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Gap between fee increases at low and high fee schools widening


The average school fee increase has risen in 2024, creeping above inflation to 5.85% after schools minimised raises keeping them below inflation last year.

After analysing fee data at 703 independent and Catholic schools across Australia for our 7th annual Edstart School Fees Report we found the majority of schools had increased their fees at a higher than usual rate. However, lower fee schools continued to increase at a slower rate than their more expensive counterparts.

Larger fee increases as schools face higher operating costs

High inflation is continuing to drive up operating costs for schools. The price of expenses such as construction and maintenance, insurance and school supplies have all been pushed up over the last year, forcing schools to increase their fees to cover the costs.


Rising staff wages have also been a large cost for schools. Public school teachers in NSW, Queensland and Tasmania have all received pay rises in the last 18 months, with those In Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia currently on the negotiation table.

Private schools are having to match these in order to attract and retain quality staff, especially given the current teacher shortage. With salaries comprising around 70% of a school’s expenditure this can place a lot of pressure on their budget.

Low fee schools increasing at a slower rate

Continuing from last year, the gap between fee increases at low and high fee schools is widening, with fees at low fee schools rising at a slower rate than high fee schools. Schools with annual fees below $10,000 had a significantly lower average increase to their fees compared with their more expensive counterparts.

These lower fee schools, which have experienced the largest enrolment growth numbers over the last five years, had an average increase of 4.83% while all of the higher fee tiers saw rises above 6%, with the greatest average increase coming from schools above $30,000 per year at 7.03%.


As well as having a much lower average increase, low fee schools are providing families with more flexibility when it comes to school fee payments. The majority of schools with fees below $10,000 provided parents with the option of weekly or fortnightly payments instead of having to make larger upfront payments.


Fee differences varied between states and territories

The ACT saw the greatest average increase to annual fees at 10.08% substantially higher than all other states. South Australia had the lowest average increase for the third year running at 2.96%.


Victoria once again had the highest fee school in the nation, crossing the $50,000 mark for the first time for any school in Australia. NSW was not far behind, with its highest fee school at $49,825 and the top ten most expensive schools in the state all above $44,000 per year.

Other states all saw significant increases to fees, however their highest fees were still at least $15,000 less than Victoria and NSW.

The median school fees for most states were much lower than the headline grabbing highest fees. For all states the median fees were between $9,442 and $14,900, reflecting the majority of students who attend low and middle fee schools across the country.

Key Trends in each state


A clear geographical divide across Greater Sydney in average school fee increases can be seen between the eastern versus western side of the city. When looking at the areas east of Homebush (North, East, Inner West and South regions), the average fee increase was much higher at 8.86% than the areas west of Homebush (North West, West and South West regions) which had an average increase of 5.60%. As a state NSW saw a large overall increase, up 2.43% from last year.



Victoria saw a statewide average fee increase of 5.56%, an extra 1% from last year. Across Greater Melbourne, the highest average increase was seen in the Inner South East at 7.23% with the lowest average increase towards the Mornington Peninsula around 5%. The state recorded the highest annual fee in the country once again, with Geelong Grammar School crossing the $50,000 per year mark at $50,072, the first time for a school in Australia.

The announcement that a number of Victorian schools would be subject to payroll tax from July this year has already had an effect on the state’s average fee increase. Schools with fees above $15,000 affected by the change saw an average increase in fees of 6.44%, compared with an average of 5.35% for schools exempt from the change.



Queensland saw an average school fee increase of 6.03%, slightly above the national average and 0.44% higher than 2023. When looking at South-East Queensland, most regions saw fee increases close to the state average, with the highest average increase in Brisbane City at 7.33% and lowest average increase in the Gold Coast at 5.01%.



The average fee increase in Western Australia was 4.40%, a 0.42% rise from last year but still below the national average. Many regions of Perth stayed relatively consistent with this increase, however the North East saw a significantly lower increase at 2.66% while the Peel region had the highest average fee increase of 5.50%.

These numbers represent the highest average fee increase in Western Australia in at least seven years, however the rate of increase during this time has consistently been below the national average.



South Australia had the lowest average increase for the third year running at 2.96%. There is a clear divide across Adelaide with the average increases in East and South significantly higher than schools in the North and West.


Download the full report

Our annual School Fees Report is the largest analysis of school fees in Australia where we take a closer look at the changing cost of tuition and boarding fees at a national and federal level so that families can better prepare their budgets for the changes ahead.

To download the full report and see our full analysis visit edstart.com.au/report.

About Edstart
Edstart is a leading technology and financial services company providing funding and payment services for education. We offer fee management solutions to schools and flexible payment plans to parents to help make school fees easier to manage.

To see how we can help you, visit our main website.

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