What to expect from school fees in 2024
After increasing fees by an average of 4.49% in 2023 due to inflation and changes to government funding, it is likely that schools will have to raise their fees at a higher than usual rate this year as economic conditions continue to impact their operating costs.
With the cost of expenses such as wages, construction, maintenance, and insurance continuing to rise, many schools are left with little choice but to increase their fees in order to keep operating at the level families expect.
Expected change to school fees heading into 2024When we asked 200 schools how much they expect their 2024 fees to rise back in June last year, the majority (74%) were expecting fee increases of more than 3% with more than half expecting a rise of above 4%.
These trends stayed fairly consistent across all of the schools surveyed. When split by school fee tiers (based on annual fee per student) the expected increase rates remain similar, with schools in the $10,000 - $30,000 range more likely to have increases above 3% than those in both the below $10,000 and above $30,000 fee tiers.
The trend also remains similar when looking at the data by state, however more schools in South Australia and Tasmania were expecting an increase below 3% compared to other states. Schools in Queensland were the most likely to have a rise above 3%.
Why schools are doing thisIn order to continue to provide students with the best education and experience they can, schools are having to raise fees to cover expenses. The cost of delivering and maintaining quality facilities for students has gone up due to rising inflation, with the price of construction, materials and maintenance all increasing.
Staff wages, a large expense for schools and critical to providing quality education, are also going up. Teacher wages at state schools have been rising around the country, meaning private schools are having to do the same in order to retain quality staff.
Preparing for the increase in school feesFamilies should be aware of the upcoming fee increases, prepare early by making any necessary changes to family budgets, and make sure to have flexible payment options which allow them to align school fee payments with their budget.
Schools are also responding by providing more flexible payment options to their families, and we've seen an uplift in schools partnering with Edstart to offer this.
Many schools can also offer families fee assistance such as bursaries and discounts, or work with you on an arrangement for your school fees.
Latest school fee trendWe’re in the process of producing our annual Edstart School Fees Report, designed to help families understand the trends in school fees.
The report is the largest analysis of school fees in Australia. Last year we analysed trends from 635 schools across the country, taking a closer look at the changing cost of both tuition and boarding fees.
Keep an eye out for our 2024 report which will be released later this month.