Victorian private school costs rise to the nation’s highest as the pandemic’s freeze on fees ceases

Parents in NSW, Queensland, Tasmania and ACT are facing higher increases of between 3 and 4.26 per cent, while South Australian schools have stuck to the lowest average increase of 0.91 per cent.

However, the annual fee increases have not yet returned to the pre-pandemic level. In 2019, Victorian private school fees rose by an average of 3.68 percent, followed by an increase of 3.16 percent in 2020.

The figures are taken from Edstart’s 2022 report on tuition fees, which is based on an analysis of tuition, board and tuition fees at 538 Australian independent and Catholic schools, including 135 Victorian schools.

Sir. Stevens said the annual pattern set in before the pandemic, with schools raising their fees above the inflation rate, had ceased.

“I think the days when schools pushed up fees by 5 and 6 per cent as they used to are probably over. What we are hearing from parents this year is that this level of fee increase is likely to be expected, “Mr Stevens said.

But Melbourne-based education consultant Paul O’Shannassy, ​​who advises families on their non-state school choices, said two years of shutdowns and distance learning had caused some parents to question why they paid such high fees.

He said this was especially the case when leisure activities such as weekend sports, camps, music and drama were not available.

“In previous years, the letter was sent out every year with a fee increase of 3.5 percent, it was just standard, and people just accepted it,” Mr O’Shannassy said.

“But this year people are saying, ‘Wait a minute, you’re saving a fortune on camps and sports and so on.'”

Many high schools lost income as they waived or reduced fees for families suffering financial losses during shutdowns, but would likely try to end this practice, Mr O’Shannassy said.

Some also received millions of dollars in federal JobKeeper grants before later posting profits.

For some families, tuition fees of more than $ 30,000 a year are no barrier to enrollment, but some who cannot afford this are looking for an academically reputable public school for their children and are also investing in private tutoring, Mr O’Shannassy said.

Emma Rowe, a senior lecturer in education at Deakin University who has researched school choice in Australia, said many parents were not deterred by the sometimes high cost of sending their children to a non-governmental school.

“It’s almost something of a status setter; the higher the fees, the higher the barriers that are perceived to be there for enrolling in a particular school, the greater the sense of prestige. In fact, it is not a rational process all the time, ”said Dr. Rowe.

Parents are often motivated by a school’s religion and values ​​or by a desire for their children to have access to social and professional networks, she said.

The report also reveals that the fee increases for this year have not been uniform. For example, co-educational and girls ‘schools in Victoria have raised their fees by around 2.7 per cent on average, while boys’ schools have raised them by 4.56 per cent, which is well above inflation.

North Melbourne has the lowest median fees of $ 8159 this year, but the steepest increase – 4.49 percent.

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Regional Victorian schools are raising their fees by an average of 2.31 percent to an average of $ 9397 this year.

36 percent of Victorian students went to a non-governmental school in 2020, according to the latest national data, which was higher than the national average of 34.4 percent and second only to ACT.

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