What Happens When Your Private School Closes Down?

  1. Private schools are commercial businesses and may close down due to various reasons. For example, voluntary closure due to business decision, unsuccessful renewal of registration as the school was unable to fulfil minimum requirements set out under the Enhanced Registration Framework or closure by the Committee for Private Education (CPE) due to regulatory breaches.

  2. In 2015 alone, 17 private schools closed down, with 2 due to regulatory breaches. The list of deregistered schools can be found here.

  3. Managers of private schools, by law, must inform CPE, as well as all prospective and enrolled students, of an impending closure at least 14 days before the actual closure. In all closures, CPE will do its best to ensure students’ best interests are looked after and schools fulfil all outstanding obligations to their students.

  4. In general, the school may offer you one or more of the following options: (i) Place-out: The private school makes arrangements for its students to complete the same course or a similar course in another registered private school. (ii) Teach-out: The private school continues to run all existing courses until all students have completed the course. The school cannot recruit any new student during the teach-out period (iii) Refund of fees: The private school refunds all unconsumed course fees to its existing students.

  5. While CPE will supervise the school in carrying out one of the above 3 options, there might be cases where the school has filed for insolvency and/or is financially incapable to execute any of them. In such situation, refund of fees will depend on the insurance policy taken up by the school. Hence, prior to taking up a course with a private school, ask about its existing insurance policies to ensure protection of your unconsumed course fees.

  6. Generally, there are two types of insurance made available to the private schools through insurance vendors and schemes approved by CPE. They are the Industry-Wide Course Fees Insurance Scheme (IWC) and the Fee Protection Scheme (FPS).

  7. Do know that it will take time to process and resolve the needs of every student affected by a school closure. Here are some things you could do to ease the process:

    ·   As the first step, approach your school and ensure it has records of your up-to-date contact details.
    ·   Keep in contact with the managers of the school and ask for periodic updates on the next course of action to be taken by the school.
    ·   Always remain contactable and regularly check your email for the latest update.
    ·   Collate all important documents such as student contract, receipts of payments, certificate of insurance or student escrow information and other     documented agreements between the school and yourself. Be prepared to present them to CPE or the receiving private school as proof of payment of     course fees and completion of coursework.
    ·   Understand all the options that are made available to you. If in doubt, clarify with the school.
    ·   Contact the CPE Student Services Centre if you need further assistance or advice.


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