Paying School Fees

With a new academic year fast approaching, and already begun in the case of Indian curriculum schools, school fees will naturally be on the minds of many parents. But it needn’t be a stressful process thanks to a variety of payment options and support programmes.

What could be more important than your child’s education? The answer to that question is probably why schooling is often the one part of the family budget that parents are willing to stretch — just so they can afford that little bit more, so their child can benefit from that little bit extra.

Yet while any parent will tell you that school fees are a major expense, one that must be carefully budgeted and prepared for, it’s also reassuring to know that many schools offer numerous programmes that are designed to help and support parents financially — and not just when, God forbid, something unexpected happens. At the very least, it’s worth speaking to your child’s school to see what’s available and how they can assist.

From coming into school to pay in person, to making online payments and bank transfers, your child’s school should offer a number of ways and channels to settle fees. In addition, most schools will be happy to receive payments by debit or credit card, via a cheque, or in cash. As a general rule, fees for the upcoming term need to be paid in full before the first day of school.

School reward or loyalty programmes can make a big difference in driving down a family’s expenses. Similar to The Entertainer and other programmes centred on two-for-one deals and discounts, the more you use it, the bigger your savings. But some reward programmes go a step further by not only offering added extras and lifestyle benefits, but also letting you use your rewards to directly lower school fees. The GEMS Rewards programme is the best example, as it enables members to earn GEMS Points, which can then be used to pay school fees, and with multiple ways to earn Points, accumulating enough to significantly reduce the cost of schooling couldn’t be easier. In addition, the programme offers a co-branded credit card, the use of which to pay school fees allows you to earn back up to 4.25%.

When you’re happy with a school and the level of education offered, it’s only natural that you would speak positively about the school and want others to know about the progress made by your child. Well, if your child attends a GEMS Education school, you’re in luck, because through the GEMS Ambassador Programme you’ll be rewarded for every new student successfully enrolled in a participating school thanks to your referral. That reward is 4% of the student’s annual school fee, paid in GEMS Points that can be used to pay your own school fees. Best of all, there’s no limit to the number of students you can refer, meaning you could quite possibly accumulate enough Points to send your child to school for free.

We all know that sometimes even the best-laid plans can go awry, and no matter how well prepared you may be, life can suddenly take a turn for the worse. Your family’s financial stability could be under threat as a result, making it temporarily difficult, if not impossible, to continue to afford your child’s schooling. In such rare, unfortunate cases, always ensure you speak to a school representative — ideally, the principal or someone else in the senior leadership team — to understand what your options are.