Can a school charge for food, transportation or lodging? This is what the Ministry of Education says

Luc Williams

With the beginning of the year, families seek to adjust their finances and to do so they seek to know, exactly, what expenses will entail the beginning of the school year, since They will not only have to invest in supplies, uniforms and texts, something for which there will be an approximate figurebut they must pay the corresponding tuition, board, transportation, food, among others, which is why it is necessary to create a budget to be clear about the fixed expenses for each school-age child.

To this end, and with the aim of avoiding abuses by educational entities, the Government has defined a limit so that the increase, year after year, is not exaggerated; Similarly, It has stipulated the charges that any private institution can make to parents, which helps guardians avoid surprises that end up affecting their pockets.

According to the Ministry, these new charges and prices must be calculated according to the enrollment and pension regime in which the school is classified; Similarly, The Consumer Price Index (CPI) must be taken into account, which, as of August 2023, was 11.43%.

The other two variables that will affect the values ​​are the permanence rate, which is 0.16%, 0.33% or 0.5%, depending on the classification of the educational center; Finally, the percentage of 0.25, which was established by Decree 1421 of 2017 and which covers establishments that offer inclusive education for students with disabilities.

What are the authorized charges for schools?

In this order of ideas, and taking into account what is contemplated by the Ministry of Education, private schools will only be able to charge, on a mandatory basis, the expenses corresponding to tuition and board, which is necessary to guarantee students’ access to education.

However, there are other periodic charges such as transportation, food and accommodation, which are also authorized, and can only be applied to parents who have voluntarily decided to contract these services with the respective providers or with the institution itself.

Likewise, the ministry authorizes ‘Other periodic charges’ different from those already mentioned, but which must be stipulated in the respective coexistence manual, which must have the approval of the Board of Directors of the schoolof which parents, students and alumni are part.

This is what you should do if a school requires unnecessary school supplies.

Given the constant abuse by some schools, in Colombia has established rules to protect parents’ pockets when purchasing uniforms, supplies and texts. required for the education of their children.

For them, there are certain rules that educational centers must respect, such as not suggesting specific brands of products or suppliers; Likewise, it is not allowed to ask students for inputs such as toilet paper, towels, disinfectant, first aid kit supplies, board markers, garbage bags, among others, which must be facilitated by the institutions.

Similarlyschools cannot require more than two uniforms, one for daily use and another for specific activities; Furthermore, if for any reason the parents cannot afford these expenses, this will not be a reason to prevent the student from entering the institution.

In case something irregular happens, Parents can use different mechanisms to report these abuses.

One of them is to carry outThe respective complaints in the Ministry of Education, the Secretariats of Education and the mayors’ offices. Another way to help guardians report these abuses is through the Ombudsman’s Office.

It should be noted that School members who are caught demanding useless supplies from students may be sanctioned with fines ranging from 50 to 200 current legal minimum wages.


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