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The Futurity Investment Group Planning for Education Index has revealed that Melbourne is Australia’s 2nd most expensive state for education whereas regional and remote Victoria is the nation’s most expensive region for an independent education.

Looking at the breakdown, school fees are only a small proportion of what makes up the full costs as you need to take expenses into account such as levies, uniforms, technology, textbooks, excursions and camps and transport.

 

The most prevalent barrier to parents’ choice of high schools for their child is cost. Once enrolled, the cost of schooling represents a substantial household expense.

 

With the right financial strategies and plan in place, reaching your goals may not be as hard as you may think.

 

Consider the table below:

Cost of education Victoria

Total estimated cost of education over 13 years of schooling in Victoria for a child starting school in 2021

The hidden cost of education

Contrary to the popular belief that Government schools are free, parents are expected to pay a voluntary financial contribution. The reasoning is that while administration of the standard curriculum program is free, schools can charge parents for ‘essential education items’ and ‘optional extras’.

Regardless of school type, the cost of education includes more than just fees and parent contributions. In fact, for parents sending their children to Government schools, these fees may constitute a relatively small portion with other ancillary costs really adding up. Many times, this comes as a “cost shock” for families entering the public schooling system for the first time.

For instance, our research shows that over the course of seven years of primary education, the estimated annual cost of education for a child starting school in the public system in Melbourne this year will average out to:

  • School fees: $434

  • Outside tuition: $2,050

  • Electronic devices: $513

  • Uniforms and textbooks: $461

For families sending a child to an Independent primary school in Melbourne this year, while also meeting comparable ancillary expenses, the bulk of the amount spent on education will go towards tuition fees – an annual average of $22,473.

For families with children in the Melbourne Catholic primary system, our research shows the average fee and “voluntary” contribution to be $1,375 per annum on top of ancillary expenses.

The annual cost of schooling changes over the course of a 13-year school period. Secondary school fees are generally higher than for primary. And spending on older children for school camps and items such as sports equipment and musical instruments tends to increase for many.

Having a fuller picture of the cost of education and planning ahead can help to avoid, or at least cushion against, nasty surprises.

Confidence starts with preparation
 

The best way to take control of your child’s future is to plan and save to meet future education costs, and the first step is to create a personalised view of the true cost of your child’s education.

 
Futurity’s Cost of Education calculator provides default figures derived from our research to assist you with an estimate. As you use it you will have the flexibility to make changes to the figures depending on your child’s stage of schooling, school type and your expectation of likely expenses.

 
About the research quoted

*The Futurity Investment Group Planning for Education Index is based on data sourced from a survey of 1,800 members on ancillary costs and public information on school fees, including the My School website. The data was also consolidated and analysed by Monash University.

Further information about the research methodology, assumptions, and results can be accessed here.