On this page:
- Tuition fees in Poland private schools (and preschools)
- What costs do you have to take into account: tuition and other fees
- Factors affecting private school tuition
- Choosing a school in relation to tuition fees: questions
- Tuition and extra services: examples of private schools
Let's see how it looks in Poland.
Tuition fees in Poland private schools (and preschools)
Tuition fees cover a child’s school education, usually paid in monthly installments. Some international schools, though, have an annual fee. Tuition is one of the most important features that distinguish private schools from public schools—where education is free in Poland.
Tuition is charged in all types of private schools because it’s one of the main sources of the school’s funding. Other sources include:
• cash from registration fees,
• donations and endowments,
• subsidies provided by the government.
The only exception here is schools that carry out educational tasks on behalf of public authorities and thus are wholly maintained by the state. In other types of schools, tuition is required. Thus, when considering a private school for your child, you’ll need to consider how much it costs..
Tuition fees in private schools are not a uniform fee: they can range from a few to even tens of thousands of zlotys a year. The amount depends on many factors, but mostly the education offered and the stage of education at which this is offered (whether it’s a preschool, primary school, or high school).
Factors such as the location of the school (whether it’s in a big city or small town), equipment and infrastructure, the number of employees (especially the number of teachers per student), and the number of foreigners employed, and who runs the school (i.e., whether it’s an entity (natural or legal person) whose activities are profit-oriented, or a foundation or association not intended to make a profit) are also important factors affecting price. Examples of tuition fees in various schools illustrate this.
What costs do you have to take into account: tuition and other fees
The main expenditure is tuition—the fee for your child's school education, usually paid monthly. Sometimes, international fees are given on an annual basis. Tuition is one of the most important features that distinguish private schools from public schools—which are free in Poland.
Also, note: in some schools parents pay tuition fees every month throughout the year (12 months, including holidays), and in others for 10 months, i.e., without summer holidays. This is important to know.
An analysis of several dozen private schools in Warsaw showed that tuition fees range from PLN 700 up to PLN 3300 per month. But most often you see a monthly amount of around or just over 1000 PLN. In some schools, tuition fees depend on the level of education.
In more expensive international schools, tuition fees are given as an annual amount, from 20,000 to 51,000 PLN, of course payable in installments.
Some schools vary the annual amount of tuition depending on whether it’s paid in 10 installments (e.g. PLN 11,800) or 12 installments (PLN 11,900), and the lowest annual fee (PLN 11,000) comes when parents pay the full amount in advance.
Usually, schools are open to various forms of payment plan, offering the possibility of spreading them into other installments.
In addition to tuition, there may be other expenses, though.
The matter of boarding students is handled differently in different institutions. Most often, schools offer meals prepared and brought by catering companies and served either as in a restaurant or as a buffet. Prices are very different, from 11 PLN per day to 6-12 PLN for each meal. Sometimes breakfast and afternoon tea are included in the tuition fee, and only lunch is paid separately. Some schools have their own cafeterias where meals are prepared in place. Generally, you have to take into account the additional costs of feeding your child at school.
This is a one-time non-returnable fee charged when registering a child. After paying it, you’ll know your child has a guaranteed place in the school.
The amount of this fee varies—looking at several dozen private schools in Warsaw showed that the entry fee ranges from 100 to 1500 PLN, but most often it’s about 800-1000 PLN. This is sometimes counted towards the tuition fee, though. There are some very expensive and exclusive schools, where the entry fee includes two elements: one-time fee and an additional/recruitment fee, but these are exceptions.
Additional fees and registration costs
Some schools have additional charges:
• Recruitment fee: 150-400 PLN
• Fee for classes and recruitment interviews: 100 PLN
• Recruitment fee for the trial week: 200 PLN
Factors affecting private school tuition
• The stage of education and the type of private school: the cost of private school depends a lot on the level of education—teaching a child in preschool is cheaper than in primary school, and even more so than high school. Why? Mostly because education requires more technically advanced equipment and better infrastructure, as well as more numerous and specialized teaching staff, the higher it goes.
• Type of school: tuition is not a charge for childcare —it’s paid for education. Thus, for instance, in bilingual schools, where some subjects are taught in a foreign language, these costs are usually higher than in a school that only teaches in Polish. Similarly, an art-focused school will generate higher costs than a general school.
• Educational programming: generally, it should be like this: the more extensive and qualitatively better the educational programming, the higher the price of teaching. In fact, however, often tuition fees are structured so that certain activities of the school are aren’t in its scope and become available as an additional paid service. This, of course, reduces the basic price of teaching, but at the same time means you’ll need to pay extra for other services (e.g., for school transport).
• Prestige and position of the school in the rankings: rankings are another factor that significantly affects the amount of tuition fees. There’s nothing extraordinary about it—a good school enables your child to learn. This will prepare them for further stages of education, at reputable institutes. The prestige of the school is often connected with the quality of teaching, and tends to be of great importance, especially in the case of secondary schools.
• Pedagogical services: psychological and pedagogical assistance, providing learning support, and therapeutic classes are very often mentioned as tuition services. This isn’t a rule, but it definitely affects the amount of tuition and the appeal of a school.
• School location: this matters. Price is influenced by the costs of building a property or renting space for a given institution, so where the school is located is important. These differences result primarily from the disparities in earnings between different regions of Poland. So prices acceptable in Warsaw, Gdańsk and Gdynia, or Kraków may not be acceptable in Bialystok, Koszalin, or Rzeszów.
• How the school is run: In the case of private schools, they may be natural or legal persons (companies), but also foundations, associations, and educational societies or parents' associations. Generally, schools run by private individuals and companies are more expensive than those run by social entities, including denominational ones, because the latter operate as non-profit institutions. However, although this is the case, it doesn’t always translate into tuition fees, as the surplus can be allocated to other noble purposes associated with the activities of the association or foundation. Only in the case of schools run by parents (with less than 70 students) is the tuition fee minimal or void.
• School infrastructure and equipment: in every school, private and public, learning conditions are of great importance and result in students' desire to continue their education. You probably don’t need to convince anyone that learning in clean, spacious, well-equipped rooms, with IT equipment and teaching aids is much more pleasant than when it takes place in an overcrowded and heavily used room. It’s similar with school infrastructure—modern, well-equipped gyms, sports fields, playgrounds, pleasant surroundings—affect the quality of education, but also the cost of tuition.
• Social services: many private schools in Poland offer food—second breakfasts and dinners—and some all-day food and boarding accommodation. This affects the amount of tuition. The quality of prepared meals and their size, as well as the possibility of meals for diabetics and children with special nutritional requirements also affect prices.
• Additional activities: this is a very important factor affecting the amount of tuition. Private schools have a wide range of extracurricular activities, such as language courses, scientific and interest clubs, and sports activities. Many schools offer these classes as part of tuition, but many also charge extra for them. This usually happens when the given classes require the use of specialized equipment, the need to buy admission tickets, or involve trips (e.g. to a water reservoir, to learn sailing).
Choosing a school in relation to tuition fees: questions
We recommend these steps:
• Based on media information, school sources, and the opinions of parents and children, prepare a shortlist of schools that may be appropriate for your child;
• Check what these schools offer: what and how the child will learn, where and in what conditions they will study, who will teach them, how long the child will be looked after, how long the school day is, what extracurricular activities, etc.;
• Find out what the tuition fee, registration fee, and other fees are, as well as exactly what’s included in tuition;
• Determine what you will have to pay extra for;
• Compare the tuition fee with the educational service offered, that is, examine the relationship between what’s offered and what you’ll pay;
• Go to school and verify the information collected;
• Make a choice.
Tuition and extra services: examples of private schools
In one of the international private schools in Warsaw offering the IB Programme, where the amount of tuition fee also depends on the stage of education, kindergarten costs from 28.2 thousand PLN up to 33.3 thousand PLN. Early school education (Grades 1-3) costs 38.4 thousand PLN, and education in Grades 4-6 costs 43.5 thousand PLN. High school education in this school costs 45 thousand PLN for each year. In addition, there’s an entry fee which is two thousand PLN, which is only for preschoolers, while for other children pay four thousand PLN.
What will we get in return? We find the full answer to this question on the school's website:
• Looking after the student from Monday to Friday, from 8am to 4pm;
• Primary school education for general subjects consistent with the Polish core curriculum, enriched with the National Curriculum for England and inspired by the IB Primary Years and Middle Years Programme;
• Extracurricular/optional activities organized by the school, including the independent work of students under the supervision and assistance of a teacher (doing homework);
• Care and advice supplied by a psychologist and school counselor;
• Preventive medical examinations in preschool departments and at every educational stage;
• Sports activities organized by the school as part of physical education lessons, e.g., swimming lessons;
• A set of loaned textbooks and workbooks for compulsory classes;
• Three meals a day: second breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea;
• Transport from home to school and from school to home, up to 20 km away from school;
• Transport to compulsory classes organized by the school.
In addition, we will have to pay for:
• Compulsory group insurance against accidents;
• External public exams, including exams required by the school;
• Childcare after 4pm;
• Additional lessons, including foreign languages, other than those offered as part of compulsory classes by the school;
• Additional optional activities organized by the school after 2pm;
• Additional textbooks and aids for extracurricular activities;
• Sports activities outside compulsory physical education lessons;
• Additional activities during the holidays and vacations, including sports and recreation camps;
• Compulsory school attire, i.e., casual, gala, and sports attire;
• Organization of transport from home to school and from school to home for a student who changed his address during the school year;
• Additional benefits organized at parents' request.
As a side note, it should be noted that the scope of educational services offered here as part of the tuition fee doesn’t deviate from the norm, and although in details it may differ from the services of other schools, it’s quite representative.
Of course, as we have said, the price of education does not have to be so high everywhere. Here are examples:
In one of Warsaw's primary social schools belonging to the Social Educational Society, tuition is 14.2 thousand PLN for each year of education. At this price, the school offers tuition in accordance with the Polish core curriculum and numerous additional classes, including a young explorer club, theatre, art, mathematics, IT workshops, as well as sports classes, except that for an additional pool and judo classes you have to pay: pool - PLN 350 per semester, judo - PLN 150 monthly. The tuition also doesn’t include the prices of cinema tickets or school trips, as well as meals (e.g., lunch is 13 PLN) and child insurance (58 PLN).
Even less expensive is education in another social primary school in Augustów—we will pay 5,040 PLN for a year of study. According to the information that can be found on the school's website, the tuition includes lessons and after-hours club activities.
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