Fees, charges and donations

Requirements and information for schools and parents about what schools can charge for and how schools can opt in to the donations scheme.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Boards
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Parents, Caregivers and Whānau
  • Teachers and Kaiako
  • Administrators

Where schools and kura request donations, it is their responsibility to ensure the voluntary nature of these requests is clear to their parent community. If your school is eligible and chooses to opt-in to the Donations scheme, you cannot ask for donations, with the exception of overnight camps. State schools and kura cannot charge domestic students a fee for enrolment or attendance or for delivery of the curriculum (eg subject fees).


There are three types of ‘payments’ related to schools:

  • donations
  • purchases of goods and services (e.g. pens, lunches)
  • attendance dues.

If you are a school board, this guidance will inform you of:

  • what you can charge for
  • the donations scheme.

If you are a parent/caregiver or whānau, here you will learn:

  • details about the three payment types
  • about the donations scheme
  • where to read specific guidance about your rights, obligations, and other important information regarding donations, fees and the donations scheme.

Payment types

The three types of payments include donations, purchases of goods and services, and attendance dues.

Section 33 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) states that every person who is not an international student is entitled to free enrolment and free education at any state school during the period beginning on the person’s fifth birthday and ending on 1 January after the person’s 19th birthday. This means that state schools cannot charge domestic students a fee for enrolment or attendance, or for the delivery of the curriculum.

Payment type Requirement Description
Donations Voluntary
  • 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 choose to make a donation to a school or kura at any time
  • GST is not payable, donation tax credits can be claimed
  • Schools and kura with an EQI number of 432 and above who opt-in to the donations scheme will receive a per student payment for that year in exchange for not asking for donations — with the exception of donations for school camps
  • Schools and kura with an EQI below 431, who chose not to opt-in can still ask for donations, but payment cannot be compelled or enforced.
Purchases of goods and 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)
  • It is up to parents/whānau to decide whether to buy them from the school/kura or somewhere else
  • If a purchase is agreed, payment can be enforced
  • GST is chargeable and a tax credit cannot be claimed.
Attendance dues

Compulsory for state-integrated schools and kura

  • 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.

What is the donation scheme?

State and state-integrated schools with an EQI of 432 or higher can choose to receive a per student payment per year if they agree not to ask parents and caregivers for donations, except for overnight camps. Previously this scheme used the decile system, whereby schools with a decile of 1-7 were eligible.

This initiative is designed to alleviate  pressure and expectations on households surrounding donation payments.

How to opt-in

Schools opt-in to the donations scheme anually as part of the July roll return process and if you opt-in using that mechanism, there is no further action required. 

For Teen Parent Units (TPU), Activity Centres (AC) and other attached units that can't opt-in as part of the July roll return process, you can opt-in to the scheme by completing the Donations scheme opt-in form 2024(external link) by 20 November 2023.

Each year there will be a small number of schools and kura that will become newly eligible to opt-in to the school donations scheme because their following year’s EQI is 432 or higher. We encourage all school boards consult with their school communities and reflect their views when making decisions about whether to opt-in to the scheme or not and let their school communities know their final decision. If you do decide to opt-in for 2024, please complete the Donations scheme opt-in form 2024(external link) by 20 November 2023.

How the scheme works

Schools that opt-in to the scheme through the July roll return process receive their donations scheme funding as part of their January operational funding instalment. The funding is calculated based on the previous year’s July roll. If your March roll is higher than the previous year's July roll, your school will receive a top-up payment in the quarter 2 at the beginning of April. 

For more, refer to our Donation scheme FAQs.

What can a school or kura charge for?

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

If you are family/whānau

Read our online guidance here What families/whānau need to know about school/kura donations and payment

If you are a board from a school/kura with an EQI of 432 or higher (eligible and choosing to opt in)

Read our online guidance at Schools and kura with an EQI of 432 and above choosing to opt-in to the donations scheme

If you are school board from a school or school/kura with an EQI of 431 and below (ineligible to or not choosing to opt in)

Read our online guidance at Schools/Kura with an EQI below 431 and Schools/Kura Not Opting In to the Donations Scheme

How will the funding be calculated?

Donations scheme funding is calculated using a per student rate, based on the previous year's July roll. The July roll is the most recent confirmed roll and for most schools, it is the most favourable roll to use.

If a school experiences a growth in their roll between the July roll and the following March roll, they will automatically receive additional donations scheme funding for the increase. This funding will be paid as part of the quarter 2 operational funding instalment at the beginning of April.

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