Elite private school cuts fees 15 per cent

St Peters Lutheran College has slashed its fees by 15 per cent and Stuartholme has refunded most clubs and sports charges to help parents hit by the pandemic.

Head of College, Mr Tim Kotzur, said St Peters was "acutely aware that these are challenging times for our families''.

"For many in our community there is uncertainty around employment, business disruption and household finances,'' Mr Kotzur said.

"The college is committed to supporting our community through the current COVID-19 situation.

"We aim to achieve this through a combination of actions to support our students and their families.

"To assist all our families at this time, tuition fees for term 2 have been reduced by 15 per cent.

"St Peters is also offering other ways to assist our families whose financial situation has been impacted by the current pandemic, such as instalment payments or deferred payment of fees. "We will consider each family's situation on a case-by-case basis.

"We are a community, and together we will get through this challenging period, and come out the other side even stronger.''

Stuartholme has refunded most of the co-curricular fees parents had paid in term 2 in a gesture of support amid the current tough times.

The moves by the two schools come after a parent at Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie) blasted management for not cutting quarterly fees, despite moving to online learning and reducing employee numbers.

Stuartholme, which has a large number of boarders, last year also cut fees for rural families who were hit by the recent drought.



"All schools structure their fees differently. Our fees do not include co-curricular sports and clubs. Instead parents only pay if their daughter participates,'' the school said in a statement to Westside News.

"We have been able to refund most of these costs to parents for Term 2.

"If any of our families are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, they are encouraged to speak with our finance department.''

A handful of Queensland private schools have slashed their fees to help parents struggling on lower, or no, incomes because of coronavirus.

However, that was because some included payment for co-curricular activities in their overall fees.



Quarterly charges for other major westside private schools have not been cut, although all of them said they were offering payment plans or other financial support to those who needed it.

Marist College Ashgrove business manager, Steve Porter, said it was waiting on Government advice on when - or if - childen would be allowed back at school for the rest of term 2 before making a decision on cutting fees or co-curricular charges.

"Currently we are taking the approach at the college that any parent or guardian who is under stress, we will suspend fees for three months or up to six months if their situation does not improve,'' Mr Porter said.

"After that, if they are still facing problems, then we will come to an arrangement.

"There has been no decision at this point on a reduction in term 2 fees because we want to see how it plays out.

"We may take a view on the costs of sports, and so on, if students cannot return for the rest of the term.''

The college, which has a large number of boarders, has sent them home and is not charging boarding fees, although tuition fees for boarders still must be paid for term 2.

During the drought it cut fees for boarders who came from rural families.

Kildare Ministries, which covers Australian Catholic schools such as Brigidine College in Indooroopilly, urged those parents who still were in a position to pay full fees to do so.

"We ask that families who are still able to meet their fee obligation continue to do so,'' it said on its website.

"It is important that the College remains financially viable and your regular contribution to school fees, if you are able, will be an essential element.

"There will be families in our schools who are now facing a lack of employment security or who are already unemployed, with far reaching consequences on the family income and lifestyle.

"We would like to categorically assure you, that if this is the situation you find yourself in, your child is valued above all else and her enrolment is not in jeopardy.

"What is important is that your child's education remains stable and secure and that as a community we stay connected through open lines of communication, albeit electronically for a while.

Brigidine principal, Brendan Cahill, said tuition fees for term 2 "will operate as they do normally''.

"We acknowledge the difficult economic circumstances many families now find themselves in and we would encourage any family facing difficulty with tuition fees to discuss this with the school,'' he said.

"In accordance with the mission, values and ethos of our school, we remain committed to providing an education to all of students, regardless of their financial circumstances.''



St Aidan's Anglican Girls' School principal, Toni Riordan, said it was offering deferred payment options.

"The continuity of education for our students is our highest priority. With this in mind, we want to work with families who may need extended or deferred payment terms and/or financial assistance,'' Ms Riordan said.

"Each circumstance will differ, and we are ready find the best solution for individual situations.''

The Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association, which includes Clayfield College, Brisbane Boys' College and Somerville House, wraps co-curricular fees into its overall quarterly fees, which are unchanged.

PMSA Chief Executive Officer Sharon Callister said it "understood the financial impact this virus may have on our school families''.

"We care deeply for everyone in our school communities - our staff and our school families,'' Ms Callister said.

"We already offer a range of payment options for families. During this difficult time, we encourage families who have serious financial concerns to get in touch and discuss their individual situation with their school.''


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Ambrose Treacy College principal, Chris Ryan, said the school "always worked relationally with our parents regarding their capacity to pay fees''.

"We remain committed to our ethos as we facilitate ATCLearns@Home in partnership with our parents and students," Mr Ryan said.

Catholic Education schools in the Brisbane archdiocese have offered a 10 per cent reduction in fees for all students for term two.

QCEC executive director Lee-Anne Perry urged struggling families to come forward.

"Catholic schools are acutely aware of the hardships being experienced right across the community and are doing all they can to facilitate the ongoing education of all students," Dr Perry said.

Mt St Michael's College at Ashgrove was contacted for comment.

Independent Schools Queensland executive director David Robertson said schools were under huge pressure.

"The majority of independent schools rely heavily on financial contributions parents make through fees to operate and pay their staff," he said.

"We anticipate many independent schools will come under increasing financial pressure as the economic fallout from this public health crisis deepens over the coming months and will be working with governments on the way forward."



Originally published as Elite westside private school cuts fees 15 per cent