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The Student Finance Office (SFO) administers a number of financial assistance schemes for needy primary and secondary students, including the School Textbook Assistance Scheme, the Student Travel Subsidy Scheme and the Subsidy Scheme for Internet Access Charges.  Applicants must pass the means test  (please click here for details) and meet the following eligibility criteria:  
 

Student-applicant

  • The student-applicants must be unmarried Hong Kong Residents, with right of abode, right to land or valid permission to remain without any condition of stay (other than the limit of stay) in Hong Kong. Students only holding visitor visas, two-way exit permits, student visas or who are dependents of student-visa / visitor-visa holders are not eligible to apply for student financial assistance; and
  • The schools the student-applicants are attending must belong to the category as stipulated in the financial assistance schemes below.
     

Applicant

  • Applicant must be the parent or guardian (as recognized under Guardianship of Minors Ordinance, Cap 13) of the student-applicant(s). Otherwise, applicant must explain in detail with proof why this cannot be complied with in the application form. Provided that the reason given is acceptable, the SFO will continue to process the application.
  • Generally speaking, if families currently in receipt of the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) have children studying in primary and secondary schools, they should apply direct to the Social Welfare Department (SWD) for school-related assistance for their children’s examination fees, expenses on textbook and stationery, transport fares, Internet access charges at home, etc. They do not need to submit “Household Application Form for Student Financial Assistance Schemes” to the SFO.
     

The School Textbook Assistance (TA) Scheme

The student-applicants must be Primary 1 to Senior Secondary 3 / Secondary 6 students in government, aided, per caput grant schools and local schools under the Direct Subsidy Scheme for covering the costs of essential textbooks and miscellaneous school-related expenses.
 

The Student Travel Subsidy (STS) Scheme

The student-applicants must be receiving primary or secondary education or attending a full-time day course up to first degree level in an acceptable institution, residing beyond 10 minutes walking distance from school and traveling to school by public transport.
 

The Subsidy Scheme for Internet Access Charges (SIA)

The Subsidy Scheme for Internet Access Charges provides subsidy to needy families whose children are full-time students receiving education at primary or secondary level, or full-time students pursuing Yi Jin Diploma programmes or equivalent courses of the Vocational Training Council to meet the Internet access charges for e-learning at home for their children. The subsidy is granted on a household basis. Eligible families will receive a flat-rate cash grant, regardless of the number of children in the family.
 

Application Procedures of Financial Assistance for Primary and Secondary Students:

  • If families wish to apply for student financial assistance in 2019/20, please complete the Household Application Form for Student Financial Assistance Schemes according to Guidance Notes on Household Application and return the completed application form together with all necessary supporting documents to the SFO direct by post preferably preferably on or before 31 May 2019.
  • After receiving the household application form the applicant, the SFO will assess whether the applicant’s family is eligible for financial assistance based on the information provided in the application form and assess the eligibility of the student-applicants on the basis of the eligibility criteria of individual schemes.

 

Relevant application procedures are as follows:

Form

Applicants must complete the following forms:

1) For families which have successfully applied for financial assistance in 2018/19 (on or before 1 March 2019) for (i) primary and secondary students or (ii) students at pre-primary, primary and secondary levels or (iii) pre-primary students and the child(ren) will be attending Primary 1 (P1) in the 2019/20 school year

Applicants will receive the following documents sent by the SFO by post from late-March 2019 onwards:

  • “Household Application Form for Student Financial Assistance Schemes” (SFO106B) with pre-printed data of family members ;
  • “Guidance Notes on Household Application for Student Financial Assistance Schemes” (SFO107B(1)) and "Notes on How to Complete and Return Household Application Form”(SFO107B(2)) ;
  • Addressed envelope for submission of application [SFO182]; and
  • Supplementary forms (if applicable).

2) Applicable to those families who newly apply for financial assistance schemes for primary and secondary students or submitted EC for 2018/19 school year to the SFO on or after 2 March 2019 :   

Applicants may obtain the application documents from District Offices or schools or download the relevant application documents from the SFO’s website starting from May 2019:

  • “Household Application Form for Student Financial Assistance Schemes” [SFO7B];
  • “Guidance notes on Household Application for Student Financial Assistance Schemes” [SFO75B(1)]and "Notes on How to Complete and Return Household Application Form” [SFO75B(2)]
  • Cover Sheet for Supporting Documents [SFO108]; and
  • Addressed envelope for submission of application [SFO182]
Documents Required

Applicants must submit the following documents:

1) Copy of identity documents:

  • Applicants using pre-printed “Household Application Form for Student Financial Assistance Schemes” : Copy of identity documents of the dependent parents or any family member(s) whose pre-printed data has been amended or added
  • Applicants using “Household Application Form for Student Financial Assistance Schemes”: Copy of identity documents of the applicant and his/ her family members (including the dependent parent(s) (if applicable)) reported in the application form

2) Copy of documentary proof on income:
Documentary proof on the total family income for the assessment period from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019.

Method of Submission

Please put the completed application form, cover sheet for supporting documents and required documents into the addressed envelope and then send the application to the SFO by post. 

Starting from the 2019/20 school year, other than submitting the paper-based Household Application Form for Student Financial Assistance Schemes and copies of relevant supporting documents by post, applicants may choose to complete and submit the electronic application form and copies of relevant supporting documents online. Please refer to SFO website for the application arrangements.

The SFO will acknowledge receipt of applications by means of SMS through applicants’ Hong Kong mobile phone numbers or in writing (applicable to applicants who are unable to provide Hong Kong mobile phone number) within 20 working days after receipt of the applications.  

Deadline for Submission
  • If applicants wish to know the results of Assessment of Eligibility in late August 2019, they should submit “Household Application Form for Student Financial Assistance Schemes” and all necessary information on or before 31 May 2019.
  • For applicants of TA, their “Household Application Form for Student Financial Assistance Schemes” should reach the SFO on or before 31 October 2019. Otherwise, TA will generally not be released even if they can pass the means test.
  • For eligible applicants who submit their “Household Application Form for Student Financial Assistance Schemes” to the SFO on or after 1 November 2019, payment of STS to the student-applicants may be effected from the date of receipt of application or the date of admission of the student-applicants to school (or the date of cessation of CSSA for students previously in receipt of CSSA).
  • For applicants who submit their “Household Application Form for Student Financial Assistance Schemes” at a date on or after 1 February 2020, partial payment of SIA may be made to the successful applicants provided that the applicant can pass the means test.
  • Under normal circumstances (except financial assistance for pre-primary students), the SFO will not accept any “Household Application Form for Student Financial Assistance Schemes” submitted on or after 1 March 2020. The SFO may give special consideration to cases with exceptional circumstances.
Notification of Result

If applicants have submitted application and all necessary information, the SFO will inform them of the application results within 3 months.  Families who have passed the means test will receive the following documents by post:

(1) Applicants who have been disbursed with TA for 2018/19 school year: the family-based “notification of result” 

(2) Applicants who have NOT been disbursed with TA for 2018/19 school year and applicants who newly apply for financial assistance for primary and secondary students: the family-based “notification of result” and the student-based ECs  

Applicants under type (2) above (i.e. applicants who have NOT been disbursed with TA for 2018/19 school year and applicants who newly apply for financial assistance for primary and secondary students) should submit the completed ECs to the schools in which the children are attending within the designated period: 

  • If the EC is received before the commencement date of school : within 1 week from the commencement date of school
  • If the EC is received after the commencement date of school : within 2 weeks from the issue date of EC

Schools will certify the student-applicants’ status and attendance and then forward the ECs to the SFO according to the schedule.

(Note: In general, the SFO will not accept any EC submitted after the deadline.  Applicants submitting late ECs will be considered as self-withdrawing the applications.)

Payment Arrangements
The SFO will release financial assistance by autopay to those students who are confirmed to be eligible for the respective Schemes applied.
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Last update: 3 Sep 2019
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