True Cost of School Fees in India – Are You Overpaying?

Written By Anshima | Edited By Varsha & Adi | Updated on 15th July, 2024

Are you curious to find out if your hard-earned money is put to good use or if you’re actually overpaying for those school fees? We understand. It feels like a bill is handed to us without any breakdown, leaving us with numerous unanswered questions about schools. But, do not worry, we will help you know how schools decide the big bucks they charge and what you should be checking to make sure you’re not emptying your wallet. It’s not just about the regular tuition fees, there’s a whole bunch of other costs quietly hiding in the background. We’re talking about registration fees, language fees, learning lab fees, transport, meals, stationary, and even those stylish uniforms.

In this blog, we’ll talk about the above parameters to make sure you’re not spending too much on your child’s education. Whether you’re considering top-notch schools in Bangalore or other schools, understanding where your money goes when spending school fees is key to ensuring it’s worth every penny.

Quick Summary

True Cost of School Fees in India – Are You Overpaying?
  1. Tuition Fees
  2. Registration Fees
  3. Transportation Fees
  4. Learning Lab Fees
  5. Language Fees
  6. Meal Plan Fees
  7. Learning resources Fees
  8. Uniforms
  9. Conclusion

1.   Tuition Fees

1.  Tuition Fees

When searching for the right school, it’s important to know not just the total tuition fees but also the breakdown of those costs. By understanding the details, such as registration fees, learning materials, and other expenses, you can make a smart decision that fits your budget. This is becomes really crucial while shifting schools.

Tuition fees are the charges students pay for their academic needs. It’s not just about classes, it includes things like question papers, answer sheets, study material printouts, worksheets, and teacher salaries that help them to learn. A recent survey by the Economic Times revealed that during the pandemic, private schools increased their tuition fees by up to 10% in 2020-2022. 

According to the Economic Times, the estimated annual tuition fees for private schools in tier 1 cities are as follows-

Kindergarten and Nursery tuition fees range from ₹ 60,000 to ₹1,50,000 
Primary school tuition fees range from ₹1,25,000 to ₹1,75,000 
Middle school tuition fees hover around ₹1,60,000-₹1,80,000
High school tuition fees range from ₹1,80,000 to ₹2,20,000

It’s worth noting that tuition fees can differ between tier 1 and tier 2 cities.

2.   Admission Fees

2.  Admission Fees

Admission fees for schools are the money you pay when you enroll your child, covering the cost of getting them into the school. On the other hand, registration fees act like a deposit to reserve your spot in classes. This amount gets added later to the student’s overall tuition fees.

 In certain schools, the Admission fees are split into registration fees and a security deposit. The registration fee secures the spot in the school while the security deposit is usually refundable and acts as a precautionary measure against any potential damage or outstanding dues during the child’s tenure in the school.

Once the admission fee is paid, it serves as an assurance from the parents that their child will enroll in that particular school. It’s a way for schools to confirm student’s commitment to attending their institution.

It is a one-time expense. For many private schools in Tier-I cities, this registration cost typically falls within the range of ₹15,000 to ₹75,000. 

Take, for instance, the renowned NPS, which comes with a registration fee of ₹15,000, securing a spot in the class. On the other hand, for DPS, the registration fee weighs in at around ₹45,000. It all depends on the facilities the school is providing. Typically, it makes up 8% to 10% of the overall school fees.

3.   Transportation Fees

3.  Transportation Fees

The transportation fees may range from 15% to 20% of the total school cost for students who are residing within a 5-kilometer radius.

Consider the example of Primus Public School, where the annual school fees for Grade 1 amount to Rs 1,69,000. In this case, the transportation fees within a 5-kilometer radius are Rs. 36,000, accounting for almost 21% of the total fees. 

Points to be considered before availing of school bus services-

  1. Confirm the radius or distance coverage included in the transportation fee to understand if it aligns with the proximity of your residence.
  2.  Inquire about safety features and protocols implemented in the school buses, such as seat belts, trained drivers, and a female bus attendant present on the bus.
  3. Check if the buses are equipped with CCTV cameras, enhancing overall safety and providing a means of monitoring activities.
  4.  Inquire about the availability of a bus tracking app, which allows parents to monitor the real-time location of the bus and track their child’s journey.
  5. Ask if there are any additional costs or hidden charges associated with the bus service.
  6. It is also essential to inquire whether field trips and excursions are included in the package. 

 In a statement to The Indian Express in 2019, D Shashi Kumar, the General Secretary of the Associated Management of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka, revealed that it costs a minimum of Rs 1,500 per child for transportation to and from school within a 5-kilometer radius. He also highlighted a 15% hike in the salaries of the drivers and the helpers. This insight provides a glimpse of the factors contributing to the transportation fees for students in Bangalore. 

4.   Learning Lab Fees

4.  Learning Lab Fees

The Learning Lab offers after-school tuition and enrichment programs with trained teachers for students from nursery to grade 8. Learning is customized to meet individual needs for those struggling in specific subjects like Math, English, or Science, facing focus challenges, or aspiring to advance in particular areas.  

For Instance, the annual Learning lab fee for Inventure Academy is Rs. 100,000. In which a special educator helps children who have difficulties in learning. In some top schools, it’s called the SEN (Special Education Needs) department. The price to avail of these facilities depends on school to school.

5.   Language Fees

5.  Language Fees

In many schools, EAL (English as an Additional Language) and foreign language classes like French, Spanish, German, etc. are commonly provided, and if you’re investing in those classes, here’s what it involves-

  • Foreign language classes, whether it’s French, Hindi, Mandarin, or Spanish, are led by native or specialized teachers. The school pays these teachers quite well to provide quality instruction in these languages.
  • EAL teachers for each grade 1–8 offer in-class support daily.
  • Grade 9–10 ELLs (English Language Learners) join the IGCSE program for language support, gearing up for the IB program in grades 11 and 12. 

The average fees for most language programs range from ₹40,000 to ₹65,000. It varies depending on the school. The variation in school fees is mostly influenced by factors such as the school’s facilities, the expertise of language teachers, and the additional resources provided for language learning.
Typically, these schools don’t provide Kannada or Hindi as a second language. For more clarity, consider visiting the school in person or making inquiries via telephone.

6.   Meal Plan Fees 

6.  Meal Plan Fees 

Meal plan fees typically include various expenses associated with providing meals to students.

Here’s what the meal plan fees may cover:

  1. Fees may cover the cost of fresh and quality ingredients for preparing meals and support efforts to plan nutritious menus that meet the dietary needs of students.
  2. This includes salaries for the kitchen staff, chefs, and other personnel involved in meal preparation and service. 
  3. The cost of running the dining halls, cleaning supplies, and other operational needs
  4. The cost associated with waste disposal and recycling programs.

For a better idea of meal costs, consider Inventure Academy, where the annual meal fee is Rs. 61,000. Similarly, at Bangalore International, you can get a meal for Rs. 34,200. 

7.   Learning Resource Fees

7.  Learning Resource Fees

These days schools utilize a variety of learning resources, including digital platforms, interactive software, educational apps, e-books, multimedia presentations, and virtual simulations like computer-generated real-life scenarios for learning and training, in addition to the traditional resources like textbooks, chalkboards, and printout materials.

In lots of schools, they split the Learning Resource Fee into two parts: 

  • Online resource Fees
  • Textbook and stationary Fees

As per the Economic Times online analysis, parents generally spend between ₹4,000 to ₹7,000 annually on textbooks and stationery. Additionally, for online resources, they are charged around ₹3,500 to ₹5,000 which adds to the school fees. 

If you’re not specifically asked for separate payments for books and online resources, it likely means it is combined. It’s a good idea to ask schools for more details on the types of resources they’ll be using and ensure that you’re paying appropriately for what they offer to know the true cost of school fees.

Clarity is the key!

8.   Uniforms

8.  Uniforms

In some schools, the uniform fee and field trip fees are included in the tuition fee. However, in other schools, these fees are paid separately. It’s a good idea to check with the school administration to understand how these costs are structured and whether they are part of the overall tuition or separate expenses. 

The total cost for the complete uniform, covering two sets of formal uniforms, two house T-shirts, socks, shoes, tie, and belt, may fall within the range of approximately ₹3,000 to ₹4,000.


Let’s wrap it up.

As you gear up for the school year, consider the whole picture. Alongside tuition fees, there are other costs like language fees, ESL fees, Learning lab fees, meal fees, transportation fees, and uniform expenses. It is always smart to have a clear understanding of all these costs to ensure you’re well-prepared for a fantastic school journey ahead.
If you’re relocating to Bangalore for your child’s schooling, take your time to ask questions and understand each part of the school fees. This way, it can be easier on your budget. Whether it’s in meetings or at the school office, understanding the true cost of school fees and how your money is being used can give you peace of mind.

Varsha & Adi

Hi, we are Varsha and Adi, and we’re on a mission to help parents make the right choice for their kids’ education. Picking a school is like a 10-year commitment, and we realized parents needed clear, no-nonsense info. That’s why we created Candid Schools, where you can get the real deal on schools without the fancy jargon. Our goal is simple: to give parents the info they need to make the best choice for their little ones.

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