Planning for the real cost of education in Australia

an image of a smart little girl

The rising cost of education in Australia is a worry for many parents. If education for your kids is a priority, then the best way to prepare is to understand what’s involved.

Here’s an overview of all the things you should take into account when working out how much to put aside for your children’s education.

The tuition fees
A look at the year ahead by the Australian Scholarship Group (ASG)¹ for costs of education for children at school age now shows what you might need to think about preparing for.

School Stage Preschool Primary Secondary
Government schools Up to $ Up to $ Up to $
Fees $1,282 $561 $1,150
Extracurricular $692 $1,423 $1,764
Clothing $117 $288  $405
Necessities $101 $204  $421 
Travel $278 $296 $367
Computers not applicable $382  $673 
 TOTAL $2,470 $3,154 $4,780 

Additional information from ASG shows the average funds that might be needed for a child born in 2017 through the whole experience of primary and high school. Obviously the type of school will make a big difference but the national average total cost of a public school education if a child goes to school from age 5 – 16 is $68,613. That means about $109 for every week of their school years ASG suggests you will want to plan for. Private school fees are eye watering – at a national average of $487,093.

What’s included in these numbers?¹

Application fees: Many schools will require an application fee at the point of enrolment. How much you might have to pay in application fees depends on the school but a common public school amount is $250². Enrolling in a private school will generally be more expensive than a public school.

School trips: Both public and private schools fees may not necessarily cover costs for any excursions or trips. These expenses are additional, and many schools choose to pass on the costs of these to the families. Some schools also pursue expensive overseas trips that could potentially cost thousands of dollars. Although these trips aren’t the norm, they are bit of a rising trend.

Textbooks, computers and materials: Students will need to fund stationery and possibly textbooks, although these costs will vary from school to school. You should also factor in the cost of electronic tools they will probably need, such as laptops, tablets or software. One Microsoft Australia survey found three in four parents spend up to $1000 on devices for educational purposes.

Day to day expenses: The necessities will include uniforms, shoes and school bags. You will also need to account for food and transport to and from school. Also factor in other school based expenses like sports clubs, extra curricula activities like music or gym, or extra tutoring if necessary.

Helpful planning resources: Below are some useful links when you are planning for your children’s education:

Because the cost of education is pretty significant, it’s important to plan your budget carefully. 

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 help with your thinking, why not learn more about our personal loan product here and if you have already got advice and want to go ahead you can apply online right now.


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