Contact your school
School fees are not compulsory in public schools. So if you're having trouble paying expenses, contact the school and explain you're in financial hardship. The school will talk to you about the options, including:
- Payment plans
- Financial assistance (many schools have specific funds sets aside to cover basic school expenses for families in financial hardship).
In most instances the issue will be resolved easily once you've explained that you're in financial hardship.
Independent and Private Schools
Contact your school as soon as possible and ask to speak to the principal or school financial manager. Explain that you're having difficulty paying fees.
If you're behind in fees, the school can ask your child to leave and/or pursue any outstanding debt from you. Aim to keep paying what you can afford and put an agreed payment plan in place.
When talking to the school ask about:
If the school has a hardship policy, try and negotiate a payment plan that you can afford and confirm it in writing.
Student assistance schemes
In most states and territories there's some form of student assistance scheme that can help families on a low income. Ask your school if they have access to such a scheme.
Waiving the debt
In some cases the school might waive the debt. A school may waive or reduce your fees or debt if:
- you have had a long association with the school; or
- your child brings some academic, sporting or other curricular prestige to the school.
You might even suggest performing some professional or other service for the school in exchange for reducing or waiving the fees or debt.
If you can't afford the fees for the foreseeable future you might need to change schools. Try to negotiate this so it is as painless as possible for your child.