When exactly do school subsidies take effect? An expert advises

"Now my thing is, why do we then apply for subsidy if we are still being held liable for the first 7 months of school fees."
"Now my thing is, why do we then apply for subsidy if we are still being held liable for the first 7 months of school fees."

The issue of school subsidies can be painful enough for parents, but when schools make it harder, it's often the students who lose out. 

This parent was struggling and reached out to us for answers. We had an expert respond: 

Dear Parent24,
I have been applying for school subsidy every year since 2005.
In the beginning of every year, we apply. We only receive feedback in July/August. Then the school informs you with a statement that you are still liable for the full monthly school fees since January, after getting a subsidy, and that you only qualify for the last 4/5 months. If you do not pay, they hand you over to the attorneys by November.
Now my thing is, why do we apply for a subsidy if we are still being held liable for the first 7 months of school fees? We apply because we cant afford it.
I just feel that if you apply for a subsidy, it is for the whole year, not only the few months that is left after getting confirmation that you are granted a subsidy.
 - Anonymous

Also see: ‘Ridiculed in front of my kids’: Readers share that schools still withhold reports

Dear Anonymous,
The SGB (school governing body) has to calculate as from the beginning of the year or when your financial situation changed. The school cannot predict when your financial situation will change. If you are unemployed, where do they expect you to find the funds to pay for the months they now demand fees for?  
There is no closure to application. Schools are using the 28 Feb each year as final deadline for submission of exception or reduction in fees as an administrative logistic tool for those parents who know they must apply and get as many applications completed, as schools have to submit twice a year (March and Nov) to the DoE the numbers of learners exempted or receiving reduction in fees. 
Many parents do not know their rights to this application if they cannot afford the "voted" fees in a Public Fee Paying School.

The regulation states that the SGB must acknowledge your application within 7 days of receiving it. The SGB thereafter has 30 days to make a decision, not months like many do.

Many school SGBs only convene once a term so by the end of the term in which you submitted an application you should have results. Unfortunately and sadly, in so many cases this does not  happen. 

Also read: Withholding school reports, for any reason, is against the law

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the decision the SGB has made on your application, you may appeal your case in writing to the SGB and the District managers with 30 days. If you are still not satisfied thereafter you may appeal further to the MEC of Education of your Province.

In your case as it seems, you should be granted the reduction or exemption for the entire year. 
Note: I wish to emphasis to all, that even if you are exempted from paying fees, a voluntary school fee for at least an amount of R50 - R100 should be paid toward the school fees per month.

Please remember that the DoE does not reimburse the "School Fee" that is charged by your school for your child in full, but a mere portion of that.

Schools are forced by the SASA to raise funds to maintain the school through the means of charging school fees and fund raisers.  

Every parent should be involved at their child's school in some way or other. This will stop the minority of parents or staff from making decisions not suitable for the majority of parents and learners at the school. Voluntary services by parents is regulated in the SASA. 
Kind regards,
Sue Larkan: Tabansi

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