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Dec 30 2012

Dubai parents: 'Non-refundable' school re-registration fees can be refunded, clarifies KHDA

By Shuchita Kapur Re-registration fee requested by most Dubai schools is refundable if parents can prove "unforeseen circumstances"
This might come as a respite to parents of Dubai school students who are not sure if they will continue to be in the country next year but have been asked by their wards' schools to put up an advance, 'non-refundable' re-enrolment fees for their kids' continued admission in 2013.


The re-registration fee, being requested by an ever growing number of Dubai schools, is actually refundable if parents can prove that their children can't attend the school due to "unforeseen circumstances," the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has clarified to Emirates 24|7.


Re-registration or re-enrolment fee is applicable to existing students to secure a place for the next year.


Many schools already charge this fee, while some prominent ones have begun doing so this year onward.


Most parents believe that the deposit changed by schools in the city to secure their child's place will be forfeited if they fail to send their wards to the school - whatever might be the reason.


However, according to KHDA, this fee is refundable under certain circumstances.


"These circumstances include, but are not limited to, evidence of family travel to another country, a move to another emirate or any unforeseen circumstances. Such cases may be submitted to KHDA for study," Mohammed Darwish, Chief of Regulations and Compliance Commission (RCC) of KHDA, told Emirates 24|7.


A premier British curriculum school in the city e-mailed a letter to parents a few days ago informing them of this new fee.


"The KHDA has issued new guidelines regarding the admissions and re-enrolment process for private schools in Dubai.


"I am writing to inform you of a change to our school's re-enrolment procedure for the next academic school year.


"In order to secure your child's place for September 2013, we will require a deposit of Dh2,500 by April 30, 2013.


"This deposit is fully adjustable against the first term's fees, but is non-refundable should your child not take up the confirmed place in September 2013," read the letter.

An aggrieved parent, who sent this e-mail to Emirates 24|7, complained about the ever-increasing pressure on the parents.


Parents that this website spoke with were unanimous in their opinion that levying such a charge was unfair, especially with expat life being so unpredictable.


"My colleague, who works in an international bank, was transferred to Africa and lost out the re-registration money he'd paid for his two kids studying in an IB school. They said it was non-refundable," said a parent living in Emirates Living.


"In the cases of both existing and new students, deposits and fees will not be refunded if students choose not to return to school for the next academic year or choose not to take the offered places.


"However, a school may choose to refund the deposit under special circumstances.


"These circumstances include, but are not limited to, evidence of family travel to another country, a move to another Emirate or any unforeseen circumstances. Such cases may be submitted to KHDA for study," KHDA's Darwish told Emirates 24|7.

This is something that is mentioned in the framework, but many parents remain unaware.

"I just thought it was non-refundable. Dubai is such a transient place - people come and go.


"It's good to know that I can get my money back if I have to leave the country due to events that are not in my control," said a James Matthew, an Indian national living in Dubai.

There are some schools in Dubai which do refund the money but only until 1st of June (the last working month for many schools before the summer holidays begin).

For example, a British curriculum school that charges Dh10,000 as re-enrolment fee, states that the re-registration amount can be refunded but only until June 1.

Elaborating on registration and admission fees, the KHDA clarified that for existing students a school may charge up to 20 per cent of the school's tuition fees as a re-registration deposit to confirm the return of existing students in the new academic year.


This deposit should be deducted from the total tuition fees for the academic year in which the admission is being sought.

For new students, a school may charge up to 30 per cent of the school's tuition fees as an admission fee to confirm that selected students will opt to take up the offered places.


This fee should be deducted from the total tuition fees for the academic year in which the admission is being sought.

© Emirates 24|7 2012

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