Turkey’s private school tuitions skyrocket after hikes

Turkey’s private schools exceeded the 57 percent ceiling increase for tuition fees set by the Education Ministry and charged astronomical additional fees such as school services, food, stationery, and clothing. Some schools have charged up to 500,000 liras ($16,560) yearly, while the prices of cafeterias reached 100,000 liras.

Duvar English

Turkey’s Education Ministry set a ceiling threshold for tuition hikes of 56.89 percent in private schools that more than 1.5 million students continue their education.

While some schools have exceeded this threshold, some charge extravagant additional fees such as school services, catering, stationery, and clothing, according to the reporting of the daily BirGün.

In addition to additional fees, this ceiling increase does not apply to the annual tuition fees of students who will start the first, fifth and ninth grades, which are referred to as grade transitions.

According to figures shared by parents who are members of the Private School Parents' Platform, a student studying at a famous college with a 60 percent scholarship is asked to pay a registration fee of 72,000 Turkish liras and a meal fee of 50,000 liras. 

A private school in Aegean İzmir province, on the other hand, demands a registration fee of 125,000 liras and a 45,000 liras meal fee for the re-enrollment of a second grade student.

A private primary school in Istanbul charged the tuition fee of 222,000 liras for a student starting first grade and a meal fee of 29,000 liras in 2023. In a letter sent to parents, the school administration asked for a 134 percent increase in tuition fees to 534,000 liras and a 229 per cent increase in meal fees to 97,000 liras for the same cohort.

The school's tuition was equal to 13.500 dollars in 2023 with the average exchange rate whereas the current fee equals to 21.300 dollars with 58 percent increase.

The parents of a student in a private school in western Bursa province who will be in the eighth grade next school year were called by the school for early registration and informed that the tuition fee, which was 75,000 liras last year, was increased by 165 percent to 198,000 liras.

The Private School Parents' Platform stated, "Despite all incentives, the occupancy rate of private schools unfortunately cannot exceed 50 percent. This idle half capacity is paid for by the parents whose children are already here."

Umut Erkurt, Press Secretary of the Private Sector Teachers' Union, said, "We are now faced with a situation that exploits all stakeholders of education. The biggest excuse of the bosses for these increases is teacher salaries.  While doing this, teachers are working below the minimum wage in hundreds of institutions. Teachers are oppressed and exploited."

While millions of students went on semester break on Jan. 19, some parents announced that they would not go to schools to get their report cards to protest the increases.

Education Minister Yusuf Tekin stated, "We have met with private school representatives about the increases in private schools, and we are warning them."