Cost of Education Methodology & Assumptions
What you need to know about the calculator
The underlying data has been sourced from ‘Schooling in Australia: Report’ that Futurity Investment Group commissioned McCrindle to conduct into the cost of education and parent experience with education in Australia. The report draws on publicly available data from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority Australian Curriculum (ACARA) website as well as quantitative data collected in an online survey undertaken by McCrindle in August 2022.
- The education cost calculator is designed to provide an estimate of the future total cost of education per student. It shows the variability of costs in education and illustrates the range and differences across school types and locations.
- Futurity has endeavoured to provide a reasonable basis for planning. Changes in school fees however cannot be accurately predicted. Estimates of future long-term education costs are provided as a guide only. There is no guarantee that they will represent the actual costs of education.
- The education cost calculator assumes that a child will attend formal schooling for thirteen (13) years. It assumes this starts with a preparatory program (“Prep” in most States) as the first of seven (7) years of primary schooling and is followed by six (6) years of secondary schooling.
- Futurity has not taken into account the possibility of GST being applied to education fees in the future. Estimates have been rounded to the nearest dollar amount.
- This calculator provides information of a general nature. Neither the calculator nor the report takes into account your objectives, your financial situation or needs. Before making any financial decision based on this information consider obtaining professional advice and read the appropriate Product Disclosure Statement.
The Report and the underlying methodology, including assumptions can be accessed here.
Information that you provide as part of the calculator will be used to provide you with an estimate of education fees and ancillary costs. Supplementing the calculation with your own actual fee-related data will result in a better estimate. By submitting such data, you consent to its use by Futurity for its education cost research purposes and for providing similar estimates to third parties.
Futurity Investment Group Limited, ACN 087648879, AFSL 236665
In August 2022, Futurity Investment Group commissioned McCrindle to conduct its annual research into the cost of education and parent experience with education in Australia.
The resulting ‘Cost of Education in Australia Report’ (the Report) is the collation of quantitative data collected in an online survey. The survey was designed for Australian parents with children in school, and had quotas set for a proportionate sample across the states and territories and school stage (primary or secondary school).
Survey respondents who indicated 'I do not have any school-aged children' or identified as living in a household without a dependent child, a group household or lone person household, were screened out of the survey, leaving a sample of 1,525 Australian parents. Further fieldwork was conducted to include an additional 772 responses to provide robust state-based insights for exploring the cost of education.
Data cleaning was conducted to remove extreme outlier responses. A data substitution hierarchy was adopted to account for cases where there were not enough responses to report on e.g. ancillary costs for ACT, Tasmania and Northern Territory.
The survey of Australian parents was in field from the 4th to the 24th of October 2022. Throughout the Report, these respondents are referred to as Australian parents' or simply 'parents'.
Where a total cost of education is given, data was used from two approaches and sources - Tuition Fees and National Ancillary Costs
Estimated costs for tuition have been calculated based on publicly available data from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) website (https://www.acara.edu.au/) which reports school fees and voluntary parent contributions.
Government schools do not charge tuition fees but rather publicly report parents’ contributions for a range of costs.
These costs include items or activity costs appropriate to the stage of schooling for each child such as digital devices, external tuition, uniform, transport, excursions, camps, sports equipment etc. Some survey categories were statistically insignificant (boarding costs etc.) and so were not included in cost calculations.
National ancillary costs are based on averages from the main sample of n=1500, which was controlled with quotas to ensure it was nationally representative by state. These ancillary costs were analysed using a hierarchy of school sector and stage, with no further delineation into major cities, regional and remote areas.
The school sectors are defined as per the education convention for school funding and reporting (NRS/ABS /Productivity Commission). Schools can be differentiated by their affiliation, ownership and management, and are presented as two broad categories: Government schools that are owned and managed by State and Territory governments and Non-government schools (including Catholic or Independent schools) that are owned and managed by non-government establishments. These schools have associations with religious denominations e.g. Church of England, Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, Islamic) or secular bodies (philosophical beliefs), or are entirely independent and have values maintained by the school.
Metro vs. Regional
To determine whether fee data is categorised as Metropolitan or Regional, responses have been sorted by respondent postcode.
We have used the “Major cities” and “Regional and Remote” categories as per: https://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/d3310114.nsf/home/remoteness+structure
- Extra curricula – includes Electives, School camps, School Excursions, extra Vocational education & Sports equipment
- Outside tuition
- Necessities – includes Uniforms, Library charges, Stationery & Textbooks
- Electronic devices
- Other spending
These items include uniforms (all school-related special clothing requirements), library charges, stationery and textbooks and are considered to necessary costs for educating any child.
These items include electives, school camps, school excursions, additional vocational education and sports equipment which all contribute to a complete education yet are considered to be optional or discretionary expenditures.
Annual cost for outside tuition or coaching, which is generally optional.
Computer hardware and software (e.g. desktop computer and/or laptop, tablets, software etc.) and internet service costs at home and/or at school.
The survey was not prescriptive. Examples of possible inclusions in this category include annual spend on musical instruments and associated performing arts related equipment.
Items such as car travelling expenses (calculated based on travel for one child), public transport tickets and school buses to travel to and from school.
Fee Estimate Increases
Where relevant, this total cost of education is extrapolated across 13 years of education based on a child starting school in 2023 with fees aggregated for 2023-2029 (Primary) and 2030-2035 (Secondary). To determine this estimate, a CPI of 3.5% is applied for fees in 2023 and 2024, 2.5% per year thereafter. This CPI is based on the Australian Government Budget Papers No.1 (October 2022- 2023)3.
Each individual category (school sector and stage) was extrapolated according to the designated CPI at the deepest hierarchy level.
Graphs and rounding
Data labels on the graphs in this report have been rounded to the nearest whole number and may, therefore, sum to 99% or 101%. Any calculations where two data points have been added are based on raw data (not the data labels on the graph) which have been rounded once combined.
There are limitations to the accurate prediction of changes in school fees and estimates of future long-term education costs are provided as a guide only. Actual cost of education for a particular child at any given time cannot be guaranteed.
The Report provides information of a general nature. Neither the report, nor Futurity’s ‘Cost of Education Calculator’ which sources data from the Report, takes into account your objectives, your financial situation or needs. Before making any financial decision based on this information consider obtaining professional advice and read the appropriate Product Disclosure Statement.
Futurity Investment Group Limited, ACN 087648879, AFSL 236665January 2023