Apply Now For School Fee Exemptions



A significant number of South African parents are facing difficulties in covering their children's school fees, primarily attributed to escalating unemployment rates and the overall increased cost of living. This predicament presents a substantial challenge for public schools, adversely affecting their budgets.



The spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education, Elijah Mhlanga, is urging parents to apply for school fees exemption. Mhlanga clarified that within the basic education sector, schools fall into two distinct categories: fee-paying schools and non-fee-paying schools.

Fee paying schools are where you pay fees to put your child in school and non-fee-paying schools are schools where fees are not required at all.

Schools categorized under Quintiles 4 and 5 are considered fee-paying schools, necessitating parents to contribute fees for their children's education. On the other hand, non-fee-paying schools, falling within Quintiles 1, 2, and 3, are situated in economically challenged areas, and parents are not mandated to make fee payments.

Despite parents' dedication to meeting school fee obligations, various circumstances may impede their financial capacity to do so. Mhlanga underscores the significance of open communication between parents and schools.

It is recommended that parents proactively communicate any challenges they encounter in paying fees before schools initiate contact regarding outstanding fee notifications.

In response to the financial challenges experienced by some parents, Section 39 of the South African Schools Act outlines a procedure for seeking exemption from school fees. The updated guidelines for this process incorporate:

School Fees Exemption Application Process 

Parents who cannot afford to pay school fees must apply to the School Governing Body (SGB) for conditional, partial, or full exemption from paying school fees. Application forms can be obtained from the SGB through the school principal.

School's Responsibility

 Public schools are mandated to inform parents about the criteria and procedures for applying for fee exemptions. They must also assist parents in the application process.

Timely Decision 

The SGB must inform the applicant of the outcome of the application in writing within 7 days after assessing the exemption request.


If a parent is dissatisfied with the SGB's decision regarding full or partial exemption, they have the right to appeal to the Head of Department within 30 days of receiving the school's decision. Public schools are responsible for assisting parents in lodging appeals.

Active participation in school meetings discussing the cost of school fees and exemption criteria is vital for parents. Notably, the law expressly forbids school management from preventing children's access to education, withholding school reports, or withholding transfer certificates solely based on outstanding fees that parents are unable to pay.

Comprehending and utilizing the existing mechanisms for fee exemptions ensures that every child has the opportunity to access quality education, irrespective of their family's financial situation.

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