1. School Fees

School Fees

Published on 24 Jan 2017
Essential Information

Caron Lai outlines the various types of fees that international schools typically charge.

School Fees

Cost is among the main concerns for most parents when it comes to deciding whether or not to send their children to an international school in Malaysia. Fortunately for parents, there is a wide range of schools in Malaysia, allowing parents to choose one that is within their budget.

Education at international schools costs a lot more than at public schools, so unless your company is covering the cost, parents are advised to begin their financial planning early.

In addition to tuition fees, international schools may also charge other types of fees. Each school has a different fee structure and may use different terms to refer to the various fees. Therefore, it is important that parents take the time to review and understand the different fee structures and schedules.

Here are the types of fees that schools typically charge.


Application Fee

The application fee is nonrefundable and usually paid upon submission of an application to a given school. Not all schools require payment of this fee. The application fee usually costs RM200 but can go up to RM2,000.


Registration Fee

Also known as 'entrance', 'admission' or 'enrolment' fee, the registration fee is non-refundable and is to be paid upon confirmation of enrolment into a school. This is a one-time charge.



Most schools require the payment of a security deposit upon confirmation of enrolment which usually amounts to the equivalent of one term's tuition fee. The deposit needs to be topped up as your child progresses from one level to the next and is refundable upon your child's graduation or withdrawal from the school.

Parents should take note that in order to receive a refund, they should give the international school a withdrawal notice several months in advance. Failure to do so may result in the forfeiture of the deposit.


Tuition/Term Fee

Tuition or term fees are regular-basis fees to finance your child's ongoing education. The amount varies widely from school to school. The same is true of the payment schedule, which may be annual, quarterly, per semester or monthly. Tuition fees typically increase as your child progresses to higher levels.


School Development Fee/School Building Fund

This is a one-time or annual fee charged by some schools to cover the cost of physical enhancements, restoration and extensions to school facilities. The fee can range from RM5,000 to over RM20,000.


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.


Other Fees

For most schools, the cost of instructional materials, uniforms, meals and field trips are excluded from the tuition fees and are charged separately. Parents should also plan for additional expenses to cover transportation to and from the school, special trips and programmes as well as extracurricular activities.


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.

Do note that some schools offer waivers for early payment or discounts for families when more than one child from the same family has enrolled at the school. Please check with the schools to find out if you are eligible for these or other types of fee reduction. International schools hoping to attract the best and brightest students to their schools also offer scholarships, particularly for higher levels and for the pre-university programmes. While these are few in number, it may be worthwhile to explore if your children qualify for them.

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