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Brisbane a bargain for public education, but costly if you're Catholic


Brisbane was Australia’s cheapest city for a government education but  Catholic schools were twice as costly and were the most expensive in the country, according to a report from the Futurity Investment Group.

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The report found that the pandemic had added about $800 a year to the cost of education as parents forked out more for electronic devices, outside tuition, stationery and textbooks.

Almost half of the parents of government-educated children also had to spend about two hours a day last year helping their child with school work because of the pandemic restrictions. This was a much higher impact than parents of Catholic educated children (36 per cent) and independent (33 per cent).

More than a quarter of parents of government-educated children took leave during last year to help their child with their education.

It found that, for students starting this year, a 13-year government education in Brisbane costs about $73,000, which is 11 per cent below the national average and much cheaper than Sydney ($90,122) and Melbourne ($86,737).

A Catholic education in Brisbane would cost about $154,000, 10 per cent above the national average and much higher than Sydney and Melbourne schools. An education at an independent school in Brisbane was $181,000, well below the most expensive, Sydney, where it could cost $448,000.

But while independent schools were much more expensive, almost three-quarters of parents were either satisfied or very satisfied with the child’s schooling. About 67 per cent of Catholic parents were satisfied or very satisified compared with 62 per cent of parents of government-educated children.

Schools fees account for a fraction of the cost of a government education. The report found that the big costs for a government education were outside tuition, for which parents would pay about $2000 a year, school camps and sports equipment ($543), electronic devices ($500) and uniforms and textbooks cost ($369).

In comparison, Catholic school fees were about $2411 on average in Brisbane. Outside tuition cost $1025 on average, but uniforms ($897), school camps and sports equipment ($820) and electronic devices ($769) were all more expensive.

School fees for an independent education in Brisbane would cost about $10,000 while tuition would cost $3075. Transport would cost about $871, school camps and spots equipment would cost $769 and textbooks $682.

The pandemic also piled the financial pressure on parents. The report found that 37 per cent of parents who sent their child to a Catholic school felt some or a lot of pressure which either imapcted their discretionary spending or impacted their quality of life. This was higher than parents who sent their children to a government school.

Futurity Group executive Kate Hill said the cost of education in Australia had risen at more than double the pace of inflation in the past 10 years.

“More than ever, the costs associated with education are placing more of a burden on Austrian families, who are already stretched by the rising cost of living and stagnant wage growth,” she said.

“COVID-19 has only exacerbated this financial challenge with parents required to spend hundreds of dollars extra on unplanned education expenses at the height of the pandemic.”

Futurity, which provides education bonds, has included an education cost calculator on its website.







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