More elite schools slash fees amid virus chaos
TWO of Queensland's most elite schools have slashed fees by 10 per cent for the second term while others hold firm on charging full tuition costs despite moving online as Queensland's parents are slammed by the economic blow of COVID-19.
Parents paying up to $25,782 at Brisbane Girls Grammar and up to $27,540 at Brisbane Grammar School will have their fees discounted by 10 per cent for Term 2.
"The School has focused on delivering an ongoing quality education and we do not yet know what the Term 2 education experience for the girls will ultimately be," a BGGS statement said.
While Brisbane Grammar School headmaster Anthony Micallef said the decision reflected a desire to support the community in difficult time and was not linked to reduction in operating costs or because of online delivery.
It follows some of Queensland's most prestigious private schools dropping fees by 10 per cent including Matthew Flinders Anglican College, St Joseph's College Nudgee and Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie).
And all 142 Brisbane Catholic Education schools have offered a 10 per cent drop for term 2 fees.
Daisy Hill's John Paul College has cut fees by 25 per cent for Prep - Year 3 students and 15 per cent for Year 4 - 12 students and Toowoomba's Fairholme College has discounted fees by 20 per cent.
St Peter's Lutheran College at Indooroopilly and Springfield have axed fees by 15 per cent citing government restrictions had limited the school from offering aspects of its "educational experience" including sport and activities.
However, other schools continue to charge full tuition costs, urging parents in need to contact the school, and in some cases waiving levies for sporting and other activities that have been cancelled because of COVID-19.
Ipswich Girls' Grammar School and Rockhampton Girls Grammar School are instead working with families on a case-by-case basis.
Prestigious Catholic school St Rita's College said it had offered "a range of fee options" for parents who face financial stress.
A Stuartholme School statement said all schools structure their school fees differently, with co-curricular sports and club charges not included in their tuition fees.
Up to $800 has been deducted in co-curricular fees at the school with all of Term 2 boarding fees reversed ($5,736), with struggling parents advised to contact the school.
Coorparoo's Villanova College has waived the activity levy slashing $315 for Junior School students, $235 for Middle School students, and $218 for Senior School students.
And for families with financial hardship, the school has allowed various payment plans.
St Margaret's Anglican Girls School principal Ros Curtis said the problem with applying a discount across the board is that people "who don't need the discount receive it" but families in need were urged to contact the school with payment plans, bursaries and concessions available.
"Ten per cent or 15 per cent may be too little for some people given their changed circumstances," she said.
"Those concessions might need to be applied not just in Term 2, but Term 3 or Term 4 or even next year, a small discount across the board does not help the people who have lost their source of income."
While top-performing schools PMSA schools, Somerville House, Clayfield College and Sunshine Coast Grammar School hold firm on full-fees, providing support on case-by-case basis.
Somerville House principal Kim Kiepe said there was no reduction of school fees as the "school retains a steadfast commitment" to providing an "excellent educational experience" throughout all areas of schooling, sport and co-curricular activities remotely.
Mrs Kiepe said the school has established a discrete process for financial assistance, for parents who may have lost significant employment or income due to COVID-19.
At St Aidan's Anglican Girls School principal Toni Riordan said continuing to deliver education was the schools "highest priority" would work with families who needed "extended or deferred payments or financial assistance".
Moreton Bay College and Moreton Bay Boys College heads Janet Stewart and Andrew Holmes said the schools were "delivering exceptional remote at home learning" so there would not be changes to fees for term 2 as they work with families in "genuine hardship".
St Laurence's College principal Chris Leadbetter said in order to stay committed "to high quality education", the college would continue to "operate at full capacity" to provide teaching and learning remotely, with fees charged in full.
"We acknowledge the difficult economic circumstances many families now find themselves in and encourage any family facing difficulty with tuition fees to discuss this directly with the school," she said.
Independent Schools Queensland executive director David Robertson said independent schools recognised the hardships families face.
"Schools are supporting families in a range of ways, such as tuition fee discounts, payment plans, bursaries and tailored support for individual families based on their financial circumstances," he said.
Originally published as More elite schools slash fees amid virus chaos