Planning for the real cost of education in Australia

Happy primary school kids, wearing school uniforms and backpacks, running on a walkway outside their school building, front view, close up

 Estimated read time: 5 Minutes

The rising cost of education in Australia is a worry for many parents. Understanding the costs involved early could help you better plan for the future.

Investing in your child's education is a big expense, but one that’s important to many families. Being aware of and planning for growing education expenses and uni fees could help you to put a financial plan in place to help fund the education you want for you children.

When it comes to school fees in Australia, the location of your residence is a major factor. The cost of schooling also tends to be higher for those parents who enrol their kids in private schools.

Here’s an overview of some things to consider when working out how much to put aside in your savings plan.

 

What is the cost of education in Australia?

Data from the Futurity Investment Group1 shows the total estimated cost of education for a child starting school in Australia in 2023. Depending on the type of school, the following figures show the average costs that you could be looking at to support a child through their primary and secondary education:

How much does a public school cost in Australia?

The national average cost of public school education in Australia is $87,528 in metro areas1.

How much do Australian private schools’ cost?

Private schools in Australia fall into two categories: the Catholic school system and independent schools.

A private Catholic education in Australia is $184,545 whereas a private independent school education in Australia could cost you $300,233 on average1.

    

Total estimated cost of education for a child starting school in 2023

LocationGovernmentCatholicIndependent
National (Metro)$87,528$184,545$300,233
National (Regional & Remote)$75,795$163,578$209,584
Canberra$77,002$197,667$275,486
Sydney$89,500$178,478$357,931
NSW (Regional & Remote)$82,823$82,823$218,732
Brisbane$80,419$193,235$262,531
QLD (Regional & Remote)$68,597$154,661$196,876
Adelaide$83,306$186,350$273,435
SA (Regional & Remote)$81,824$157,025$238,625
Melbourne$102,807$184,366$307,508
VIC (Regional & Remote)$75,217$165,262$208,057
Perth$85,701$191,397$213,889
WA (Regional & Remote)$70,774$165,889$198,507

Source: 1 Futurity Investment Group: Cost of education in Australia in 2023

Factors that affect the cost of schooling in Australia

The cost of education is influenced by whether the child is being enrolled in a public or private school, the state that you live in and whether you live in a metro area or are regionally based; as the cost of schooling in cities is usually more expensive than regional or remote areas.

The cost of education is just one aspect to consider when deciding between public school vs private school. Other considerations include the curriculum, extracurricular activities, teaching quality, and the overall environment.

Even after enrolling in a school, there are other costs to consider. Tuition fees, textbooks, uniforms, and various other educational expenses can add up. So preparing for these financial obligations could help you stay on top of your finances.

 

How much are public school fees in Australia?  

Public school fees vary from state to state and while public education in Australia is generally funded by the government and many public schools don’t charge mandatory fees, parents are often expected to pay a voluntary financial contribution instead.

 

Primary school tuition fees

Parents sending their child to a public school can expect to pay an average of around $221 annually for primary school tuition fees. This could climb as high as $6,541 for an independent school2

Here's the national annual average of tuition fees by school type and stage in 2023 according to data from the Futurity Investment Group: Cost of education index2:

National Annual Average of Tuition Fees by School Type & Stage in 2023*
 Government SchoolsCatholic SchoolsIndependent Schools
Primary$221$2,132$6,541
Secondary$536$5,477$11,553

Source: Futurity Investment Group: Cost of education index2

How much are ancillary costs of education in Australia?

There are other school-related expenses that may be charged in addition to the cost of tuition and need to be considered when choosing a school.

These expenses could include school uniforms, stationery or school supplies, school excursions, sports uniforms, and electronic devices. 

Then there are the basic stationery items (pens, paper, textbooks), which may change and become more specialised as the child moves through their stage of education (scientific calculators or art supplies for example).

Here's the national annual average of ancillary costs according to data from the Futurity Investment Group: Cost of education index2.

How much does university cost in Australia?

As more and more students choose to attend university to help them stand out in today's competitive world, understanding the average cost of university in Australia can help you understand the financial implications involved and help you to make an informed decision.

Uni fees vary depending on several factors such as which University they attend, their chosen course and the number of units they need to complete.

Tuition fees for undergraduate programs typically range from $20,000 to $45,000 per year. For post-grad courses, the fees can be higher, averaging between $22,000 and $50,000 annually. PhD programs may have lower tuition fees due to government subsidies, and typically range from $18,000 to $42,000 per year3.

On top of tuition fees, there are other costs to consider when pursuing higher education. Living expenses, textbooks, accommodation, transportation, and social activities are some of the additional expenses that need to be factored into any budgeting decisions.

To support students in managing these costs, various scholarships, grants, and student loans could be available. 

 

Helpful planning resources

Because the cost of education is pretty significant, it’s important to plan your budget carefully. Below are some useful links when you are planning for your children’s education:

We're here to help

If you need to pay for education costs but don't quite have the required savings, a personal loan could be an option worth exploring. Whatever you decide, it’s a smart idea to get professional advice before taking out a loan.

To get you started, find out what your individual rate and repayments might be before applying. What’s more, it won't affect your credit score.

Got a question? Contact us on 1300 108 794. We're here to help.

Sources:

1 Futurity Investment Group: Cost of education in Australia in 2023 https://www.futurityinvest.com.au/insights/futurity-blog/2023/02/01/cost-of-education-in-australia-in-2023  

2 Futurity Investment Group: Cost of education index:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TmEIgZGWQdQ20JQwpBgJ7AiB3PNxPmnF/view?pli=1

3 Futurity Investment Group: How much are uni fees in Australia? All you need to know. https://www.futurityinvest.com.au/insights/futurity-blog/2022/08/16/how-much-are-uni-fees-in-australia  

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