Policy Number: FAS201602 Version/Last Updated: 1.0/ December 2016 Audience: Public • Commencement: January 2017
Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) recognises the entitlement of all students to access educational opportunities that nurture the Catholic faith, expand life choices, cater for the disadvantaged, and challenge all students to reach their full potential.
SCS endeavours to offer an affordable Catholic education of the highest quality and there is a deeply held philosophical committment at all levels (Archdiocesan, system, parish and school) that no family should be denied a Catholic Education due to a genuine incapacity to pay all, or part of, their children’s school fees.
Families who have the capacity to pay school fees and who are not in genuine financial hardship have an obligation to pay school fees.
This policy exists to ensure fair and equitable school fee collection processes apply to all families with students enrolled in Sydney Catholic schools and provides a framework for school fee processes, including billing, reduction and collection.
2.0 Guiding Principles
The guiding principles of this policy provide direction for school Principals in regards to the processes and procedures for the collection of school fees.
The preferential option for the poor and marginalised is fundamental in Catholic schools. SCS has a responsibility to care for those who are poor, disadvantaged or considered most at risk.
No Catholic child will be denied a Catholic education because of a family's genuine inability to pay school fees.
School fee processes will be applied that are just, respectful, compassionate and transparent.
Families who do not have the capacity to pay full school fees will be eligible to apply for:
School fee relief through the school Principal
Catholic Education Foundation (CEF) bursaries:
- Financial Hardship Bursary
- Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Bursary
- Refugee Bursary.
School Fee Reduction
Applications for school fee reductions are lodged at the eldest sibling’s SCS school.
Applications for school fee reductions to the school will take into account the income, expenditure and assets of families.
Details of a family’s financial circumstances are to remain strictly confidential to those authorised by SCS to access the information.
On completion of a financial assessment by the SCS School Fee Liaison Unit, schools may be able to offer school fee reductions to families in genuine financial hardship.
Family school fee reductions will apply to each member of the family and be notified to the younger children’s Principal(s) by the approving Principal.
Any school fee reduction is valid for up to three years.
In the circumstance that a family applies for, but does not meet the threshold for a school fee reduction, the school should work out a payment plan with the family.
In cases of family emergency (illness, death or loss of income where there is no income protection or life insurance) the school Principal can give an appropriate reduction in school fees for up to two terms, before the family applies formally for assistance with school fees as per 3.2 above.
Non Payment of School Fees
Upon enrolment, all parents are required to give an undertaking that they will jointly and severely honour the financial commitments required by the school, and that a failure to do so may jeopardise the enrolment or ongoing enrolment of the student or subsequent students.
School fees are considered overdue fourteen days after the applicable due date.
Provisional enrolment may occur until outstanding fees at other Sydney Catholic schools are repaid or arrangements are made for payment.
Non-payment of school fees by families may result in a non-acceptance of enrolment of students into Secondary school/college and non-enrolment of siblings into Primary schools.
In circumstances where all collection attempts have been exhausted, the Director of System Stewardship may recommend to the Regional Director that a student’s ongoing enrolment at a Sydney Catholic school be terminated for the following school year.
In cases of oustanding fees, a school may exclude a student from non-compulsory events such as an overseas excursion and/or the school formal.
Responsibility of Director System Stewardship
Set policy framework within which SCS assists families who do not have capacity to pay full school fees
Set policy framework within which school fees are collected
Make recommendations as required to the Regional Director regarding the ongoing enrolment of families.
Responsibility of SCS Financial Controller
Lead and manage policy and procedures within which SCS assists families who do not have capacity to pay school fees
Lead and manage policy and procedures within which school fees are collected.
Responsibility of School Fee Liason Unit (SFLU) and Catholic Education Foundation (CEF)
Provide support to schools in the school fee collection processes
Take responsibility for coordinating school fee collection once the school has issued follow up letters (Letter 1 and Letter 2 – internal) and have had no response or payment from the fee payer.
Provide financial support to families through the provision of CEF bursaries
Process applications for CEF bursaries, in line with SCS procedures and criteria for eligibility.
Responsibility of Principal
Implement this policy in the management of school fee collection
Educate members of the school community with responsibility for this policy including publication of fee payable dates
Send an annual fee statement to parents by the end of week 2, Term 1 of each school year
In the circumstance that a family applies for, but does not meet the threshold for a school fee reduction, the school should work out a payment plan with the family
Issue follow-up letters for outstanding school fees, (Letter 1 and Letter 2 – internal)
In circumstances of outstanding fees and where the school has received no response from the fee payer after sending two follow up letters, transfer the account to the SFLU who will coordinate collection processes in partnership with the school
Notify colleague Principal(s) of approved fee reductions for younger siblings.
Responsibility of Parents and Carers
Upon enrolment, all families commit to supporting our Catholic schools by paying school fees
Nominate to pay fees weekly, fortnightly, monthly, by term or annually
Inform the school as soon as possible of any changes regarding the responsibility of school fee payments.
5.0 Bases of Discretion
6.0 Definitions and Explanatory Notes
Financial hardship: Financial hardship may be the result of inadequate income, prolonged illness, death, a disaster etc. In such circumstances, assistance can be provided by granting an appropriate concession using the standard formula and/or an extended payment plan. Families experiencing financial hardship are able to apply for a fee reduction using the Family Financial Information Form (internal) and providing the required paperwork.
Fee payable dates: Each year the schedule of payment dates will be specified in School and Administration (SAS). Schools will publish these dates to parents at the beginning of each school year.
Fee reduction application process: To apply for a fee reduction a Family Financial Information Form (internal) must be completed by the student's fee payer(s) and lodged at the school where the eldest child attends with the required documentation as listed in the procedures, prior to arranging an interview.
Letter 1 (internal): Reminder that school fees are currently overdue.
Letter 2 (internal): A notice from SCS requesting the family make contact with the school Principal.
7.0 Supporting Documents
- Family Financial Information Form (internal)
- Financial Hardship Bursary Application Form (internal)
- Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Bursary Application Form (internal)
- Refugee Bursary Application Form (internal)
Letter 1 (internal): Reminder that school fees are currently overdue
Letter 2 (internal): A notice from SCS requesting the family to make contact with the school Principal
Policy number: FAS201602-1.0
Last modified: December 2016
This policy supersedes all previous policies relating to matters contained therein. In so much as any aspect of this policy may appear to be in conflict with another Archdiocesan system or school-based policy, then precedence is to be given to this policy.
Review by: December 2017
Approved by Leadership Team: 2 June 2016
Endorsed by SACS Board: N/A
Approved by Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools: 12 December 2016
Commencement Date: January 2017