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Educating The Next Generation- The Costs

Written by Melissa Grimshaw

Did you know?  A primary school in Phuma Changthang, Tibet is thought to be the highest school in world, located 5,373 meters above sea level.  It is 200 metres higher than base camp on Mount Everest.

Did you know?  In a remote area of Colombia, kids travel to school on a zip line- isolated valley called Los Pinos.  Young kids must travel with parents to school.  It hangs 754 feet above a canyon and is about half a mile long.

Did you Know? There is a kindergarten in Germany that is shaped as a white feline, complete with whiskers and circular windows for eyes.  You enter via the mouth and the tail is a slide at the back of the building.  

Fast Fact –13 years of a government education in metro Australia attracts an average cost of $84,554, a Catholic Education, the average is $173,706 and for an independent education, the average is $288,880.  Source: Schooling in Australia- 2023 Futurity Investment Group and McCrindle.

Whether you are educating your children through government, catholic or independent schooling, or on the highest point in the world, it costs!  Then there is University!  An undergraduate degree (excluding medical and veterinary) on average costs between $20,000 to $45,000.  Source QS Top Universities – Jane Playdon -author and blogger.

Until we have a child in school, what we don’t realise, it is not just the tuition fees that we pay each year.  You could be forgiven to think, that a government education is free, it isn’t as noted in the fast fact above.

While a government (state) school fees are very little compared to the catholic and independent schools, we need to consider the other costs that are associated along the school journey with your child/grandchild.  Some of these include:

  • Electronic devices
  • School camps
  • School sports fees
  • Outside Tuition
  • Uniforms and textbooks
  • the list goes on…..

From a recent survey by the Smith Family pulse, indicates that over 2023, 87% of parents are worried about how they can afford all the additional things that their children need for a school year.

We all know that educating our children is one of the biggest investments/opportunities that we give our children as a start in life.  It was always drummed into me, that having a good education is everything.  The old saying ‘Knowledge is Power”.  Guess that is why I am always willing to learn and educate myself.

We are even seeing now amongst clients, that grandparents are chipping in to help educate the next generation.

So, how do families fund education for their children today? 

There are many resources available, and while some of these are not for everyone or eligibility, we have listed a few below as “Food for Thought”.

  • Cashflow – funding year by year as part of the normal household budget
  • Apply for scholarships through your chosen school to help fund part or all of the costs.
  • Financial Assistance Schemes available through schools or institutions. One example EdStart– sets up payment plans that you can pay off over a 12-month period +.
  • Government Assistance Programs – Check to see if you qualify for any such as Youth Allowance, once your child is aged 16 to 24 years old.
  • Tertiary HELP loans -defer payments for university degrees until such time your student starts their Career, and the HELP repayments is made through the tax system once reached an income threshold.

If you wish to plan a little more to fund the costs, one strategy is to simply start a savings plan, by putting a little away each fortnight/month before schooling starts to access for 1 purpose only – Education.  Continue to do so when school commences, until you have sufficient capital for the last one to complete school.  Savings vehicles could include but not exhaustive to:

  • High-interest savings account
  • Managed Funds
  • Investment Bonds
  • Specific Education Bonds

The First step

  • Decide the school type ie government, catholic, independent or combination.
  • Work out what the potential costs will be for chosen school.
  • Work out what you can afford and put aside some dollars now.

The Second Step

Talk to your financial planner to help you identify what your capital needs are likely to be based on the above decisions and a suitable vehicle to start your savings plan.

Fast Fact – “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” Benjamin Franklin 1970

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