The Independent Schools Council of Australia (ISCA) has cautioned parents about “glossy marketing campaigns” for education focused financial products that they say misrepresent the cost of Independent school fees.
The rebuke follows a survey of 12,500 parents by the Australian Scholarships Group (ASG), released on Tuesday, which found that the cost of educating a child at a private school in Sydney over 12 years was more than $575,000, 18% higher than the national average of $487,093.
In a statement today, ASG CEO, John Velegrinis, said the cost of education has risen at two and a half times the rate of inflation over the past decade.
“Our research predicts the cost of education will increase, irrespective of whether you send your child to a government, systemic or private school,” he said.
“The estimated cost of a government education across regional Australia has jumped $8,443 in the past decade. That is why we encourage parents to start planning for education as early as possible, even from the moment their child is born.”
However, ISCA’s executive director, Colette Colman, said that parents should note that ASG’s school fee estimates did not reflect the majority of Independent schools.
“While ASG admit their school fee figures ‘represent the upper ranges that parents can reasonably expect to pay,’ they neglect to show just how small a proportion of Australia’s Independent schools are actually charging the kind of fees that could contribute to those sort of cumulative costs,” Colman said.
According to ISCA data, the median Australian metropolitan Independent school fee in 2015 was $6,079 per annum, almost $14,000 less than initial estimates.
“Nationally, nearly three quarters of metropolitan Independent schools are charging below $10,000 per annum. Fees in Independent schools vary greatly, with the majority of them much more affordable than modelling like ASG’s suggests,” she said.
“In addition, there are numerous ways parents can save on costs; with many Independent schools offering scholarships, all-inclusive fees, and discounts for siblings or lump sum payments.”
Colman strongly urged parents to “do their own research” on the fees of schools that interest them.