Government’s programme offers a lifeline to parents

Johannesburg- All parents want to provide their children with quality education but the costs of education can be a big barrier to achieving that dream.

The government’s school fee exemption is a mechanism to assist parents or guardians in accessing quality education for their little ones, irrespective of financial difficulties.

Besides the option of sending your child to a no-fee school, parents who have children in fee-paying schools have an option to apply for a fee exemption depending on eligibility. What is meant by fee exemption? This basically means total, partial and sometimes conditional exemption from the payment of school fees.

The Legal Resource Centre (LRC) says you can either be eligible to be exempted fully, partially or conditionally, depending on your personal and financial circumstances. “Full exemption is granted as a financial exception to a parent/guardian because of his/her qualifying for automatic exemption after submitting all required documents for an application to the school governing body (SGB).

“Partial exemption is granted as a financial adjustment to a parent/guardian in terms of which he/she is liable for the payment of only a portion of the school fees,” says the LRC. It also states that conditional exemption is granted to parents/ guardians who qualify for partial exemption but still cannot pay the reduced amount due to personal circumstances. The law outlines the process to follow in order to qualify for fee exemption.

First, you must submit to the school your application together with proof of your monthly income and expenses and other required documents to qualify for a fee exemption. Once the application has been processed, the SGB is required to arrive at a decision within 30 days after receiving the application. The SGB will inform you of its decision (in writing) within seven days of having taken a decision.

The decision, according to Government’s programme offers a lifeline to parents The government has a school fee exemption programme to help struggling families who may not be able to pay for the education of their children. /  Bongiwe Mchunu A guide to school fee exemptions the LRC must state which exemption category you qualify for based on the information you would have supplied.

Which fee exemption do I qualify for? The LRC provides the following pointers:

• If the school fees at your child/children’s school are 10% or more of your total income, you will qualify for a total exemption. You will not pay any fees.

• If the fees of your child/children are between 3.5% and 10% of your total income, you qualify for a partial exemption. You will only pay a certain amount.

• Conditional exemption will differ based on financial and personal circumstances. You may be exempted from fees or part thereof for a certain period or on certain conditions.


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