What is the cost of a private school education? Around half a million

by Ramya Manoharan | Jan 17, 2018

Expense of school education in Australia

(This blog post was written by Nicole Gundi, Media and Communications Adviser at ASG.)

Just like paying for electricity and fuel, education is another necessity of life that we pay for, and even parents who send their child to a government school are not insulated from it. 

ASG Planning for Education Index 2018 released

We’ve just released the ASG 2018 Planning for Education Index, which debunks the myth of a ‘free education’. Parents can expect to pay around $66,000 from kindergarten to year 12 when they send their child to a government school. 

ASG’s data reveals that the total costs of education across metropolitan Australia has soared 61 per cent in the past decade whereas wage growth has only gone up by 34 per cent in the same period. This means families who are already struggling with the cost of living are put under more pressure to meet the educational aspirations they have for their children. 

A snapshot of ASG’s data also reveals that the estimated cost of a private education for a child born in 2018 across metropolitan Australia is $475,342*, while the forecast cost of a faith-based education** is $240,679 per child. 

Factor in extracurricular activities, school excursions

What many parents fail to factor in are all the additional expenses that go hand in hand with funding a child’s education, such as extracurricular activities, excursions, computers/tablets, travel and uniforms. These costs can add an extra $43,000 to $55,000 over 13 years, depending on the type of school a child attends.     

Daven Timms, an ASG member, says that by the time his three children finish high school he would have easily spent around $156,000 just on their extracurricular activities. 

“Our children (Eve, Year 11), (Eden, Year 9) and (Sierra, Year 6) all attended public primary schools, which offered an excellent education. But, when we moved Eve and Eden over to Barker College in Hornsby there was a significant increase in fees in addition to the continuing cost of extracurricular activities. 

“We’ve put the kids through dance, swimming, piano and Little Athletics, and two are now involved in school bands. These extracurricular activities along with the musical instruments are expensive, and Eve is also a competitive rower. But, our kids have all developed their resilience, determination and endurance as a result of the activities. 
“We couldn’t have done it without ASG. We put money away into different funds to meet their secondary school expenses and for when they go to university. The returns are coming in now and it really helps because of the tax advantages.” 

Increase in cost of education over 10 years

Education--a significant investment 

ASG COO Bruce Hawkins says the research reveals a child’s education is one of the most significant investments a family could make.

“In the past decade the cost of education has soared by 61 per cent compared to the average growth rate in wages of 34 per cent. This means that education costs are demanding a far greater share of the family wallet than in the past, placing more burden on the average family, already challenged by the rising cost of living.

“If you have three children, the cost of educating them in Sydney or Melbourne’s private education system could top $1.6 million. That’s significantly more than the purchase price of the average family home.  

“ASG advocates parents use a disciplined approach by putting a few dollars aside each week, so they can financially afford to meet their children’s educational goals and aspirations,” says Mr Hawkins.  

These figures have been rounded and are provided as a guide only. ASG cannot guarantee that they will represent the actual costs of education for a particular child.

** A faith-based education includes religious schools e.g. Catholic, Anglican, Uniting Church, Buddhist, Islamic or Hindu.

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