Fees, charges and donations

This page sets out the draft requirements and information for schools and parents about what schools can charge for and how schools can opt in to the donations scheme. This information is subject to confirmation by the passing of the Education (School Donations) Amendment Bill in late 2019.

Requirements about what schools can charge for

We have developed guidance which makes it clear what schools can charge for and what parents need to pay for.

Opting in to the donations scheme

To opt in to the donations scheme Board of Trustees from decile 1-7 schools need and complete the online declaration form. Boards have 14 November 2019 to do this.

Donations scheme opt-in form (external link)

Schools that opt in to the scheme will receive their donations payment as part of their January 2020 operational funding instalment. The donations payment will be calculated based on the July 2019 roll.

Decile 8-10 schools that believe there has been a significant change in their school's roll profile since deciles were last recalculated in 2014 and want to opt in to the donations scheme can apply for a decile review.

Applications for a decile change to take effect from the 2020 school year must be submitted by 5pm Monday 23 September 2019. Information and the application pack is available on the Education Counts website

Decile Review – Education Counts (external link)

2018 Census data will not be available in time to recalculate deciles for 2020 so the Ministry will continue to carry out decile reviews based on the 2013 Census data.

If a board successfully applies for a decile review that results in them gaining eligibility for the Donations Scheme, they will be advised before the start of the 2020 school year. These schools will have until March 2020 to decide whether to opt in to the scheme. They will receive their funding in their April 2020 operational funding instalment. The funding will be calculated based on the previous year’s July roll return.

If a school applies for a decile review and anticipates that they will be eligible to opt in to the scheme, they must not ask families for donations in the 2020 school year.

Donations Scheme FAQs

School camps

If your school/kura opts in to the donations scheme, the board of trustees cannot ask you to make a donation unless it is for a school camp.

You can choose if you want to pay none, some or all of the school camp donation. If you choose not to make a donation, your child cannot be stopped from attending a camp if it is part of the school’s curriculum.

What is a school camp?

A school camp is any curriculum-related activity where students are expected to stay overnight as part of that activity.

Examples of activities covered by this definition include:

  • Education Outside the Classroom camp
  • Year 9 induction camp
  • Senior school leadership camp
  • Overnight field trip as part of senior secondary assessment (eg Year 12 Biology field trip)
  • An overnight trip to Wellington to visit key places such as Te Papa, Parliament, and the Carter Observatory

Examples of activities NOT covered by this definition include:

  • Swimming lessons
  • Day trip to the museum
  • Day trip as part of senior secondary assessment.

Fees, charges and donations

Schools and kura cannot charge domestic students a fee for enrolment or attendance or for delivery of the curriculum (e.g. subject fees). There are however some situations where parents, caregivers and whānau might want to make a payment.

These three types of payments include:


  • These are voluntary payments, no matter who asks for them. Parents can pay them in part, in full or not at all.
  • They can be for general purposes, or for a specific purpose.
  • Anyone can chose to make a donation to a school or kura at any time. GST is not payable. Donation tax credits can be claimed.
  • Decile 1-7 schools and kura who opt in to the donations scheme will receive $150 per student payment for that year in exchange for not asking for donations- with the exception of donations for school camps.
  • Decile 8 -10 schools and those who chose not to opt-in can still ask for donations but payment cannot be compelled or enforced. Parents can choose to pay a donation in full, in part, or not at all.

Purchases of goods & services

  • Schools and kura can ask parents and whānau to pay for goods and services they provide that are optional (e.g. pens and lunches) but it is up to parents/whānau to decide whether to buy them from the school/kura or somewhere else.
  • All purchases/signups are voluntary and cannot be enforced.
  • If a purchase is agreed, payment can be enforced.
  • GST is chargeable and a tax credit cannot be claimed.

Attendance dues

  • These are compulsory for students attending state-integrated schools and kura, regardless of whether the school or kura has opted in to the donations scheme.
  • Payment can be enforced and GST is payable. A tax credit cannot be claimed.
  • State integrated schools and kura cannot increase attendance dues without the approval of the Minister of Education.


Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback