Policies | Program Fees

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This post looks at policy relating to fees that might be charged in addition to tuition: late fees, deposits, field trip fees, supply fees, and more.

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The cost of childcare doesn’t end at what you charge for a student to be in your care – you must also consider if you’ll have any fees, such as activity fees, late fees, or enrollment fees. You don’t have to charge any fees – you could roll them into tuition and expect one lump payment – but it’s imperative that you know what these costs are when preparing your budget and setting your tuition.

Having fees is mostly a matter of preference, depending on what services you offer. For example, if you are a full-day-only program that provides lunch and snacks, you might choose to add the cost of meals into tuition. However, if you have a variety of options – like a half-day option or snack-only option – you might charge a fee for each of those items, creating an almost a la carte menu for families to customize. If you’re going to charge fees, be upfront about it. Don’t tell parents that childcare is only $20/day if you have $30/day in mandatory fees. Tell your customers where their money is going.

Here are some fees that many early learning programs tend to charge:

  • Enrollment fee— A fee that ‘holds’ a spot in a program while families complete paperwork; basically, payment that proves intent to enroll
  • Activity fee— A fee that goes toward class experiences or field trips
  • Meal/Snack fee— A fee that goes towards meals and snacks provided by the school
  • Materials fee— A fee that goes towards ‘consumable’ items, such as paper, glue, or crayons
  • Late/returned payment fee— A fee for tuition that’s paid late and/or is unable to be processed (such as a returned check)
  • AM Care/PM Care fee— A fee that covers the cost of care in the early morning or late afternoon, outside of ‘typical’ hours

Where To Include

At Playvolution HQ, we recommend programs have three handbooks–a Parent Handbook, a Staff Handbook, and an Operating Handbook. Consider adding this policy to your Operating Handbook.


  • If you’re taking part in any sort of subsidy program, ensure that you understand what those subsidies cover – for example, they might only pay for tuition, not field trips. How will you expect families to pay for fees that subsidies don’t support?
  • Ensure that you communicate what fees are non-refundable.

Sample Policies

Disclaimer: These are sample policies intended for use as a guide in policy development. Your program’s policies should be unique to your program and reflect the program’s culture, practices, and the regulations in your area.

Sample One

Returned Payment Fees
All returned checks and declined ACH payments will be charged a $25.00 processing fee.

Delinquent Accounts
A late payment charge of $25.00 per week will be applied to your account until the balance is paid in full. Tuition more than two weeks in arrears may cause the child to be removed from the school until the account is brought current. If legal action is taken to collect delinquent
accounts, parents or guardians are responsible for the payment of all costs associated with the collection of their debt, including but not limited to the following: any collections costs, court costs, applicable service fees, and attorney fees.

Annual Registration & Materials Fee
An annual non-refundable registration fee ($100) is due at the time of registration. An annual non-refundable material fee ($50) is due at the time of registration. Annual registration fees are due March 1st for the Fall Session for continuing students.

Field Trips
Posted fees for field trips must be paid prior to field trip. All children must wear a CMP T-Shirt. T-shirts may be purchased in the office for $10.00.
Carmel Mountain Preschool, California, USA

Sample Two

A $100 non-refundable registration fee and $35 non-refundable supply fee is due at the time of registration. Thereafter, the annual registration fee ($100.00) is due in August. Your financial obligation begins when you accept the enrollment by completing and signing the enrollment/admission agreement. Your signature on the enrollment agreement obligates you for two week tuition fees whether your child attends or not.
University of North Florida Preschool, Florida, USA

Sample Three

ALL students will be assessed a non-refundable registration fee of $200 at the time of registration. The registration fee will cover the cost of field trips.
Beach Day School, Virginia, USA

Have a Parent, Staff, or Operating handbook you’d like to share with us for use in our policy samples? You can upload PDFs here.

Thoughts on this topic? Share them in the comments, we’d love to know what you think.

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