1. Fees Charged by International Schools

Fees Charged by International Schools

Published on 27 Mar 2024

It is no secret that an international school education comes at a price. An international school education used to be perceived as a luxury only the wealthy could afford. In addition, the quota for local student enrolment at international schools was also an obstacle for Malaysian parents seeking to send their children to international schools even if they could afford the fees. 

Since the quota was removed in 2012, the international school education landscape has changed significantly. Today, parents have over 200 international schools to choose from – each with its own unique fee structure. There has also been an increase in the number of mid-range international schools offering competitive fee structures. Therefore, parents today can surely find an international school that fits their budget.

Cost remains the top consideration for parents in the school selection process. Therefore, it is important for parents to request comprehensive fee structures from schools so that they are financially prepared throughout their child’s schooling years. 

Here is an overview of the types of fees that international schools typically charge.

Application Fees

Application fees are a standard part of the school admissions processes, covering the administrative costs to process your child’s application. These fees range from modest sums to more substantial amounts like RM200 to RM3,500. While not all schools require payment of this fee, they are an essential consideration in the enrolment journey. Once paid, these fees are non-refundable, regardless of whether your child is accepted or you opt for another school.

Registration Fees

The registration fee, also referred to as entrance, admission, or enrolment fee, is a non-refundable charge payable upon confirmation of enrolment into a school. Typically, the minimum charge for this fee starts at around RM300, but some schools may waive it entirely, while others may charge several thousands. It is a one-time payment, meaning you would not have to pay it again, even if your child continues attending the school for several years. However, should you withdraw your child and later re-enrol them, you may be required to pay the registration fee once again

Refundable Deposit

Most schools require a security deposit upon confirmation of enrolment, with varying methods for calculating it. This deposit is usually equivalent to one term’s tuition fee, although some schools may collect a fixed amount per student or per family. Discounts may apply for second or third child onward from the same family. Some schools may require deposit top-ups as a student progress to higher levels. The deposit is typically refundable upon graduation or withdrawal, but parents must provide a withdrawal notice several months in advance. Usually, a withdrawal notice of one term is required. Failure to do so may result in forfeiture of the deposit.

Tuition/Term Fee

Tuition or term fees are regular payments to support your child’s ongoing education, covering the costs of teaching and student support. These fees typically constitute the bulk of the expenses in international schools and vary widely between institutions. Payment schedules also vary, with schools collecting tuition fees on annual, quarterly, per semester, or monthly basis. Fees may also differ based on grade levels and curriculum. Annual tuition fees can range from RM10,000 to RM100,000 annually depending on the school and educational level. When assessing schools, it is important for parents to inquire what is or is not included in the tuition fees (e.g., the cost of textbook, meals and extracurricular activities) and to find out the payment schedule.

Examination Fees

Examination fees are charges imposed to offset the administrative costs of organising and overseeing examinations. These expenses may encompass the procurement of test materials, invigilator salaries and the grading process. They are typically paid prior to major exams, such as midterms and finals.

School Development Fee/School Building Fund

Some schools implement a separate school development fund. These funds are commonly allocated to finance significant projects, such as physical enhancements, restoration and extensions to school facilities. While some schools do not impose this fee, for those that do, it can be a one-time or annual charge. The fee typically ranges from RM5,000 to over RM20,000, depending on the scope of the projects and the school’s requirements. These fees play a crucial role in fostering a conducive learning environment by ensuring that the school infrastructure remains in optimal condition.

ICT/Library/Lab Fee

Depending on the school, parents may have to pay to cover the cost of maintaining and upgrading the school’s infrastructure – namely, its technology equipment, library, or lab facilities. This fee is paid either on a one-time or annual basis.

Extracurricular Activity Fees

Fees for extracurricular activities are linked to the students’ involvement in clubs, sports teams, cultural events, and other non-academic pursuits. These fees cover various expenses such as uniforms, equipment, competition fees, and related costs. They play a crucial role in enriching the educational experience, enabling students to delve into their interests outside the traditional classroom setting.

Boarding Fee

This fee is only applicable to parents who want their children to stay at the school throughout the term. Boarding fees cover meals, accommodation and the use of school facilities. Parents can opt for full, weekly or flexi-boarding if available, where students can stay for one or several nights during any week.

Other Fees

For most schools, the cost of instructional materials, uniforms, meals, language support and field trips are excluded from the tuition fees and are not included in the tuition fees and are billed separately. Parents should anticipate having to cover additional costs for transportation to and from the school, special trips and programmes, as well as material and book fees.


It is crucial to thoroughly review and analyse these fees as they add a layer of financial commitment to the journey of finding the most suitable international school for your child.

A number of schools offer waivers for early payment or discounts upon enrolment at Open Days. Sibling discounts are also available at schools, which are ideal for parents who plan to send more than one child to the same school. In addition, scholarships are offered by several schools to attract students to enter secondary or pre-university levels.  

Take advantage of these fee waivers, discounts and scholarships offered by international schools for the 2024 school year! For more information on current offerings, please visit this page.


Education Destination Malaysia’s Fee Calculator is designed to help you calculate the estimated cost for your child’s school fees annually or throughout their schooling years. Use the Fee Calculator today! 

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