Wednesday 21 February 2024 (UAE)

Private school tuition fees in Dubai and UAE

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Private school tuition fees and increases in Dubai and the UAE

KHDA Dubai rules according to their School Fees Framework allow private schools to charge parents a holding deposit to secure a place once offered. This is non-refundable in most circumstances, and can be up to 20% of annual fees for existing students, and up to 30% for new students registering or enrolling at a school. Do not believe school terms and conditions that imply the fee is refundable. Many schools omit mentioning the fee is non-refundable or mislead parents by saying things like the security deposit is refundable (it is but it's a different fee, and is refundable when a student leaves a school, not if a family changes their mind about enrolling a child). Mind the gap.

School fees are regulated by the educational authority in each emirate, with overall federal regulation by the UAE Ministry of Education (MOE), which occasionally conflicts with emirate based authorities for example with the KHDA in Dubai (Knowledge and Human Development Authority) for 2010-2011 fee increases. ADEC (ADEK from 2017) regulates fees in Abu Dhabi (includes Al Ain and Al Gharbia). The KHDA regulates fees in Dubai. The SEZ (SPEA from 2018) regulates fees in Sharjah. Other emirates follow the MOE rules. School fee increases are governed by legislation and guidelines provided by the education authorities.

General information about school fees in Dubai and the UAE

Private schools in Dubai charge fees of anywhere between AED 5,000 at the cheapest schools, and over AED 100,000 per year at the most expensive schools per student, depending on the quality of the facilities, staff salaries, and how much profit the owner wants to make. Expat residents have little choice in paying fees for their children as UAE government run schools are restricted to Emirati citizens only (with occasional exceptions - usually for expat GCC or Arab families). Home schooling in UAE is about the only realistic option for expats wanting to avoid paying school fees.

Private school fee increases permitted by UAE education authorities
Academic Year Abu Dhabi Al Ain Al Gharbia Ajman Dubai
Fujairah RAK Sharjah UAQ Notes
2019-2020         Max 2.07% (or more)          
2018-2019         Frozen (DEC)          
2017-2018         2.4-4.8%          
2016-2017         3.2-6.4%          
2015-2016               3-10% (40%)    
2014-2015       10% 1.74-3.48% 10% 10% 2-5% 10% MOE permits 10% annual (2008)
2013-2014 5-25% 5-25%     No increase     5-10% requested    
2012-2013 <9%       3%-6%+          
2011-2012 ~6%       0% (MOE 10%)          
2010-2011         Frozen (MOE 10%)     15-30%   MOE-KHDA conflict in Dubai
2009-2010         5-16% (MOE 10%)          
2008-2009 10% 10%   10% 8% (MOE 10%) 10% 10% 10% 10% MOE permits 30% over 3 years
2007-2008         0-16%          

School fees in UAE

This page has Dubai school fee information, and general UAE school fee information. See also:

Government school fees in UAE

Almost all government schools follow the UAE Ministry of Education (MOE) curriculum, which is mostly taught in Arabic. Expat children can (sometimes) attend government schools. The rules change occasionally regarding permission to attend a government school. As far as we know, students must be Muslim. [Check] Possible exceptions for teachers' children attending Latifa Girls and Rashid Boys schools in Dubai.

Education is free for UAE citizens at public or government schools. For expats attending public schools, school fees were set at 6,000 dhs per year for all grades from September 2007 (previously they were 3,000-6,000 depending on the grade). Unless we've misunderstood the news from 05 July 2007, and the fees really are just for student uniforms.

Assistance with school fees in the UAE

Parents looking for financial assistance should try asking at the school first - they might help with payment rescheduling, or suggest organisations that could help. Or try contacting ADEC in Abu Dhabi or the KHDA in Dubai - they won't offer financial assistance themselves as far as we know, but might have suggestions for where to go.

School fee payment by credit card installments and cashback offers (2017, 2018, 2019)

Several banks in the UAE offer credit card instalment plans for school fee payments, and/or cashback offers if you use your credit card to pay the fees. Usually the instalment plans are 12 months or less with 0% interest but a processing fee is charged. Cashback offers usually require a minimum monthly spend, have a montly limit, and might be restricted to premium credit cards (the ones that have a high annual fee). Not all schools accept credit card payments so check with the school first before getting too excited. Also some schools have set up their own deals in partnership with banks or other finance companies, for example GEMS schools and Najm. Alternatively, check with bank and school if you can pay monthly instalments by PDCs (post-dated cheques).

VAT on school fees in UAE

VAT rate is 5%, introduced 01 Jan 2018 in the UAE, applicable to most goods and services provided in the UAE.

"Qualifying Educational Institutions" are zero-rated for VAT in the UAE, meaning no VAT is paid on "educational services" supplied by those institutions. That group of institutions includes schools and nurseries (private and public). Also included are universities or tertiary institutes receiving more than 50% of funding from the UAE government, or 100% owned by the UAE government.

"Educational Services" includes tuition fees, exam fees, books and other reading material (digital or print). Not included are school uniforms, stationery, electronic devices (tablets, laptops, computers, etc), other materials, food and drink, extra-curricular activities such as school trips (although school trips directly related to the curriculum are VAT exempt).

Course related books purchased from a school are exempt from VAT, but if the same books are bought from a commercial bookshop then VAT must be paid.

School bus transport fees are exempt from VAT because they come under the "Domestic Passenger Transportation" VAT exemption from the UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA). However, petrol, maintenance, vehicle and parts purchases are not exempt from VAT, so school bus transport operators will probably try to increase charges anyway.

Student accommodation, for example at boarding schools, is exempt from VAT because it is regarded as part of the VAT exempt "Residential Accommodation" category, not the VAT-payable "Serviced Accommodation" category.


School fees in Dubai

Registration and admission fees in Dubai Schools (KHDA)

April 2012: This information supplied by the KHDA1 which applies only to schools in Dubai, not other emirates, although similar regulations might be in effect.

Advance payment of school tuition fees and fee payment deadlines in Dubai and the UAE
Registration, admission, and application fees in Dubai

School fee increases in Dubai

Dubai school fee increases 2019-2020
Dubai school fee increases 2018-2019
Dubai school fee increases 2017-2018
Dubai school fee increases 2016-2017
Dubai school fee increases 2015-2016
Dubai school fee increases 2014-2015
School fee increases in Dubai 2013-2014

Closed or not KHDA licenced schools checked Apr -Jun 2013

KHDA 2013-2014 school fee updates Apr-Jun 2013

Schools with fee increases 2012-2013 to 2013-2014

School fee increases in Dubai 2012-2013
School fee increases in Dubai 2007-2012
KHDA school fee freeze March 2010
May 2010 Dubai school fee increases



  1. School Fees Framework, Knowledge and Human Development Authority, 2012.
Last update Tuesday 29-Oct-2019. Page development 5C.
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