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 School Fees Policy

Introduction

At St Catherine’s Primary School we are committed to providing a Catholic education to all enrolled children.   The St Catherine’s Community accepts that fees are a critical form of revenue for the school and that prompt payment of all fees is the responsibility of all parents/carers of St Catherine’s students. The fees and levies collected at St Catherine’s are essential in providing a high quality of education for students, and are used for the following purposes:·         

  • provide resources, materials, facilities and equipment       
  • provide teaching, administrative and ground staff       
  • maintain buildings, grounds and other facilities. 

This school fee policy aims to:        

  • outline to families the expectations, responsibilities and arrangements for the collection of school fees
  • support families experiencing changed and difficult financial circumstances to maintain their child’s/children’s enrolment at the school.  

Information about our school fees is provided in the following ways:          

  • on the school website
  • at enrolment interviews
  • during Term 4, the following year’s fees are advised in writing to all enrolled families
  • on request. 

 Payment of Fees

The acceptance by parents/carers of a position at St Catherine’s assumes the ability to pay fees in full by the due date. 

Various payment options are available, with the school’s preference being BPay, Direct Debit or automatic monthly credit/debit card payments.  

School fee billing procedure

  1. An account of full fees and levies will be issued by the school in Week 2/3 of each term. The account will be payable within 14 days of the date of issue.  
  2. Reminder notices will be sent to parents/carers with an outstanding account past the due date of the relevant term account. Outstanding accounts are those that are not fully paid, or where Direct Debit or credit card arrangements do not fully cover the fees.
  3. Any arrangements to vary the conditions for payment must be made through the Principal, and may involve discussions with the Parish Priest or his representative.
  4. Parents/carers with accounts outstanding at the end of the Term will be contacted by the Finance Secretary, Principal or their representatives.
  5. Should the account remain outstanding, the school will contact the parent/carer to organise a meeting with the Principal, at a mutually agreeable time.  The meeting will include a discussion of the issues surrounding fee payment and to reach an agreement on payment conditions. The outcome of the meeting will be confirmed in writing to the parent/carer.
  6. If the parent/carer does not communicate with the Principal about the outstanding account, the Principal will decide the necessary action, which may include referral to the Parish Finance Committee or referral to a debt recovery agency.   

School Fee Procedure - New School Term

  
STEP
SCHOOL ADMIN PARENT/CARER
1 School Fee Account is issued to parent/carer by e-mail or mail.   Full fee payment is due within 14 days. If paying by direct debit or credit card, ensure the amount of periodical payment covers the account in full.*
Review outstanding accounts.  Overdue reminder notices sent to parents/carers with outstanding debt or whose direct debit/credit card arrangements do not fully cover the fee. Make full payment immediately, or adjust direct debit/credit card arrangement to ensure outstanding debt is finalised by the end of the current school year. 
Contact parent/carer by mail or phone, to set up a compulsory payment schedule immediately to ensure the outstanding debt is finalised by the end of the current school year.   Meet the compulsory payment schedule immediately, or adjust direct debit/credit card arrangement to ensure outstanding debt is finalised by the end of the current school year.
Letter sent to parent/carer requesting a meeting with the Principal to discuss the issue of the outstanding debt, at a mutually agreeable time.   Arrange a meeting with the Principal to discuss the issue of the outstanding debt, at a mutually agreeable time.
5
Principal and parent/carer to discuss the issues surrounding outstanding debt and to determine payment conditions to ensure outstanding debt finalised by end of current school year.  Attend meeting with Principal, discuss issues surrounding outstanding debt and commit to payment conditions to ensure outstanding debt is finalised by end of current year.
6 Letter sent to parent/carer to advise that account may be placed into the hands of a debt collection agency** if no payment made immediately to finalise account. Respond with full payment within 7 days of date of debt collection letter.
7 If no response within 7 days, contact debt collection agency.  Send letter to parent/carer advising date the account will be placed into the hands of the debt collection agency.** No further contact to be made with the School regarding the outstanding account.   All negotiations for payment must now be made with the debt collection agency.**
 

*Where a parent/carer finds themselves in financial difficulty due to changed financial circumstances, an Application for Fee Concession can be made under the School’s Fee Concession Procedure. 

** Where an outstanding debt is referred to the School’s debt collection agency, an agency fee will be immediately charged to the family fee account. All legal expenses and costs incurred by the School that are associated with the collection of the outstanding debt will be charged to the family fee account. The parent’s/carer’s credit rating may also be affected and listed as a default account with Veda Advantage, the largest credit reference agency in Australia.  

Transferring/leaving students

We appreciate that changing family circumstances will sometimes require that a student transfer to another school. Fees will be payable for the whole of the term in which the enrolment is terminated, except in cases where the Principal determines that fair notice is given or that fair notice was impractical. 

Non-Payment of Fees

On rare occasions, parents/carers fail to pay their account, do not respond to reminder notices and do not contact the school to make alternative arrangements. In these instances, the school is reluctantly forced to consider engaging the services of the school’s professional debt collection agency and may involve the instigation of legal action.  

The matter then effectively passes out of the school’s control and all negotiations for payment must then be made with the debt collection agency. The parent’s/carer’s credit rating may also be affected and listed as a default account with Veda Advantage, the largest credit reference agency in Australia. 

Any fees incurred by the school in collecting outstanding fees (including fees for dishonoured cheques or debt collection services) will be passed on to the parent/carer concerned.

Fee Concessions

We are aware that, from time to time, some families find themselves in financial difficulty. With this in mind, our intent is that no student will be excluded from our school due to a genuine inability to pay full or even part fees. 

Fee concessions may be considered in cases where a family’s financial circumstances have subsequently changed in such a way as to make fee adjustments necessary. An application for fee concession should be made as early as possible in the billing cycle.  

An application for fee concession is valid only for the current school year. If concessions are required beyond the current year, a new application must be submitted at the commencement of the school year to enable a current assessment of the family’s financial situation. 

Fee concessions are means tested in line with Federal Government Poverty Guidelines. The assessment process takes into consideration all income (including wages, Youth Allowance, all other Centrelink and Child Support payments), as well as housing costs (including rent or mortgage/rates).

 Concession Procedure

  1. Parents/carers wishing to apply for fee concession should do so on the form “Application for Fee Concession" obtainable from the School Office.
  2. Parents/carers requesting concessions must provide evidence of net income (including Centrelink and Child Support payments) and housing costs. Pay slips and Centrelink statements are acceptable evidence of income, and rental receipts or bank statements and rate notices as evidence of housing costs.
  3. Where satisfactory documentary evidence of income and housing costs is provided, a fee concession may be granted without the need for an interview.
  4. At the request of either the Principal or the parent/carer, an interview may take place. At this interview, the parent/carer may present the Principal with other information and evidence that helps to explain their financial status and their ability to meet their commitment to the payment of fees. No allowance is made for repayments or costs associated with items such as holiday houses, luxury cars, investment houses, pools.
  5. The application and/or interview process is aimed at determining a just and equitable fee that is within the parent’s/carer’s ability to pay.
  6. The outcome of the application and/or interview process will be confirmed in writing to the parent/carer.
  7. Once a fee concession is granted, it is essential that this commitment is honoured by the parent/carer in full and on time. If family circumstances change, the school must be informed and new arrangements may be agreed to.
  8. For non-payment of concessional fees, the school will consider engaging the services of the school’s professional debt collection agency and may involve the instigation of legal action.