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How many hours do you need to work to pay your school fees?


Non-government high schools are well known for charging fees that are around double and sometimes triple the cost of government high schools. While independent and Catholic schools offer advantages that appeal to many parents, these advantages can sometimes come at a steep price.

Based on the data collected by ASG, a few interesting statistics can be collated to show and compare the toll that non-government school costs take on household income. These costs include not only the fees, but also other essential expenses such as uniform, extra-curricular, computer and travel costs. An interesting way to present this information is looking at the number of hours of work needed to pay for school fees each month and the proportion of school fees accounting for household income.

Expectedly, independent schools in most capital cities are charging fees that take a considerably large chunk out of a family’s income. However, this does not necessarily apply to Catholic schools.

While Catholic school fees are comparably higher than government schools, overall they take up around 15% of household income whereas independent school fees take up an extra 10%. This means that parents who send their children to Catholic schools get to spend fewer hours of work paying off school costs.

When it comes to the hours of work needed to meet the expenses of school, independent secondary schools in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney rise to the top, requiring 61, 58 and 54 hours of work respectively. On the other hand, parents from Catholic schools need to work a significantly less amount of hours to meet these school fees with most capital cities falling in the 20 – 27-hour range.


School fee costs are undoubtedly an expense that eat up a household’s funds, with parents having to sacrifice a substantial portion of their pay to meet the rising fees.

School fee costs in Australia

Here is a summary of the information gathered on school fee costs across Australia:

Independent schools

Median monthly household income # of hours of work to pay per month % of income spent on monthly school costs
$7,583 54 35%
$6,682 58 38%
$6,769 38 25%
$5,482 51 34%
$7,120 42 27%
$5,437 61 40%
$9,044 31 20%

Catholic schools

Median monthly household income # of hours of work to pay costs per month % of income spent on monthly school costs
$7,583 26 17%
$6,682 27 18%
$6,769 28 18%
$5,482 37 24%
$7,120 27 18%
$5,437 27 18%
$9,044 20 13%

So how can Edstart help?

With Edstart, parents can spend less hours at work to pay for school fees and dedicate those hours to fuelling the family savings account or meeting other financial commitments. Edstart will pay the children’s school fees on time, while parents make smaller monthly repayments that are customised towards their current financial position.

We are extremely flexible. So you can choose to fund only one lot of tuition fees, or all school years through to graduation. Your monthly repayments can extend beyond the selected period.

In fact, parents can extend their payments up to 5 years after their youngest child completes school.

Families can easily change their funding plan by extending it further or paying it out early if their circumstances change over the years. There will be no extra charges for doing so.

Reduce the burden of school fees today by trying out our online calculator to get an instant estimate.

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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