In a private school they separate the payment that parents have to make into:

1) paying for utilities - that is, paying for electricity, textbooks, lunch, teaching tools, uniform, etc;


2) paying for the very process of teaching;

I wonder, what are the two idiomatic terms (one or two words each) for those two different kinds of payments?

  • 1
    utility payment and studies' payment. These phenomenon does not exist in the West.
    – Lambie
    Oct 9, 2022 at 17:00

1 Answer 1


Having worked in various private schools, I'm fairly sure that no distinction is made.

The charges are called "school fees" This covers everything that the school needs to educate the child (teachers, heating the classroom, books, and so on). Before each term, parents receive a bill for the fees. The bill might be itemised, but it is paid in full.

If the child is boarding (sleeping at the school overnight) then there may be additional "boarding fees" (room, heating for the room, dinner, staff to guard the children as they sleep.)

The uniform would normally be bought by the parents, and not part of fees; though some schools may have systems for adding the cost of the uniform to fees. The uniform is not usually made by the school, so the money doesn't go to the school.

We would sometimes talk of "adding something to the bill" for example "Tomorrow we will visit a museum, the cost will be added the bill" (so parents wouldn't pay separately for the museum visit.

  • In Asia they do. Here I have on my hands a paper from my son's school saying how much I need to pay as the first payment and how much as the second one. It's all in Chinese and I need to know how term each one of these two payments in English. If, as you say, there is no such phenomenon in the English speaking world, how would you as a native English speakers name them (imagine you would have to translate that paper into English)?
    – brilliant
    Mar 7, 2020 at 8:06
  • Okay, so there is a word in front of you in chinese, what does a dictionary translate it as? (or google?) What is wrong with "fee for utilities" and "fee for education"? I assume you understand chinese, so why translate? who is the translation for?
    – James K
    Mar 7, 2020 at 15:26
  • (1) "Okay, so there is a word in front of you in Chinese, what does a dictionary translate it as? (or google?)" - It’s not just “a word in front” of me. I have a whole sentence for each one of those payments on that paper. The first one goes like “paying for electricity provided by school, as well as textbooks, lunches, teaching paraphernalia, uniform, notebooks, tissues, masks (in case student forgets to bring his own) and other miscellaneous items.”
    – brilliant
    Mar 9, 2020 at 6:09
  • (2) And the second one is as follows: “paying to teachers for their great labor of teaching and correcting student’s manners or for arranging a substitute teacher in case of absence.” Hence, Google Translator also renders it as two long sentences instead of two names.
    – brilliant
    Mar 9, 2020 at 6:09
  • (3) “I assume you understand Chinese, so why translate? who is the translation for?” - I only understand written Chinese, but my oral communication in Chinese is rather pathetic. The school administration, however, can speak English. So, when I go there to negotiate about these payments, I’ll be talking to them in English. It will be very cumbersome for me to use those long sentences from that paper. And using simply “payment 1” and “payment 2” won’t help either because they didn’t give those payments any ordinal numbers in that paper and often mention them there in random order.
    – brilliant
    Mar 9, 2020 at 6:09

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