10th grade reservation fee at Hanoi's private schools peaks at $930

By Thanh Hang   March 10, 2024 | 04:53 pm PT
10th grade reservation fee at Hanoi's private schools peaks at $930
Parents and students check the exam room number before the 10th-grade entrance exam in Hanoi in June, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Tung Dinh
Private high schools in Hanoi have announced their enrollment plans and the fees required, with a reservation fee ranging up to VND23 million (US$931) per student.

More than 100 private high schools in the city are vying for nearly 30,000 10th graders.

By March, many schools have announced their enrollment plans and the fees required. Apart from tuition fees and other initial costs for uniforms, facilities, semi-boarding services, and transportation, several schools are asking parents to pay an enrollment fee or a reservation fee, which will later be deducted into other fees.

This fee, often seen as a "deposit" by parents, may not be refundable if the student decides not to attend the school.

The fees vary widely and are set by the schools themselves.

These enrollment and reservation fees have remained a controversy in Hanoi for years, as it is not regulated by the education ministry.

However, many private schools argue that as businesses, they can negotiate these fees with parents.

Currently, Archimedes Academy in Dong Anh District has the highest temporary enrollment fee at VND23 million, alongside a monthly tuition fee of VND8 million.

Other schools with reservation fees staying over VND10 million include Ly Thai To, Newton, Luong The Vinh, Sentia, Hanoi Academy, and Vietnam - Australia School, Hanoi, with their monthly tuition fees ranging from VND7 million to VND20 million.

Some schools, like Vietnam - Australia School, Hanoi, offer a 100% refund if a student transfers at the end of the academic year or 50% if they leave after the first semester.

Hanoi Academy also promises a full refund if a student studies for at least a year and gives no refund for those who leave earlier or decide not to attend.

Archimedes Academy and Luong The Vinh, meanwhile, will not refund the enrollment fee if a student decides against attending.

In 2018, the Hanoi Department of Education and Training requested private schools not to collect these fees, but the practice has continued.

A private school representative, who wants to remain anonymous, said that the deposit requirement helps limit the number of insincere applications, making the enrollment process more manageable and encouraging families to be more committed to their choices.

In Hanoi, the race to public high schools has always been highly competitive due to a lack of schools.

For the 2023-2024 school year, around 105,000 ninth graders applied for the entrance exam but public high schools across the city only accepted a total of 70,000.

The situation is much more severe in the inner-city area, where almost 45,000 students registered for the exam while public schools there admitted fewer than 22,000. In suburban areas, 60,000 students competed for 48,000 slots in public schools.

Therefore, well-known private schools often receive early attention from parents looking to secure a spot for their children through deposits.

Nguyen Ngoc Phuc, vice principal of Tran Duy Hung Secondary School, advises parents to place deposits at only one or two schools, based on their child's academic ability and the family's financial situation.

The official 10th grade enrollment plan for public schools in Hanoi is expected to be announced this month.

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