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.
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- About this guidance
- Types of payments
- What is the donation scheme?
- What can a school or kura charge for?
- How is the funding calculated?
- More information
If your school or kura requests donations, it is your responsibility to ensure the voluntary nature of these requests is clear to your parent and whānau 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 (for example, subject fees).
There are 3 types of 'payments' related to schools:
- purchases of goods and services (for example, 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, you will learn:
- details about the 3 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.
There are 3 types of payments:
- purchases of goods and services
- attendance dues.
Section 33 of the Education and Training Act 2020 states that every person who is not an international student is entitled to free enrolment and free education at any state school.
That person is entitled to free enrolment and free education for the period beginning on their fifth birthday and ending on 1 January after their 19th birthday.
This means that state schools cannot charge domestic students a fee for:
- the delivery of the curriculum.
Donations are voluntary.
- Parents can pay them in part, in full or not at all.
- Donations 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
Purchases of goods and services are voluntary.
- Schools and kura can ask parents and whānau to pay for goods and services they provide that are optional (for example, pens and lunches).
- It is up to parents and 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 are 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.
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, where schools with a decile of 1-7 were eligible to opt in.
The donation scheme is designed to ease pressure and expectations on households about donation payments.
How to opt in
Schools opt in to the donations scheme anually as part of the July roll return process. When opt in, no more action required.
If you are a teen parent unit, activity centre or another attached units, and you can not opt in as part of the July roll return process, you can opt in to the scheme by completing the opt-in form 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 scheme because the following years' EQI is 432 or higher.
If this is your school, make sure the board consults the school community when it is making decisions about opting in. Let your school community know the final decision.
If you do decide to opt in for 2024, please complete the opt-in form 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.
We have developed guidance which clearly outlines what schools can charge for and what parents need to pay for.
Information for parents, caregivers and whānau
This information will help you understand your rights and obligations and the rules around school donations.
Information for boards who are eligible and choosing to opt in
This information is for boards of schools and kura with an EQI of 432 or higher who are eligible and choosing to opt in.
Information for boards who are ineligible or choosing not to opt in
This information is for boards of schools and kura with an EQI of 431 or below (ineligible to opt in) or who are choosing not to opt in.
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. 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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