School fees: How much do Aussies pay?

No one likes to talk about money, and when it comes to your child’s education, it’s understandable if you’re reluctant to even think about it. With public schools, private schools, religious schools and private tutoring options being more varied than ever, being overwhelmed is understandable. But you’re not alone - our guide to the four main categories of school fees will help you to find your way.

We’ll be looking at:

Private School Fees in Australia:

For each category, the costs will vary based on your location and the age of your child. Select from the below to see local fee estimates and reported fees for specific schools in:

Sydney - Melbourne - Perth - Brisbane - Gold Coast - Adelaide - Canberra - Hobart

How much are school fees in Australia?

Public School Fees - FREE or $2000 to $5000 p.a.

Every Australian child has the right to a free place in a public, or government, school. The logistics and forms may differ from state to state and school to school but your child is guaranteed a place in one of the most heavily regulated and thoroughly qualified public school systems on the planet.

That being said, there are recommended voluntary contributions and extra expenses that can feel socially mandatory. The amounts vary by location, the student’s grade and with time, but, if you do choose to contribute, you’re looking at about $2000 to $5000 per year.

Mid-Fee Schools - $4000 to $20,000 p.a.

Australia is unique in the world in having government, independent and Catholic school systems. The Catholic system and many independent (or ‘private’) schools of various faiths fall into the mid-fee category. These schools have the support of religious bodies to supplement the government’s funding, and also collect moderate fees from families of students. By “moderate fees” we mean roughly double to four times the voluntary contributions in public schools, putting this category at between $4000 to $20,000 per year depending, as always, on the location and age of the student.

High-Fee Schools - $20,000+ p.a.

Older private schools tend to fall into this category. They have the support of their churches and of the government, but are mostly funded by tuition fees and donations from alumni. These schools have the most extensive and up-to-date facilities and infrastructure, encourage travel by engaging in competitions over greater distances (including overseas when possible), and expect the most participation in extra-curricular activities from students, teachers and families.

The cost of education with these schools starts at around $20,000 per year (including tuition fees, uniforms, books, excursions, etc). This cost varies according to location and age of the student, but is also influenced by how many siblings in the family attend the school, sex of the school (schools for males tend to cost more than for females, with co-educational schools priced inbetween the two), and whether a parent works at the school. Some of these schools also offer boarding which is priced separately from tuition.

Top Private School Fees In Australia

Top Private School Fees in Australia Suburb, City Year 12
Geelong Grammar School Corio, Melbourne $42,500
Mount Scopus Memorial College Burwood, Melbourne $38,330
Cranbrook School Bellevue Hill, Sydney $38,100
The King's School North Parramatta, Sydney $36,900
Sydney Grammar School Darlinghurst, Sydney $36,615


There are scholarships available to mid-fee and high-fee schools at various times of the year. If you’re interested in a particular school, the best thing to do is research their website and make contact directly with the school. These programs can be very competitive and can take a toll on your child’s feelings, so be sure to discuss and manage the emotions as well as any exams.

Scholarships can be awarded based on academic merit, financial hardship or sporting talent, among many other things, and can be for a range of values which may cover tuition, boarding, a particular event or travel opportunity, or a percentage of these educational costs.

Private Tutoring - $30 to $150 per session

Whatever type of school you choose, you can supplement your child’s learning with private tutoring. This can range in price from $30 to $150 per hour, and can be offered as needed or on a regular basis (weekly in term time is the most common configuration). You can go through individuals or a company, and you can explore individual or group learning or a hybrid of any of these options.

The difference in price in individual private tutoring tends to reflect the skills and experience of the tutor and the resources they have available. A younger tutor who is in the senior years of high school or fresh out of school is likely to charge at the lower end of the fee range while a qualified and experienced teacher who may specialise in supplementary tutoring will cost markedly more.

For more information on why some tutors cost more than others, read our guide on: how much does a tutor cost? >>

You’ll find a range of prices between and within private tutoring companies based on several factors including:

  • size of the group
  • age of the student
  • packaged purchases
  • subject area, and
  • international examination preparation

Considering private tutoring as an alternative or supplement to private school fees?

Private tutoring is an accessible and flexible alternative to, or supplement for, ever-increasing school fees. Tutoring comes with many benefits, for students who attend all types of schools, including:

  • learning tailored to the student’s personal and changing needs
  • building educational relationships beyond school and home
  • growing confidence in study skills and curriculum content, and
  • support for the whole family in deciphering school-speak, setting goals and measuring learning success on the students’ own terms

No matter which path you choose, your child will always have their own individual skills, experiences and frustrations. Private tutoring ensures that they get one-on-one, personalised education that is as unique as they are. Australia Talks 2021 has found that while parent satisfaction with education in Australia varies across the many sectors, no one is completely satisfied with how their child is learning in school. Private tutoring can radically increase student and parent satisfaction with the learning experience and the results speak for themselves;

See what parents around Australia are saying about Cluey’s online personalised tutoring >>>

How can Cluey help?

If your child needs support with primary or secondary school in Maths, English or Chemistry, we can help. We have helped thousands of Australian students to catch up where they’re falling behind, ace their exams and become more confident learners equipped for life beyond school. Request your personalised tutoring program below.

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