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The Futurity Investment Group Cost of Education Index has revealed that Sydney remains the most expensive city for Independent schooling in Australia, with a staggering $377,993 estimated cost over the course of a child’s education at an Independent school.

The research has revealed the total cost of an Independent education in Sydney is 19% or $61,049 above the national average. The Futurity Investment Group Cost of Education Index also revealed Sydney is Australia’s second most expensive city for Government education.


It’s estimated the total cost of a Government education in Sydney will be $94,819 over 13-years for a child starting school in 2024, almost 3% above the national average. When you look at Government schooling, there is no such things as ‘free’ education. Extra costs such as levies, uniforms, technology, textbooks, excursions, and camps and transport need to be considered.


Today, with the rising cost of living – and education – more and more families are facing the bitter reality that the best schools are becoming out of reach.


But solutions do exist. And with the right knowledge, process and guidance, they can navigate the cost of education in New South Wales.


World pressures causing local impact

When we think of hot topics in Australia in 2023, the cost of living certainly tops the list.


So it was no surprise when last year’s national McCrindle Cost of Education survey found that 81% of respondents are stressed about finances.


But which costs are causing the most amount of pressure for Australian parents each month?


Some of the most significant include mortgage and rent (selected by 46% of respondents), utilities and rates (selected by 45%), and groceries (selected by 42%).


So what about the cost of education in New South Wales? Over 66% of parents said the cost of education was having a significant impact on their household finances.


We’re a nation that values education

Australians are strong advocates for quality education, with 4 in 5 parents (85%) believing schooling is essential for their children to thrive in life.


So it’s telling that despite education posing a significant strain on finances for two-thirds of the parenting population, they’re still focused on how to make it work for the future of their children.


But only 34% of Aussie parents feel they are financially equipped to contribute to lifelong education for their children – with 12% not feeling equipped at all.


So it’s clear Australia’s parenting population could benefit from long-term planning support.


Schooling costs more than just tuition

One of the common missteps parents make when determining the cost of education in Australia is to base averages on school fees alone.


But the research shows that it’s the ‘hidden’ costs – or ancillaries – that often add up the most.


In fact, these extra items account for around 88% of total education costs in Government schools, 56% in Catholic schools, and 48% in Independent schools.


Families have no choice but to factor in the costs of uniforms, transport, camps, excursions, electronic devices and many other additional costs.


Is education expensive in New South Wales?


So, what is the average cost of education in New South Wales?

Sydney is home to Australia’s most expensive Independent schooling, sitting at a whopping 19% above the national average. This is a rise of $20,062 since 2023.


Government schooling in New South Wales is also some of the nation’s most costly, with children who start their schooling journey in 2024 expected to pay a further $5,309 across their education.


However, Sydney’s Catholic sector is the nation’s most affordable, at 3% below the national average.


The table below breaks down the combined averages of tuition fees and ancillary costs nationally compared to New South Wales over 13 years – according to schooling sector and location.







Major cities




Regional/remote areas








NSW (Regional)




*These numbers are population-weighted and projected over a 13-year period and provided as a guide only. The actual costs cannot be guaranteed.


A look at secondary school in Sydney


Secondary school fees are generally higher than primary fees. It is not uncommon for parents to consider changing sectors for the later years of their children’s schooling.


This table shows a breakdown of each sector's average annual cost for metro New South Wales secondary schools.















Total cost of education





Zoning and location can significantly add to costs

Many Catholic and Government schools have zoning restrictions to ease classroom numbers, which prompts many families to relocate to fall ‘into the catchment zone’. So it’s not uncommon for highly sought-after schools to attract a premium when it comes to property prices and rent.


And the numbers concur: McCrindle found that 35% of parents are influenced by the location of a school – forcing them to find the extra funds for relocation and higher rentals or mortgages.


So, when a client is considering their ability to service their child’s education costs, ensure they are factoring this in too.


How to help clients achieve their education savings plans

Quality education comes at a cost. But it’s also one parents can plan for today – to ensure their child has a better tomorrow.


When looking at the figures in this article, it’s easy to see why a parent would feel a sense of dread or apprehension at how they will make this work. But as with everything in life, with the right knowledge and guidance, it is possible for them to afford the education they want for their child – comfortably.


The key is to help them to create a solid plan – and encourage action.


For over 50 years, Futurity have been helping Australian families to afford the costs of education through our Education Bond.


Our solutions are designed to allow financial advisers to help their clients save and accumulate funds for schooling expenses in a tax-effective way. Furthermore, other features around estate planning and intergenerational wealth transfer are available.


A child’s education is one of the biggest investments parents will ever make. It’s never too early to understand and prepare for these costs – so they can create the bright future they envisage for their children.


Want to learn more about Futurity’s Education Bond range? Get in touch with our team today.