Other issues

What fees can be charged for international students?

The Education Act governs the fees that must be paid to the board, if an international student is enrolled in a state school.

Education Act section 4B - Legislation website

The Minister has the power to exempt international students of a particular kind or description from the payment of fees.

Education Act section 4C - Legislation website

International student levy

The Minister also sets the fees boards are to pay to the Crown in respect of international students enrolled in a state school – known as the international student levy (ISL).

Education Act section 4D - Legislation website

International student levy - Ministry of Education website

International student fees

The family of international students must pay a fee which is fixed by the school’s board. The fee must cover the full cost of the student's education. Families can pay the fee in a lump sum or by instalments.

The amount payable is based on the following:

  • The board’s best estimate of the cost of providing tuition in the subject, course or programme for that student.
  • An amount that is, in the board’s opinion, an appropriate reflection of the use of the board’s capital facilities by that student in the course or tuition they are receiving.
  • The international student levy.
  • Any other fees prescribed by the board.

If a board wishes to provide a discount rate for a particular student or group of students, it cannot subsidise this through the operations grant. The board can only use locally raised funds or profit from other international students' fees to cover the discount.

If fees are not paid and tuition is received, the fees may be recovered as debt due to the board.

If a student withdraws from tuition, reimbursements may be made having regard to costs incurred by the school.

Updated: May 2017

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