Thursday, 27 September 2012

Unpaid Levies | Student Assistance Scheme

Department of Education Media Release

27 September 2012


Deputy Secretary Department of Education

What do government schools do to recover unpaid levies by parents?

Levies are an important component of educational programs and are allocated towards the costs of learning materials, stationery and school services such as schools excursions, visiting performances and school camps.

Individual students are not disadvantaged educationally as a result of unpaid levies.

The State Government has a number of strategies to lower school costs for low income families, including assistance in the purchase of spectacles and uniforms.

Low income families can apply for assistance under the Student Assistance Scheme (STAS). If eligible, students are exempt from paying levies.

Schools are responsible for the management of levies and a register of unpaid levies is not kept by the Department.

Levies are set by individual schools, each school community has in place its own strategies to collect outstanding levies including implementing more flexible payment options.

Parents are now advised of a lump sum at the start of the year and are not constantly being asked to pay extra costs throughout the school year.

Parents are now able to pay their levies in instalments and many parents have taken up this option to spread the payment out over a longer period.

The use of debt collection services to collect unpaid school levies is always a last resort.

Schools work cooperatively with parents to find a means of finalising the debt and it is only when a negotiated solution can’t be found that debt collection may be considered.

Reminders are sent to parents via school newsletters and individual letters may also be sent to parents.

If schools decide to use debt collection services, it is done so on the basis that it will not influence the debtor’s credit rating.

It is up to individual schools to decide whether to use debt collection services, and figures on this are not kept centrally by the Department.

How many students are recipients of the Student Assistance Scheme in government and non-government schools and what are the costs of this service?

The total number of current approvals for the 2012 Student Assistance Scheme is 28,284.
The number of Student Assistance Scheme approvals that apply to government schools is 25,482.
The number of Student Assistance Scheme approvals that apply to non-government schools is 2,802.
The total cost of the Student Assistance Scheme for 2012-13 is $4.695 million.

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