Brisbane private schools raise tuition fees up to three times inflation rate

Private schools across Brisbane will raise tuition fees this year by two to three times the rate of inflation.

Brisbane Boys’ College, which is owned by the Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association, will increase fees by 6.3 per cent in 2019 – more than three times the inflation rate of 1.9 per cent.

The school will charge $23,300 for high school students this year – $1384 more than last year’s tuition costs.

Its sister school, Clayfield College, will increase its Year 12 fees to $18,330, a 3.5 per cent increase.

Somerville House, another PMSA school, will increase fees by 3 per cent to $22,680.

Elite Catholic girls’ school Stuartholme School will increase fees by $1092 to $19,176.

Queensland’s most expensive private school, Brisbane Grammar School – which charged senior students $25,900 last year after making a $7.9 million surplus – has not published its 2019 fees.

But its sister school, Brisbane Girls Grammar School, will increase fees for senior students by 3.2 per cent to $24,910 in 2019.

The elite girls’ school made a $2.1 million surplus in 2017 and paid principal Jacinda Euler a $476,483 salary package.

Some private schools are also charging parents additional fees in the form of technology, sporting and music levies, or charging compulsory contributions to school building funds.

Brisbane Boys’ College charges new students a non-refundable $420 application fee and a $1650 “confirmation fee’’, which is charged on top of tuition fees.

St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School requires a non-refundable enrolment application fee of $330 plus a $1000 enrolment confirmation fee.

Somerville House imposes a $350 application fee on top of a $1200 enrolment fee; and Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie) charges a $425 application fee plus a $1625 enrolment confirmation fee.

Independent Schools Queensland executive director David Robertson said governing bodies tried to keep fees down, but rising costs, including increasing teacher wages, forced them up.

“Queensland independent school governing bodies are responsible for setting school fees each year, with fee levels varying from school to school depending on a range of factors such as their curriculum offerings, size of their teaching and non-teaching workforce, student needs and future plans,” Mr Robertson said.

“Boards strive to main affordable fee levels for their communities. They carefully consider the circumstances of their parent communities, their school’s level of public funding and the broader economic environment.

“Independent school boards are very conscious of the investment and sacrifice many families make for their children’s education, and endeavour to set tuition fees that are affordable for their communities, while at the same time balancing increasing staff wages, technology and other costs.

“Continuing increases in enrolments in the independent sector confirm that parents value the education provided by independent schools.

“Staff salaries, which account for about 70 per cent of school costs — and have been growing at rates above CPI, depending on the school’s enterprise bargaining arrangements — are a significant factor in school fee levels.

“Many independent schools offer scholarships or bursaries, sibling discounts and all-inclusive fee options to ensure an independent education is available to as many Queensland families as possible.”

Good Education Group’s Sam Sapuppo said parents may be unaware of hidden costs that could increase quickly.

“These hidden costs could be the increasing costs of OH&S,” he said.

“Some educational costs shouldn’t be considered ‘additional costs’ but rather should be considered part of a holistic learning experience, what schools these days are calling ‘learning beyond the classroom’ such as excursions, camps, extracurricular activities, technology programs.”

To compare school fees for all schools across Queensland, as well as other states and territories, visit www.goodschools.com.au.

This article originally appeared in the Courier Mail – Brisbane private schools raise tuition fees up to three times inflation rate


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