Refusal to Pay Public School Fees: What Will Happen?

Many people may wonder what will happen if they don’t pay their school fees. Some think that it is not a big deal, others feel like they are getting charged too much. So what exactly can happen if you don’t pay the fees from a public school?

By not paying school fees, the school may decide to take legal action against the offender or sell the fees to a collection agency. If the agency files charges against the offender, then they can sue them for more and may be allowed to take money from their paychecks or put a lien on the house.

You may wonder what the fees in public schools look like or what else can happen if you don’t pay them. Let’s take a look into what else can happen and how severe things may be getting.

What Public School Fees Look Like

Public School fees have been getting more and more expensive since the Covid 19 pandemic happened. The schools received a lot of assistance, financial and physical. They received a lot of money from the government, state and federal, to help keep them open.

But now that the pandemic has faded slightly, the schools are scrambling to catch themselves financially. The assistance from the government was used all the way from paying teachers’ salaries to paying for breakfast and lunch for the homeless students in the schools.

The schools used much of the stimulus money they were given to get the teachers trained and ready for online learning. It was also used to give the teachers and students more equipment such as webcams, hundreds of $300 Chromebooks, and many different things that the teachers and students needed. Many of the fees have gone up because, during the pandemic, there were no school activities to help collect money for the next school year.

So they are charging more this year because they did not get the money they needed during the pandemic. There are also a lot higher fees because of the supply chain problems. Much of the materials that schools need are unavailable because of supply chain issues and the fact that the products cost more as well.

Now that they are trying to get their feet underneath them again, many schools are charging even more fees than they were before the pandemic. Some have seen a 4.5% increase in fees for four-year colleges. (Source) This can be even worse in public schools.

One mother reported that there were fees of $400 for marching band for her daughter and $200 and $150 for advanced placement classes for her daughter. (Source) This can put a lot of financial strain on many families that have more than one child, and that is not even mentioning the fundraisers.

Punishments for Not Paying Fees

If you do not pay the fees on your school account, then the administration of the school may keep you from graduating. They will tell you that you cannot walk at graduation. They may keep you from having your diploma, or even block access to your high school transcripts. This can be very problematic when it comes to getting into colleges and universities.

Many people believe that these things are discriminatory towards less fortunate families. While they cannot pay for these fees, taking these things away from them may block their progress on the road to success. Some people have even been blocked from registering for classes again or cannot participate in school activities.

This can be demeaning to students who are unable to pay for their schooling due to circumstances that their lives have thrust upon them. If they are homeless, then they probably cannot afford to eat let alone pay six or seven hundred dollars in school fees. One has to wonder what is being done to help students in less fortunate situations.

Unfortunately, restricting access to these things is one of the only ways to force people to pay these fees. Say if a library book is not returned, then if everyone starts doing that, then the library is depleted and the school cannot replace all of those books.

So, the only way to keep this from happening is to incite fees, and the only way to make sure that fees are paid is by restricting access to certain things. It may seem unfair, but it is one of the only ways to keep things from being taken advantage of.

Fee waivers

There are ways to keep from getting fees or to avoid them. To avoid library fees, all you need to do is keep your book in a safe place to keep it from getting damaged and turn it in on the due date. This will keep fees from being imposed on your account from the library. Many of the library books have probably already been damaged but should be kept nice so other people can read them as well.

If you, or your family, are struggling financially then there is a way to keep from having to pay class fees. By talking to your teachers or administrators, they may be able to reduce the fee or get rid of it completely. The administrators may have access to funds that can pay for your class fees, allowing you to participate in class, and have less or nothing to pay for. This is a good way to still receive an education at almost no cost to you.

Another way to help pay for class fees is by getting a grant or a scholarship. These can help you to extensively pay for your classes, materials, and many different things as well. They may also be able to go to your school account and pay for whatever fees show up on the account.

Getting grants and scholarships is one of the best ways to help pay for fees. These grants and scholarships are amazing because they do not need to be paid back at all. Normally all you have to do to get one is to write an essay, do a service project, or something similar.

Another thing you may be able to do is to come up with a multi-payment plan with the school so that you will not have to pay it all at once. This helps to ease the stress of having to pay for all of it at once and gives you a little more freedom to do what you need to with the money you have now.


Collections is a department inside the school or is an outside organization, made for collecting the fees of all the students with outstanding fees on their account before or after the day of the student’s graduation. These departments are allowed to go to court for the school and do take legal action when it comes to unpaid fees.

Sometimes these departments will go to court with the parents or guardians of the students and have the fees be resolved by the court. Sometimes the courts will rule in favor of the school and the families have to pay for whatever the school was demanding. Other times they will rule in the favor of the parents and the parents have to pay nothing if the judge believes the fees are unreasonable.

Collections are the schools’ representation in court and handle the outstanding fees of the student’s accounts. They will also be the ones alerting you to the fees on your account and when they need to be paid. They make sure that the fees are paid on time, or they put restrictions on the students’ accounts until the fees are paid.

Why Schools Charge Fees

Schools charge fees because of all of the things they have to pay for. Many times fees are charged for extracurricular activities such as band, choir, theater productions, and field trips. The fees for these activities will often go to the same department for the next school year, other times they are used to fund the things that the department as a whole needs that school year.

Fees for classes such as woodshop, sewing, auto shop, ceramics, and others, are used to pay for new supplies for the following year or for that school year. The fees in woodshop often pay for the material to build a project, wear and tear on machines, and the many different tools that are needed to make a small cabinet such as a nightstand.

Some of the fees go towards repairs that are needed for the school. Much of the money for repairs comes from the money the school gets every year from the state government, but oftentimes it is not enough to afford all of the repairs that are needed.

Because much of the fees and money from the government go towards the school itself, many teachers use money from their own pockets to pay for supplies for their own classrooms, which is why some teachers ask for a donation of school supplies along with their class fees.

This helps to keep the classrooms running and to keep the teachers in the classroom teaching, instead of leaving to find other work, as most teachers only get paid $47k- $80k a year, minus all of the things that they need to buy for their own classrooms.

How to Determine Fees You Owe

One of the ways to do this is to ask your teacher, counselor, or the person in the main office. These people often have access to school records and can tell you how much you need to pay. Many schools nowadays also have a place online where you can go to find out how much you owe.

Often times it is linked to the school account and everything that is entered in there is automatically downloaded to your account as well. This can be very convenient as you don’t have to talk to anyone about the fees you have to pay. You may even be able to pay the fees online and not have to talk to anyone at the school.

Your teachers should tell you about any fees that go along with the class at the beginning of the year, so you may want to keep track of all of the fees your teachers tell you about so you can have a rough estimate of how much you will have to pay in fees. If you are unable to pay the fees you should talk to your teacher and see if there is a way to have the fee waived.

Some of the time, fees for field trips will also be put into place to pay for busses, food, lodging if needed, chaperones, and sometimes souvenirs. Many of these fees are put into place so that the students can enjoy more of the time that they have at the school. Though it may not seem like it, many of the fees that are imposed, are needed to keep the school running and to make sure the teachers have enough equipment to make the school year the best it can possibly be.

Much of the money used during the pandemic was used to buy online learning equipment so the teachers can still connect with their students. Much of this money goes towards making sure that the students can enjoy their time at school instead of feeling like they are being held prisoner.

Many times the fees result in some restrictions on the students’ accounts. This can be an impediment when trying to get into college as you need your transcripts during the application process. They may keep you from getting your diploma, participating in school activities, or doing other things.

Fees are imposed so that the school can make money during the school year and pay for supplies. Fees are going up lately as the Covid 19 Pandemic made it so that there were no school activities and the schools took in little money during that time. It can be difficult, but there are things set in place to help students who may not be able to pay fees.