Reprieve for families as private schools lower fee increases
Fee increases at private schools fell in 2020 as families across Australia face low wage growth and a softening economy. Our latest analysis of fees at 335 non-Government schools found that school fees rose by an average of 2.8% in 2020, down from 3.1% the previous year.
We also found more schools have kept fee increases below national inflation and wage growth rates. Some schools have even reduced fees by more than 10%. With 43% of Year 12 students across the country attending a non-Government school1, this is good news for many families.
Over the past 3 years, there has been a gradual drop in the percentage increase in school fees from 3.2% to 2.8% this year.
Lower-fee schools driving the fall in fee increasesWhile higher fee schools continued to maintain a consistent trend of fee increases of between 3% to 4%, middle and lower fee schools drove the overall rate of fee increase lower. This reversed the trend from 2019 when many middle and lower fees schools made larger fee adjustments to compensate for changes to government funding models.
These schools are generally more susceptible to changes in their environment such as government funding and enrolment numbers. As a result, they are more likely to respond and adjust their fees accordingly.
Differences between statesThere were geographic variances between states with Victoria leading the way with the highest increase at 3.16% and having the most expensive school in Australia with fees of $42,500. This was followed by Queensland at 3.06%, NSW at 3.01%, Tasmania at 2.78%, the ACT and South Australia at 2.25% and Western Australia at 2.07%.
The Eastern states experienced a decline in the rate of increase in school fees. There was a notable fall in the ACT which is a correction to larger increases that occurred last year. In contrast, the rate of increase rose in South Australia and Western Australia.
NSW and Victoria lead the way with having the most expensive private schools in Australia, with the higher fee schools charging above $30,000 and the most expensive schools with fees above $40,000.
Download the full reportOur goal for the School Fees Report is to help families understand the trends in private school fees and be able to better manage these costs. To download the full report, visit edstart.com.au/report.
1 Source: Australian Bureau of Statistic (ABS)