The ESF Board of Governors met this evening to approve our budget for the coming academic year.
As you know, during the pandemic, the Board took the decision that we needed to do all we could to support our families during the unprecedented circumstances that everyone in Hong Kong was facing. That is why they froze fees for two years and this year kept the fee increase to just 2.8%.
This was, without question, the right thing to do. However, it was not without its impact. Around 80% of our income comes from the fees that we receive from our families, which meant that we had to make some very difficult budgetary decisions, including freezing pay for our staff for two years.
As you know, the biggest single factor that contributes to our ability to deliver a world-class education for your children is the quality of our teachers and other support staff. During the time we froze pay and fees, other schools and groups in Hong Kong continued to increase both. This matters, because we operate in an incredibly competitive market for staff.
We want to continue to attract the world’s best teachers to ESF as we know that they will be the ones who make the biggest difference to our students. It was with this in mind that the Board evaluated our budget for the coming year.
In order to allow us to continue to invest in our people, the Board has approved an average fee increase for ESF Schools of 5.8% for the coming year. This level, however, includes a significant change in how we bill parents for compulsory charges during the academic year.
At present, throughout the year, you are issued with invoices for items that are mandatory for all students. This covers areas such as software licences, stationery kits and activity fees. Starting from August 2023, these compulsory charges will be absorbed into your fees and there will be no separate charges levied for them.
When this incorporation of the compulsory charges into fees is taken into account, the actual rate of annual increase is around 4.9%.
|2022/23 Annual Tuition Fees|
|2023/24 Annual Tuition Fees|
|Year 7-8 (year 8 becomes non-subvented in 2023/24)||159,300||167,100||4.9||780|
|Year 9-11 (subvented)||137,600||145,400||5.67||780|
|Year 12-13 (subvented)||144,700||152,900||5.67||820|
*including compulsory charges.
I want to assure you that we fully understand and appreciate our responsibility to you when it comes to how we manage our finances. Our ‘best value’ model means that every cent, every dollar spent is fully evaluated against the impact that it will have on our students.
This allows us to deliver our world-class education while having fee levels that are significantly lower than many other schools and school groups in Hong Kong.
As always, I want to thank you for your support of ESF and your school. I am incredibly proud to lead this organisation as we work hard to deliver on our simple promise to you and every other family who entrusts us with the education of their children: we will help every student be the best that they can be.