply for 2019 and also apply for funding through NSFAS. The college will help her with her funding application.
        All the best, Kath

        Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, Parents are always liable for fees unless they have applied for and been approved a fee subsidy or exemption. If you have been under administration then your debt to the school should have been taken into consideration and a payment plan negotiated. Kath

      Reply
  2. Private Jane
    Private Jane says:

    Good day. I am looking for information for an assignment. There are needy children in a white school who has applied for subsidies but have not received any, It is a small school. Their parents do not work and if they do they make very little. Can this be because they are in a small school?

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, If the school is a private school then they are not regulated by the government policy for fee subsidy and exemption. If it is a government school then what they are doing is illegal and they can be reported to the district manager. It is the responsibility of the district manager to ensure that the school abides by government policy. Kath

      Reply
  3. Thanusha
    Thanusha says:

    Advice please regarding private school fees. Last year 2016 parents mutually agreed to a new school fee structure and were told verbally that all discounts. e.g early payment & sibling discounts will remain the same. 2016 School fees included aftercare. This year 2017 the fees for academics aftercare and development levy were split and the school only applied the sibling discount on the academic fee without informing parents.Communication with the school finance director have not been futile. Is there any legal recourse that can be taken.

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, Unfortunately there is no legal recourse for private school parents in regards to fees set. Legally, the school is a service provider and you are a customer. Private schools will have some system of parental appeal though. If there is a school governing body, for example, you should make an appointment to meet with them and raise your grievance. If they don’t listen to you then the only course of action is to find a more suitable school for your family. Sorry. Kath

      Reply
  4. Rushana
    Rushana says:

    Hi
    I’m a mother of 6 and is struggling financially. My kids attend government schools. My last one now currently in grade R of same school . Application for grade 1 unsuccessful. When I asked for reason the school never got back to me. I then asked for a meeting with the chairperson of the SGB. In that meeting he stated that due to my other kids school fees being in arrears they can’t accept this one for grade 1. When I asked about exemption for school fees he said that the government won’t give me an exemption as I drive past other schools or have my kids at this school. In 2015 I applied for exemption and the school decline my application (reason was they don’t want the school to become a no fee school.Please advises am struggling to get them to accept my daughter.

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, This is clearly illegal. There is no government requirement that your children must attend your nearest school. There is a government requirement that schools cannot refuse learners on the basis of inability to pay fees. Additionally, school are obligated to tell parents about the fee subsidy/ exemption process and also to apply this. You need to speak to your district manager from the department of education. He or she will make sure that the school complies with government policy. You can ask at your school for the name and phone number of the district manager. If you are not able to get the contact details, please email me with the name of your school: kathsaili@gmail.com

      Reply
  5. Nonny
    Nonny says:

    Hi; my name is Nondu. Please advise me on the following issue… My late mother was responsible for my daughters daycare school and we served noticed to withdraw her from the school(i do not have a copy of this unfortunately) my mother passed in 02/2016 and in March i received a call from a debt collecting agency claiming that i as a parent am liable for the fees even though my mother was the one who signed the contract. I thought debt cannot be inherited; i called the collection agency and they told me that they wanted to claim from ny mother’s estate. Is this possible?

    Reply
  6. Nastacha
    Nastacha says:

    Hi

    Just need help.

    Government School.

    can a school with held a school year end report for a gr7 school girl as i have received subsidies with the school as am the only Parent that support her .

    please help as she need to go to High School next year.

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, Schools are not allowed to withhold reports or block learners from classes or exams due to the non-payment of school fees. If you experience problems you can report your school to your circuit manager in the department of education. Kath

      Reply
  7. Llinde
    Llinde says:

    my last 3 months of fees are in arrears I am currently unemployed and my husbands salary doesn’t cover everything, Will the school refuse my kids to come back in the new year?

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, Your school is not allowed to withhold reports or bar your children from any school activities. However, you should go and see the school bursar and explain your situation. You can appeal to the school governing body to be excused some of your fees, particularly if your situation has suddenly changed. They do not have to grant you a fee deduction at this stage of the year but they may choose to do so. If they do not agree, you should negotiate with the school to pay off the debt. As long as you have an arrangement in place, they will not hand your case over to debt collectors. At the start of next year you can apply to the school for a fee subsidy for your fees to be reduced for 2018 or until your employment status changes. Your bursar will have the paperwork and the School Governing Body will assess it. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  8. Charlton
    Charlton says:

    Hi ,

    I know of a parent that’s child is in a private school in johannesburg , that is 7 months arrears , I have been told that the child has now excluded and put out of the school , is there any chance of her getting a report to complete the year or get her into a government school as the parents account has been handed over already.

    Please help I am the guardian and.really not sure what to do

    Need advice please the child will be at home from tommrow

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, Parents withe learners in private schools have no legal recourse if they don’t pay fees. It’s like buying a car on contract then not paying the installments. In fact it is the school that has been legally wronged and they can pursue the parent for debt repayment. It is a very hard situation for the child, and now also for you. Sorry. Kath

      Reply
  9. Zelda Lategan
    Zelda Lategan says:

    Hi, I was behind on my 2016 school fees due to an accident which left me almost paralysed. My medical bills (of over R200 000) took preference over the school fees, which I informed the school of and I requested more time in order to pay the fees together with 2017. The school refused to allow me to pay the 2 years fees together and handed me over regardless of my desperate pleas and meeting where I sat in front of the finance officer in tears and begged for his understanding and begged for an extension. I also had lost my job in this time and lost two family members which I informed them of. Since then I have paid 2017 fees in full and a week ago I transferred the outstanding 2016 fees directly to the school. The school refused to put the money towards the 2016 fees but instead have kept my money and told me I have a credit for 2018 fees. Can they really do this? I haven’t even got an invoice to 2018. Who can afford to pay so much upfront? I can’t! and still they are continuing to proceed for the collection of the 2016 fees. I really thought that the school would benefit by me settling the outstanding amount. I am astounded and feel that they could have assisted but instead were totally unreasonable. Please advise. Thank you so much. Kind regards.

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi,
      What a terrible, terrible story. I have a few ideas of things you can try though.
      1. Appeals should go to the school governing body, not to the school bursar/ finance officer. You can ask to appeal. I suggest you write a formal letter to the school governing body and give a copy to the finance officer and the principal ( in case the finance officer doesn’t act), also keep a copy for yourself. Make it very simple – just request a meeting with the School Governing Body in regards to your fee account. Don’t list any details. If you get to a meeting, you can present your whole case. If you don’t get to a meeting then you can appeal higher.
      2. You can contact your district manager. It is your district manager’s responsibility to make sure that the school acts within government policy in the application of their fee collection. If they refuse you an appeal, did not properly inform you of the appeal process or did not properly inform you of your right to apply for a fee exemption for 2017 then they acted illegally. You can find contact details online by searching for “department of education contact details” along with the name of your province.
      3. You can contact the debt collector and ask them how to settle your school account so that there are no further proceedings against you. You can tell them that you have paid the school directly for your 2016 fees but the school has refused to accept the payment on that account. It is possible that you have made an administrative error in paying the school directly and should have paid through the debt collectors. Hopefully the debt collectors can advise you on this.

      All the best,
      Kath

      Reply
  10. Dee
    Dee says:

    Hi

    I am getting my children from their father on Tuesday for good. I am currently in employed and do not know how to apply for my kids to go to school? Please can someone guide me? My children have been living with their father for 2 years and is now giving them back to me.

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, I think I understand that your kids are moving and will need a new school? You need to urgently go to your local school (go on Monday) and ask them if you can apply for next year. The school may not have space and they don’t have to take your children if there is no space. If this happens you can appeal to your Department of Education circuit manager to help you find a school with space for your children. Given that it is nearly the end of the school year though, I expect you will have difficulties. To find your circuit manager, phone the department of education for your province. If you have more questions you can email me at kathsaili@gmail.com or whatsapp on 061 390 4470 Kath

      Reply
  11. Tlhalefang
    Tlhalefang says:

    Hi I have 2boys who are in Private schools, I was financially stable and was scammed during the year,I informed schools and cudnt raise the amount and I allowing school fees. Worse my eldest son is doing grade 11 if he has passed will be in grade 12,last born grade 9 he will do grade 10,I pleaded with school to let him finish, I can’t remove him in graden12 bt i have no report to know he was passed n um willing to settle the debt bt not now

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, I’m sorry for your difficult times. Unfortunately the law does not protect families in private schools. It is likely that if you show good faith to the school by setting up and keeping to a payment plan, then they will be more generous with you and issue the reports. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  12. Penny
    Penny says:

    Good morning
    I am full time employed but i can not afford to pay school fees for my kids. Am i allowed to apply for subsidy? What’s the criteria

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, Your exemption application is linked to current income and should not be influenced by fee debts. You should apply now and make sure to get a receipt for your application. If you feel that the decision by the school is unfair, you can appeal. If you still feel it is unfair, you can go to your Dept of Education Circuit Manager. Kath

      Reply
  13. Karin
    Karin says:

    Hallo

    I would like to know can you still apply for exemption if your child is Gr10 to Gr12.
    I apply every year and I get full exemption but my son is Gr9 this year so I need to know for next year if I need to make plans?

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, Government schools set their own fees at the budget meeting each year. All parents are invited to attend and contribute. I’m not sure what you mean by “compulsory” fees. All fees are compulsory. If you can’t afford the fees, you can apply for a fee subsidy/ exemption with your school bursar. More information: http://saili.org.za/website/parents/financial-assistance/ Government schools are not allowed to refuse learners to classes, issuing reports or textbooks on the basis of non-fee payment. Your Department of Education Circuit Manager can help you resolve this problem with your school. Kath

      Reply
  14. fezile mabase
    fezile mabase says:

    Good Day I would like to know can i be charged for school fees if ive removed my child from the school because of the principal being rude and unfair to my child ive sent them a notice and removed my child immediately that ill be removing my child immateriality the fees are paid in full i just didn’t want my child to be mistreated and treated unfairly

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, Technically you can be charged as you are supposed to give a term warning to withdraw. If you object you could take it to the School Governing Body. If that fails you can take it to your Circuit Manager. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  15. Liz
    Liz says:

    Hi there, may government schools charge kids a compulsory R110 per child to attend an interschool athletics day even though the child is not taking part in the day and the child is prepared to stay home for the day. The amount of R110 is made up as follow: traveling cost via bus, entrance fee at the stadium and a cap with school logo. Our school fees and admin fees and book fees is paid up to date but I simply do have extra money, in this case R110 for my child to sit on tge sideline all day to watch other cgildren do athletics. We discussed this with the school and the only reply was a letter sent to all parents saying the payment us compulsory even if your child does not attend on the day. The only exemption they will give for non payment is if a doctor’s letter is received. Looking forward to your reply. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, Schools are allowed to charge compulsory fees on top of school fees. If you have a fee exemption these compulsory fees should be added to the school fees and included in the exemption calculation. Schools are not allowed to exclude learners from school events due to non-payment of fees. I suggest you make an appointment with the school principal and explain your situation. If you fail to resolve it you can go to your Department of Education Circuit Manager. It is his/ her responsibility to make sure your school uphholds fee the government fee policy properly. You can find contact details here: https://www.education.gov.za/Informationfor/EducationDistricts.aspx All the best, Kath

      Reply
  16. Alison Shepherd
    Alison Shepherd says:

    Hello
    Can you please advise if the same legalities apply to private colleges and if not, where I can find information regarding this?
    Many thanks
    Alison

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, These laws do not apply to private schools or private colleges. When you choose to attend a private institute you are purchasing a service and you have to pay for it. If you don’t pay then the college can take legal action against you. I hope things work out for you. Kath

      Reply
  17. Kim
    Kim says:

    Hello Kath
    I am a single mother, I made application for full exemption of fees for my son as I don’t have a permanent job and do not receive any maintenance from my sons Father (whom I never married) 26 days after application the school Bursar called demanding I make a payment to the school before I get handed over. I asked her what the outcome of my application was & why I had not been notified in writing or called in to a meeting at the school? She told me that I could soon expect via Registered mail notification of the fact that she has called for the money. How was I to know what amount to pay if I was not informed of the decision / outcome re the exemption application? She rattled off an amount of R2700 – the due monthly School Fee is R4400. So I am assuming I was granted a partial exemption. However I still cannot afford the R2700 and am uncertain as to how they arrived at this conclusion. Please kindly inform me as to what is my next step from here?

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi,

      The law has changed in regards to fee exemption applications. Did you provide the contact details for the father? If so, the school should contact him to pay 50% of the fees. If you have no contact details for him then all the fees are your responsibility.

      There is a fee calculator which should give you and idea of how much fees you are liable for, based on your income (before tax and deductions), the number of children you have in government schools and the fees due for one child. You can use the calculator here: http://saili.org.za/website/fee-exemption-calculator/ If the school appears to have not applied the government policy correctly you can appeal to the school governing body. They should invite you for a meeting and explain their decision.

      You can also make a case for having fees further reduced. If you still feel that the school is acting illegally, you can appeal to your circuit manager in the Department of Education. Contact details are online. Here is the website for Western Cape: https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/branchIDC/Districts/Districts.html If you are not in the Western Cape just search for “Education Department (your province) contact details circuit manager” Otherwise you can email me at kathsaili@gmail.com

      All the best, Kath

      Reply
  18. Faeez
    Faeez says:

    Hey Kathy
    Just a quick question,I went into arrears with my 2017 school fees for my 2 kids due to being retrenched and my wife’s salary unfortunately could not cover the fees,they attend a government school.Fast forward to 2018.When i went to pay the outstanding school fees,20% interest was added to each child’s outstanding fees.When i queried this i was told that this was always done at the school and it was an instruction from the governing body.Is this legal?Are they allowed to charge interest on outstanding fees?

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi Faeez, I’ve never heard of this happening before. Whether it is legal will probably depend on the agreement you signed with the school in regards to fees. If the fee agreement states that interest will be charged, and at what rate over which period of time, then it is legal. If you didn’t sign for it then it is probably not legal. However, I am not a contract lawyer, just an NGO worker. You are probably going to need more expert advice. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  19. Nomusa Luthuli
    Nomusa Luthuli says:

    Hi Kath

    I applied for school fee exemption and was turned down on the letter, however I’m certain that I qualify for a full exemption fee based on the exemption calculator however I stated on the letter that I am willing to pay something towards the fees. The reason on the letter says school fees must added to your household budget before ahead of non-essential items I don’t know if this is because of the car installment I’m paying because i submitted all the evidence for my expenses or they mean I must take the car back to the dealership and pay the school fees with that money and this is a public school I feel I’m being treated unfairly on this one as I had problems with my daughters registration in the same school of which I took the matter up and they took her at last. I have sent the email to the school bursar asking about the procedures for appeals but i have not receive the feedback. Should we be treated according the things we have in order to qualify for school fee exemption?

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, The school fee exemption policy is based on your family income before deductions, not on your expenses or on your possessions. Please write to the school governing body and ask that they review the decision. tell them that you have asked the bursar to assist you in explaining the review process and there has been no reply to this request. Ask the SGB to please reply to acknowledge receipt of your letter. Tell them if you do not receive a reply within a reasonable period of time you will contact the circuit manager for assistance. Assure them that you are willing to contribute to your fees at a rate that is affordable for your family. Contact details for the SGB are on this website: https://www.education.gov.za/Informationfor/EducationDistricts.aspx All the best, Kath

      Reply
  20. Kate
    Kate says:

    Hi Kath.

    My aunts child is in matric and staying with my mother due to my aunt being an alcoholic and not looking after the children. The child applied for exemption and was successful however her school fees for the previous years are in arears with 2000. The school indicated that my mother will have to pay for the arears in order for my niece to go to the matric ball but she cant afford it as there are still 3 other family members children living with her as well as my two sisters and she does not get any financial assistance from the childrens parents. Is there anyone at the eduction department that can assist? How can the school expect my mother and the child to pay the arears

    Thanks

    Reply
  21. Lerato Mngomezulu
    Lerato Mngomezulu says:

    My 2 kids are in attending school in private school their father was suppose to help me but now his playing hard to get and my kids has been chased away from school today for not paying school fees I am staying in Tembisa,Emmagweni Section, Kempton park, Gauteng province, please help I want to place them in an affordable school coz otherwise they have to stay at home for the whole year principal won’t take them back if they don’t pay they are in grade 5 and grade 3 please help

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, Your children are definitely going to have to move school. I suggest you start with your nearby government schools and see if they have space. Even if you can’t afford to pay the full school fees, you can at least get a fee subsidy (so you only pay part of the fees) at a government school. If none of your nearby schools have space you can ask for help from the department of education to find a space in a nearby school. Contact details are here: https://www.education.gov.za/Informationfor/EducationDistricts.aspx You can ask the schools what their Bachelor Pass rate is for matric. You want to choose a school that is at least 50% Bachelor Pass to make sure your children have a chance at tertiary education. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  22. Terence
    Terence says:

    Hi Kath, i need some advice on the way forward with regards to my childrens school that has put a judgement on my name via their attorneys for school fees that has not been paid. i had 3 children attending the same primary school( 1 went to high school but 2 still @ primary school in mention) at the time. since 2012 my work paid the childrens fees as we had an option at work to apply for a student loan at the beginning of each year, but to qualify for the loan you would need a letter from the school confirming the attendance of the kids and the banking details of the school as the work would pay the school directly. However this letter is needed before the end of February of each year in order to be approved. at the beginning of 2015 the school’s finance manager resigned and a new one was appointed. as normal i would go to the school in the very first week and request the letter needed to apply for the student loan at work. this time the newly appointed finance manager gave me incorrect letters (5 times), every time missing some crucial information (either missing 1 of my childrens details or the dates would be wrong or something). by the time i eventually got to the school to explain to her…again, what was needed from her, we missed the deadline to apply. And being the sole bread winner i was unable to recover from that loss. when i tried explaining to them about the balls up they made and the problem they caused, all they said was unfortunately its not their problem and that i am still liable to pay the school fees, if not they will have to hand it over to their attorneys for collection(which they then did). now they had list a judgement against my name for outstanding school fees amount for that year plus additional R7k. on top of that, i am unable to pay full year amounts for the year of 2016 as well. in the mean time i have started a new job and i am trying to pay school fees per month as hard as it is, but discovered today that the school has handed me over for an amount of R48k. i am by no means to pay that amount. i am struggling to pay current school fees and wont ever be able to recover a R48k. The school and their attorneys are telling me that the only way i could ever have them remove the judgement, is to pay the outstanding amount of R48k. Even if i make a payment arrangement it will take me 20years if ever, to repay this amount.

    all i want to know is, are there any way that i can go about to try and sort out this problem other than paying R48000 which i dont have?

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi,

      I can hear that you are in a very difficult situation and that the school did contribute to this. I am not legally trained however I think you will find that the school is correct in saying that you are still liable for the fees – as per your contract with the school. If your children are at government schools then the government policy stipulates that the school must ask you if you want to apply for a fee subsidy or exemption as soon as your fees are in arrears, and before you are handed over. If this is the case then you can appeal via the Education Department Circuit Manager – https://www.education.gov.za/Informationfor/EducationDistricts.aspx You also may be eligible for a fee subsidy this year which will help you to put some money towards the debt.

      If your children are at a private school however there is no recourse apart from declaring yourself insolvent. In this case your assets would have to be worth less than your debt and your debt would subsequently be dissolved. If this is not the case for you then making payment arrangements will help prevent the case being escalated. If it is escalated your property can be taken from you and sold to pay off the debt. If you are in the Western Cape and your children are at a private school, I can make a recommendation to you for a suitable, cheaper, government school.

      All the best with this difficult situation,
      Kath

      Reply
  23. Francinah
    Francinah says:

    Hi I’m a lady of 23 years old. I applied to IQ academy around march 2018,since I’m no longer working I couldn’t be able to pay the fees.when I’m looking for a job they says they can’t hire me because I owe IQ the amount of R9000,then when I ask IQ I tell me that once my application approve all the total course fee reflects to my Credit,so I have to pay R4000 for de-registration fee.Plz help

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, We replied to you already on facebook. Unfortunately IQ is a private academy. You signed a fee contract with them and you have to honor it yourself. No one is going to be able to pay that debt for you. Sorry. If you have no assets and no way to pay the debt you could have yourself declared bankrupt. This will clear your debt with IQ. It will show up on your credit record though so any future employer who checks will see it, just like they can see the debt. I hope you find a way out. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  24. Ikraam
    Ikraam says:

    Good day

    I matriculated in 2015 and my school recently called my dad up and said we have outstanding fees.

    We do not have outstanding fees, we told them to check on the system and they say it shows that we are owing but we do not. At my school they would not give us reports even matric certificates if our fees were not paid and i have all those reports and when we brought that point up they denied practicing that.

    As I said i finished in 2015 and we are now in 2018, so we do not have the receipt… I wonder what can be done ??

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, this is unusual and I am not qualified to advise you. I think I would start by going to the school bursar and asking for a print out of your account for all fees and deposits made whilst you were at the school. If they can’t produce that then I don’t think they can have a case against you. If they can produce it then you can at least see which term or year isn’t showing up as paid. May be you can think of ways to show that you did pay then? For example, bank statements showing deposits to the school or showing cash withdrawn for school fees? Whatever happens I would then write them a letter and have it stamped at the police station stating that you do not owe them any money, that you left the school with all fees paid up and that you dispute the debt. If they still insist that you owe and can provide financial statements that show you owe, I think you will need to get legal help. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  25. Jessie
    Jessie says:

    Hi. My name is Jess. I studied at a TVET college in 2017 January. Nsfas then didnt approve my application due to a form that was missing. I passed my subjects and more 80% attendance. After all this months while i have wentto then stating i was still unemployed since ive studied full time im still looking for work, they have handed me over to debt collectors. Which im now still unemployed and they have added intrest on this account which they say im liable for. I have gi en Nsfas all the documentation they needed the conaultant at Nsfas was not in contact with me for any papera they needed at that time when i was still waiting for my outcome of the application. The college took own initiative to pay money in ALL the students accounts after 4months while STILL waiting on Nsfas reply. Even when we as Students/Parents of the students did not give any consent for that step to be taken. What should i do now because now im owing them almost 7000.

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi Jessie, Have you been to speak to the financial office at your TVET college? May be you can work something out with them. Failing that, you can get a financial service to help you declare insolvency. The services are usually free so don’t pay for it. Once you are insolvent it means you have legally declared that you can’t pay your debt so the debt is wiped away. It does mean that you won’t have a credit record for a number of years so won’t be able to get loans or store cards. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  26. Khumbu
    Khumbu says:

    Good day I am my husband passed away January and I’m in arrears and cant even afford to pay the fees since my husband passed away , how do I ho to school and tell them that I cant afford the fees

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi Khumba, You do need to go to the school and see the school bursar or financial officer and explain your situation. You can write a letter of appeal to the school governing body asking them to let you off your fees owed this year. If you are at a government school then next year you can apply for a fee exemption with the school bursar or financial officer. This is something you need to take action on now before the problem gets worse. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  27. Andre
    Andre says:

    My child is in matric ( grade 12) this year 2018 , I applied for exemption in the beginning of the year as require by the school. They agreed for half of the school fees witch I cannot afford due to my other child suing me for study’s at Tusk and then maintenance for herself and also Maintenance for my son in grade 12 – this was ordered by the courts , so with that I offered R100.00 a month witch I really can afford. Now the school finance department said that my arrangement of R 100.00 isn’t working for them anymore and is threatening me with credit bureau and court ! Is this normal and how should I proceed in this matter

    Reply
  28. Sibuiso
    Sibuiso says:

    Hi
    I have a sister who is in grade 10 this year. She currently was chased from school because of payments and the school says she cannot write her exams which are starting on the 12 November 2018. My mom went to the school and she was told that she must at least pay a percentage of the fees so that my sister can write exams and she cannot afford that money currently. I would like to know how can we deal with this issue?

    Reply
  29. Oj
    Oj says:

    Hi Kath. My daughter attends school at the private school.When I applied for space for her I completed a debit order form for them to deduct my account on the 20 which is on my pay day. The school always takes their money on the 20th and never has the debit order returned. I always get an email that my account is in arrears as they expect the payment to be made on the 1st and this is starting to irritate me. Are the any schools that can accept my child if I decide to move her considering the fact that I can only pay them on the 20th?

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, The best plan would be to pay on the 20th the month before the first fees of the year are due, that way you will never be in arrears. Every school manages their finances differently. Some are more flexible on payments others are more strict and would charge you interest for being 3 weeks late. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  30. Pre school owner
    Pre school owner says:

    Good day. I own a pre school and a parent has stated bluntly that they will not pay December fees as we close mid month for school break. Can I refuse access although fees for current month (November) are paid? Father very rude in his comments.

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, This is a sad situation for the child. I don’t know what your fee contract says and I’m not legally trained so I’m not in the best position to advise you. I would expect that your fee contract provides for what happens when fees aren’t paid or how much notice needs to be given to withdraw from the school. You may also have an agreement about your right to refuse difficult families. Legally I would expect that you would be bound to continue to provide services for the month paid for (till the end of Nov). After that it depends on your fee contract and other signed agreements. Sorry I can’t help more. Kath

      Reply
  31. ronnei
    ronnei says:

    hi
    i owe the school fees for 2016/2017 and 2018 of which im payin the attorney for 2016 and the school for 2018.i just received a call from an attorey who wants the fees for 2017.how do i overcome thids.

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, You probably need to see a debt advisor. They will help negotiate a fair repayment schedule with the debt collectors. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  32. Nanand-Simone
    Nanand-Simone says:

    Good Day
    On the issue of Private school, correct the do not fall under the School Act and they have a Private Schools Act.

    HOWEVER

    They do fall under the Constitutional requirements of the Country. And the Constitution states that No child
    may be denied an education. Therefore if they wish to “remove” a child from school they will need to do so in such a way that if follows due process legally and also that it allows the situation to be managed in such a way that the child will not be denied schooling. Even if that means a notice period to allow the parents to correct or remove their child.

    Reply
  33. Anneke
    Anneke says:

    Our boy Is going to gr 1 next year. The school in kzn wants us to sign a form that says if we pay R7800 before January we get 5% of but if we want to pay the school fees monthly they wil charge 10.5% interest for the year because the say the school law determines that school fees should be payed by end of januarie for the whole year and if not then you are in dept…. Can they do this?

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, School fees are set by the school governing body, not by the government or any legal policy. So if that’s the rule they’ve made and you sign to say you agree to it, then you need to pay. I think it’s a stupid rule but there isn’t anything you can do about it, unfortunately. May be there is another school you can consider? You can also contact the Department of Education and check that they are aware of the school’s practice. I’m not sure that they can do anything about it though. https://www.education.gov.za/Informationfor/EducationDistricts.aspx All the best, Kath

      Reply
  34. keitumetse mack
    keitumetse mack says:

    hello my son is hypeactive and a bit different from other kids i m so scared to enroll him in school because he have been bullied a lot and it hurts,what can i do?

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, Have you considered home schooling or online learning? There are really good facebook support groups for homeschooling and for online learning you can look at Brainline. All the best, Kath

      Reply

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