School costs squeeze budgets

SCHOOL expenses – including uniforms, textbooks and excursions – are putting a further squeeze on the family budget, with the cost totalling almost $2000 per year for each Queensland child.

The latest Bankwest Social Indicator Survey, the Cost of Kids and School report, revealed that during the lifetime of an average primary and high school education, Queensland parents could expect to fork out more than $25,000 on ad hoc expenses. For students with additional private school fees, Queensland parents would on average pay more than $100,000 per child, based on the current year’s survey results.

Bankwest Retail chief executive Vittoria Shortt said although the school holidays were coming to an end, spending on the kids was far from over.

“The family budget is under strain and education is one cost which is hitting the hip pocket of parents across Queensland,” explained Ms Shortt.

“As these school expenses often come in incremental amounts, most parents may not realise their overall bill is so high.

“Parents need to be mindful of these additional costs. These are the kind of expenses which should be factored into the family budget, and it may mean parents need to start saving for their child’s education a lot sooner.”

The survey also revealed that the out-of-pocket expenses for private school students are 35 per cent higher than for public school students, while NSW parents are hit the hardest with annual costs of $2213 per child. The smallest bills are in Western Australia ($1793).

While some costs, like computers and stationery, are deductible for many through the Federal Government’s education tax refund scheme, other costs will still have to be absorbed through the family budget.

Ms Shortt also said that when choosing a school for their children, parents considered academic record, location and cost as the main considerations.

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