In a previous post where I discussed cost of living comparisons, I promised (rather foolishly I think) to try to unravel school fee variations from state to state. I am often saying what a big country Australia is, perhaps I should bear that in mind when I make such rash promises!
The BobinOz rough guide to school fees in Australia.
First, let me make it clear that these are the fees that apply to Australian citizens and permanent residents. If you are here on a temporary visa then different fees may apply or you might get a grant.
The three main types of school:
- Public (state) – run by and funded by government.
- Private – run privately but subsidised by the government.
- Catholic – run by Catholics and also subsidised by government.
The Australian Government has an obligation to provide state education via public schools to all children in Australia. Each public school has an obligation to accept all of the children within its catchment area. If they don’t have enough room, they must find some. If they don’t have enough teachers, they must hire some more.
All public education in Australia is free, but there is confusion because each school can charge a “Voluntary Contributions” and these seem to range from $60 per annum to as much as $1,000.
Interestingly, the $1000 figure came from a news article entitled “anger over school fees” from the Herald Sun and was about schools in the state of Victoria. Victoria is where Vivienne was talking about when she mentioned high public school fees in Australia in her open email to me.
So what happens if you don’t pay these voluntary contributions? I spoke to somebody who didn’t pay and they told me they got bombarded with reminders constantly, but that ultimately nothing specifically happened. But she only missed the payment for one year, she couldn’t handle the pressure!
I’m sure each school deals with it differently, some may prevent your child from taking music lessons or sport for example and no doubt if too many people don’t pay, the voluntary contributions fees would go up for those that do. I’m sure they will get their money from somewhere.
If you want to know some of the alleged tricks schools get up to to ensure these voluntary contributions are paid, then check out the above mentioned article over at the Herald Sun.
In addition to the voluntary contributions, parents will also have to pay for stationery, books, school uniform, sports equipment, musical instruments, school trips and any other items needed that are relevant to their studies.
About two thirds of Australian children go to public (state) schools.
If you want to send your child to a private school, you’re better off doing it here in Australia than you are back in England. That’s because, if I’m not mistaken, if you choose private education in England the government says “thank you very much” and pockets the money it saved by you choosing not to send your child to one of the government run schools.
Here in Australia, the government realise that your decision to go private is saving them money, so they effectively subsidise your payments by paying a grant to all private schools who in turn can reflect that in their fees to students.
So how much is private education? This is where it could get messy but I have found a way to make this real simple…………
Between $800 and $29,000 a year.
Want to try and guess where you need to go to spend $29,000 a year on education? Yes, you’ve got it. Victoria! Geelong Grammar apparently.
So as you can see, fees vary wildly. But generally speaking, the older your child the more expensive it gets. Typically the fees are in these bands:
- Prep to year 6.
- Years 7 to 9.
- Years 10 to 12.
Furthermore, good discounts are available for sending more of your children, if you have them, to the same school. Some payments are tax deductible as well.
Catholic schools are funded in the same way as private schools in as much as they charge a fee to their students and they receive a government grant. But it appears that Catholic schools are substantially cheaper on average than private schools.
Expect to pay between $600 and $3000 a year.
According to the government, they pump $22.7 billion of public funding into state education (2.2m students) and a further $7.6 billion into private (independent and Catholic) schools (1.1m students).
School fees rough summary: as at 2009
- Public (state) schools: $60-$1000 a year. Average $150
- Private schools: $800 to $29,000 a year. Average $6,300
- Catholic schools: $600 to $3000 a year. Average $1,200
Plus the cost of uniforms, books and other stuff as previously mentioned. The average figures quoted are purely a BobinOz guess. I don’t think they’d be far out, but then I wouldn’t, would I?
Education costs in England.
Over in the UK, public (state) education is completely free, providing that hasn’t changed since I went to school.
Average private school costs are around £11,000 a year and Britain’s most expensive private school is Eton at £24,000 a year.
You could argue that private schools in the UK are more “elite” than they are here in Australia. After all only 7% of UK children attend private schools compared with over 30% here.
You could also argue that the quality of education in some of the UK’s state schools is equal to the education that some Australians pay for here privately. If that argument could be proved, then without a doubt the UK would win this cost comparison on the price of education. But until anybody can prove that……..
Public (state) schools here in Australia are more expensive than they are in the UK. But not by a lot. (Unless you go to Victoria). Once you’ve bought all the extra stuff, like the school uniform, stationery, sports kit etc, I’d like to wager Australian public schools can’t be anything much higher than 30% more expensive than the UK’s schools.
But private schools are cheaper here than in England. Quite a bit cheaper. In fact, at the least 50% cheaper, possibly as much as 70% cheaper when you compare the average £11,000 a year (that’s nearly $20,000) with the average of $6,300 here.
So, dare I award this category, the cost of education between England and Australia compared, to Australia?
No! But I’m calling it a draw.
Don’t be too afraid of the cost of schooling here in Australia, it’s not that bad. And you do have the choice, you can pretty well spent as much or as little as you want.
I am pleased to announce that our teacher has returned to give us a second lesson, this one is called State School Fees for Temporary Visa Holders in Australia.
If you are coming here on a temporary 457 visa, you really must read it.
Obviously school fees change each year and this article is now a little out of date. Finding up-to-date information is incredibly difficult as many schools do not publish their fees online. Also, not only do fees vary from school to school, they can also change from grade to grade.
A Year 7 student will not pay as much as a Year 12 student.
During the last year we have been looking at high schools for our daughter Elizabeth here in the Brisbane area. For what it’s worth, the school fees we were quoted were:
- Catholic School 1 = $7000 per year
- Catholic School 2 = $12,000 per year
- Independent Private School = $15,000 per year
- Additionally, the above-mentioned Geelong Grammar now charges around $35,000 per year
These fees are not averages, they are specific fees quoted by four different schools. Any of you seriously looking at private education in Australia would be advised to get the up-to-date school fees directly from any individual school you might be interested in.
Those of you looking at those Catholic school fees will be thinking they have risen massively; I’m not sure that’s the case. Maybe the two Catholic schools we looked at were unusually expensive. My understanding is that you can still get a Catholic private school education for much less, I have certainly seen plenty of Catholic schools quoting fees of between $1000 and $3000 per year.
You are doing great job i hope God showers his blessing….the fees are monthly or yearly ? And I think you need to update or rewrite another blog with current fees with monthly and yearly details .
Would you know if it is possible for kids to attend primary school for a short duration like a month? We are PRs & intend to come over for a month to reccee the suburbs etc and as the main reason for our exodus is for a more holistic Aussie education, it would be great if it could be incorporated into our “survey trip”.
Interesting question, I don’t know what the answer is, but as it sounds like you already have PR, I think it might be possible. I think the best thing to do is to approach schools directly and ask them the question and see if any of them are willing to play ball.
Hopefully someone will be happy to accommodate.
I can to Australia in 2015 , single parent with three kids going to secondary school. My kids have been in and out of school since now and I’m struggling to pay the fees. The fees are way to high for me to pay as I am an only parent with no one to help me. If i can’t pay the fees my children can’t go to school. I live in VIC and I was wondering what state can I go to that doesn’t require payment for international students.
I’m not sure there is any state or territory where international students can get free education, but I really don’t know for sure. I think you would need to ask either a MARA agent or somebody who specialises in international student education in Australia.
Hi Bob, school is not free in Australia so please don’t tell people this. I recently had debt collecters sent by my daughter’s public high school because I haven’t paid her school fees for yr 8 and 9 and they are seeking $1000. We are Australian citizens.
How much are the school fees were thinking of moving to melbourne
The fees vary massively Paul, as explained above. Bear in mind this article was written in 2009 as well, they will have gone up from that time. It’s always best to contact individual schools to see what their fee structure is, particularly if you’re looking at private schools.
As the above article makes quite clear, schools are free but many schools ask for a voluntary contribution. I do mention that these fees can be anything from $60-$1000, which was accurate at the time I wrote this post in 2009. At the school my daughter is currently at, it’s $350.
Sounds like your school is chasing up on two years worth of voluntary fees, so your school charges $500. I’m not sure if these voluntary fee requests are enforceable by law, but clearly your school feels strongly enough to chase up the money via debt collectors.
So I really don’t see any need for me to change what I’m telling people, because the information here, as far as I’m aware, is pretty accurate.
We have lived in Aus for more than 10 years . I moved back to India two years ago. My son has never lived with us. Wondering about is school as he is moving with us permanently to Cairns. Going to grade 8. I am not clear about intake time in school. We both hold PR and have applied for my son now.
So intake time and any problems we should anticipate with his admission?
What is the start time for his school there?
Have a look at my page called Which school? and in particular the additional links at the bottom of that article. You will find them very helpful and they will answer all of your questions, except I’m not sure I’ve mentioned what time school starts.
For us, here in Brisbane, it’s 9 AM, so kids have to be at the school a little bit before that time. Other schools might do it slightly differently though, so it’s best to check with them direct.
Hi bob. Im looking into making the move over to melbourne on a permanent visa i was looking to no have you any links on making the move more smoothely for example shipping out house contents and car. Medical care fees and secondary school fees.
Yes, I’ve written about all these things Paul. Well, apart from shipping a car over here, but regular reader Mark has had some experience of that and has written some lengthy comments on the following page…
For bringing your other stuff though, check out the following post and the links towards the bottom of it…
I’ve got lots of information on schools and school fees, check out the links at the bottom of my page Which school?
As for health services and medical fees, I’ve written loads of posts about that, best way to find those is through the search function toward the top right hand side of every page. Just punch in terms like health, doctors or hospitals and you will easily find them.
Good luck, Bob
Ok bob thanks for that i will look them links up. No doubt ill have more questions before i move. Thanks.
State school Education IS NOT FREE here…To put a child into year 7 in any Govt School has just cost me, a resident $3000, free, not true, nd should be double if u are not a resident
I think you comment is a little to general of school cost…How you managed t oay $3000 ata public school id be interested in the breakdown of your 3000 and which state …. As an example… All Victorian schools, whether public or private, receive government funding. Public secondary schools are free to attend. However, you are usually asked to pay a voluntary school levy per student per year. Note that’s voluntary You will also need to pay for uniforms, some books and extra-curricular subjects. As regards non residents they are charged quite substantially in some states Fees for private schooling vary widely.
Yes, I am also eager to hear exactly what you paid $3000 for Sharon, because, without a doubt, state education in Australia is free.
Note I said ‘education’. As Mark has pointed out, extra curricular activities, sports, uniforms, school trips, out-of-school tuition, computers, and even those voluntary contributions can be requested by the school but that is not to pay for the ‘education’ and these things are optional.
That part is definitely free. It’s free to Australian citizens and it is free to permanent residents.
So, what exactly did you pay for?
How much fee to be paid for a Non Resident for year 7-12, if on a student visa…?
You would need to ask the school as fees vary.
Is public fees free in australia?,and is it well educated?
Your first question is specifically answered in the above post and you will find a good deal more information about schools and education in Australia on my page called Which school? Be sure to also check the additional links at the bottom of that page.
Hello Bob, I am new here; I work for an India IT MNC and currently exploring relocating from Dubai office to Perth office. Few important questions would certainly help:
1. can you recommend some good public schools. Fee structure and how much to budget for monthly?
2. I understand that schools generally intake as per the catchment areas; so if you can help me with some of the good neighborhoods. My office is going to be Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000. Half an hour drive to and fro work should be ok.
3. average food expenses (once a week eating out – not fine dining) – how much to put aside
4. transport – till such time I dont buy a car, what are best means of commuting and how much to budget for? to and fro my office, schools runs etc
5. utilities – gas, electricity, geysers, water – how much to budget for monthly
6. mobile bills with data package – is there a website/link i can go check for different packages??
7. cable & home internet – monthly costs???
8. Maids/Help – can i bring in my live-in maid from Dubai? it is of great help especially when my wife would want to work?? If I cant, how much to budget for day-care??
9. bank accounts – how easy or difficult it is?
Yes, I can tell you are new here, you do not seem to have read any of my other pages yet 🙂
You’ve asked a lot of different questions about different subjects, all of which I have written about, the search box towards the top right hand side of every page will help you find relevant articles.
Spend some time searching my (over 1400) pages and you will find all the information you can possibly need. Good luck, Bob
Have you done the same comparisons on Aust uni fees….greatly intrested.
I’m afraid not Joe, I think it would be too big a task. Schools all follow the same curriculum, but universities offer all sorts of various courses of different lengths and of course, each can set their own fees.
I think it would do my head in to try 🙂
If you want some guidance though, I have an expert who might be able to help, see my page about Student Visas.
Hello bobinoz,How are you today,work and the family?please i need to come to Australia with my wife and children,what visa should i apply for as i am into building construction work,where do i start my processing from ,i live in Nigeria,West Africa,hope to read from you soon
Please see my page about Visas.
I’m on a bridging visa A,with my son as a dependant.Despite being given unlimited right to study, we can’t send him to school as he is considered an overseas fee-paying student. The amount is ridiculous, & is something we didn’t know of when I applied for the partner visa.
Taking either private or catholic school out of the options, what would it leave us?
I’m sorry but I just don’t know, this is MARA registered migration agent territory. You can find out how to contact one of those from my page about Migration agents. Good luck, Bob
Oh sorry maybe I said it the wrong way.
What I meant is what options left have I got to get my son educated without paying international fees? Homeschooling is not possible I reckon, as I don’t have permit ?
Your options are:
To await the change of the bridging visa into the substantive one.. This of course may still not solve the problem it depend son which Visa you are applying for. I am assuming you have an agent if so speak to them or if you are doing it yourself you can maybe ask how far off a decision is.
Dependant in which state you are in look at homeschooling. but you seem to have half ruled that out.
Finally pay the fees or speak to the school they may not (again dependant on many factors) need to paid for a whole year, you may find if explaining you are awaiting a substantive visa be payable in part, Again this is dependant on several factors) . ..As we are about to hit the long summer holidays it seems you have a large window of opportunity to resolve the issues, if of course they are in attendance at a school and it is they who are looking for a payment of an invoice you would either need to pay same or at the very least have a discussion with them about it of you cannot pay. I am sorry there is no magic formula ‘going to jump;off this page. Personally i’d invest in a MARA agent. If you decide to return to any foreign home the DIBP website explains what you can cannot do on a bridging visa. I hope it works out for you.
Yeah I’m aware that I’m stuck.
They won’t let us leave the country until the partner visa granted which would take 15-18 months, but at the same time they won’t let my son go to school without paying around AUD13,000 per year.
Anyway thank you for your explanation.
To correct you there is likely nothing to stop you leaving the country, I cnanot imagine you are detained It is your return that is likely prohibited in the status quo. Please do not shoot the messenger here but 13000 may seem a lot to some not a lot to others, if its a drastic amount to you and may cause hardship then you need to seek advice and help. Without you going into your current situation on here so please dont it may be there is some help in this area that you can gain Once again id start with the school if public some parents are helped with basic funding’s at school, you may or may not qualify, but as the saying goes ‘No harm asking’
hello am a young Nigerian and love to study and work in Australia.
how do I go about getting a visa?
That’s all explained on my page about Visas.
What are the eligibility
I will love to study and work in Victoria.
Hey i just cleared my 4th grade from india .please tell me about austerlia schools .
I have written lots of posts about Australian schools, you will find links to all of them at the foot of my page called Which school?
I heard that minors can call the police and report against their parents. Please explain.
What’s to explain? In this country anybody can call the police and report against anybody else if they so wish. There is no age restriction on who can call the police, and there is also no restriction on who can complain about whom, even if they are members of the same family.
I would have thought that would be the same in most countries, are you saying in your country it could not happen?
Hi bob, im on a 457 visa now and planning to get my wife and son as a dependent.I just want to ask if i could let my 5 year old son study on a public school or am i required to send him to a private one?How much would it cost me if i send him to a private school? Thanks hope you can help me with this..
You need to click on the link underneath the title of Lesson 2 in the above article for more information about that one. The choice is yours though, you can choose a private school if you prefer, or go public.
Whether or not you have to pay for a public school depends on which state you are going to be living in.
homelearn.com.au they are a distance education provider for years kindergarten to years 12, its all distance learning and is about $400. a year.
You have options of getting your son to public or private, either way you will still pay tuition fee base on your visa. Since you are in 457visa the fees are cheaper compared to the international students visa holder. Tell them that you are a temporary resident so that they won’t charged you an incredible high fees. I think catholic schools cheaper than public school when it comes to fees, and the latter gives more instalment for you to pay their fees. Hope it helps.
Hi Bob am on a 573 visa already studying at Tafe WA.My wife and a daughter of 5 years wish to join me from Kenya.Tafe tells me that fee for my daughter who will be going to year one probably is $13500 for public school. Is there any affordable school other than gov schools?
As far as I am aware, government schools are the cheapest. That sounds a lot of money though, $13,500, all I can suggest is that maybe you look for local Catholic schools to see what they would charge.
You do not have to be a Catholic to go to a Catholic school and most of them do not try to enforce their own religion. Worth a look.
My son, Egyptian, 17 years old, already finished grade 10 in an American international school. He is studying SAT which I know it’s not available/common in Perth. He can’t switch now to IB system. What can be more suitable to him? AP ?
It would be best if you discussed your son’s needs with the school you intend sending him to in Perth. They will know what would be suitable for him.
Am from pakistan and I would like send my son for education. He is of 8 years . I would like to enroll him in public school in Sydney as my real sister is there.
Can you please fesilitate me what would be free structure for my son as a foreign student ?
I leave all questions about student visas and fees to my expert, please see my page Student Visas.
Good luck, Bob
Hi Bob, on the 2016 updates, how is the fee for government public school’s fee?
State public schools, technically, are free. But these schools often ask for voluntary contributions and there are certain things you will need to buy for your child that the school doesn’t provide for free.
So you will usually need to buy a stationary pack, maybe some books, and this year we had to buy a laptop computer for our daughter which was about $1100.
Schools will often ask for voluntary contributions for anything they can think of, so there’s no fixed amount on that. Of course, you will also have to buy school uniforms and some school trips can be very expensive.
What I’m saying is, there is no set government fee, each individual school does whatever it needs to do to raise additional funds. If you are on a 457 temporary visa though, then there may actually be school fees, checkout Lesson 2 above.
Thanks for your reply Bob. Are they are price different as Permenantly residence and Citizen for public schools? Are the school trip (expensive ones) be avoided or excused? As I’m sure not all parents can afford expensive trips.
I think permanent residents get treated exactly the same as Australian citizens in most matters, including school fees. All school trips are voluntary, if you don’t want your child to go, that’s no problem.
Hi bob i would just like to ask if for example im going to send my daughter shes of year 5 now and shes going to be an International Student. How much would be the tuition fees for public and private school?
Again, these vary depending on the school. If you need help, check out my page about Student Visas.
I have heard that there is a new visa category which allow international primary school children to come to Australia for studies.
I am intending my son to study in Australian he is 5 yrs old now eligible for primary grade.
my question is
1. Can I along with my wife accompany him and also i got 2 yrs old daughter are we allowed to come.
2. As a dependent on my son can i or my allowed to work legally in Australia if yes how many hours per week
3. what is the normal fee in Melbourne school per year.
4. Is it easy to find 1BHK accomidation and how much it cost. Melbourne and sydney.
Please let me know the details please.
I’m not sure where you’ve heard this information, but I do advise you to seek the assistance of a MARA registered migration agent to find out whether your child could come here and you could come here too as the guardian.
My page about Migration agents. will help. Once you have found out whether this kind of visa actually exists and if you can qualify for it, then you can move onto questions number 3 and 4.
My son, aged 40, hopes to come to Australia for an extended visit of about 6-12 months.
He has a brother & sister who are both Australian citizens.
He would ideally like to do some work. He is a teacher, & for his 3 children aged 10, 8 & 6 to go to school.
Your comments regarding cost of schooling don’t apply to non-Australians.
Assuming he is able to obtain a visa etc can you give me some idea of the cost of schooling his children, please?
They are UK passport holders.
My comments do apply to non-Australians for the most part, many people live here on permanent or temporary visas that allow them to work in this country and therefore get education for their children as part of that and they are not Australian.
I really cannot answer your question, because I have no idea what kind of visa your son intends to visit on. Your son should really talk to a MARA registered migration agent about this, they know all the rules and they can clear it up for him.
Good luck, Bob
Hi my name is lily…im from malaysia…im going to australia melbourn with my studant visa…my daugther is 7years old now…can she go to goverment school ? Some people told me ..must be private school but is to costly then my aducation fee…any idea where can i enroll her
You need to have a look at the full terms and conditions of your visa, specifically whether it allows for your dependents to go to a state school. You might also be able to find this information on the government’s website; if you watch the video on my page about Visas it’ll show you how to drill down on these things.