Private school fees: the true cost and alternatives
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Private school fees: the true cost and alternatives
Mar 08, 2023 Episode 247
Stuart Wemyss

It is stating the obvious that private school education is expensive. If you are uncertain whether you would like to send your kids to a private school, I thought it would be interesting to consider some alternatives and put the costs into perspective. 

The public versus private school decision is a very personal one influenced by many considerations, including financial. I acknowledge that many factors may be more important than financial consideration. However, in this blog I would like to focus solely on the financial implications whilst acknowledging that despite the costs and alternatives, many people will still choose to send their children to a private school. 

How much will private school fees cost in the future?

Of course, private school fees can vary significantly in different capital cities and regional centres. As an example, secondary tuition fees for many private schools in Melbourne range between $30,000 and $40,000 p.a. 

There are two noteworthy factors that must be considered. Firstly, on average, fees tend to increase at a rate that exceeds inflation. When planning for clients, we assume that fees increase at a rate of 5% p.a. As such, 10 years from now, school fees are probably likely to cost between $45,000 and $60,000. Secondly, these fees do not include additional items such as uniforms, books/computer, excursions/camps and so on. It is prudent to allow an additional 5-10% for these costs. 

The cost in today’s dollars

Assuming you have a child today and you want to send them to a private secondary school that currently costs $30,000 + 5% for other costs, I project the total cost of secondary school will be $400,000 in future dollars, or $270,000 in today’s dollars. Of course, if you have more than one child and/or send your kids to a private primary school as well as secondary, your total cost will be a multiple of $270,000.

That’s a lot of money and a big drain on your retirement savings. Let’s consider some alternatives.

Buy a home in a good public-school zone 

If you don’t have access to a good public school, you could buy a home in a good public-school zone and avoid having to pay for private school fees. According to this research by Domain, property prices can grow at a much higher rate than locations that don’t offer a highly regarded public school. 

Of course, it is going to depend on the location and school, but I do not con


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IMPORTANT: This podcast provides general information about finance, taxes, and credit. This means that the content does not consider your specific objectives, financial situation, or needs. It is crucial for you to assess whether the information is suitable for your circumstances before taking any actions based on it. If you find yourself uncertain about the relevance or your specific needs, it is advisable to seek advice from a licensed and trustworthy professional.