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Parents slugged with extra costs on top of school fees

PARENTS already paying staggering school fees are forking out thousands on extra levies and charges, as the cost for schooling soars.

Technology, camping, sporting and capital works are some of the additional fees and levies, which hit parents with another hip-pocket pinch ranging from about $30 to more than $1,000.

Extra fees at St Joseph's College Gregory Terrace include a compulsory family capital contribution of $1000, and can opt out of paying a $132 Christian Brothers levy.

The prestigious school's book hire fee for secondary is $110.00 with year level camps ranging from $195 to $350 and sporting levies from $50.00 to $1,150.

Parents paying $27,542 to send their children to top-performing affiliate Brisbane Grammar School, which has moved to an all-inclusive fee structure will also pay a $1,185 technology levy.

Technology, camping, sporting and capital works are some of the additional fees and levies, which hit parents with another hip-pocket pinch ranging from about $30 to more than $1,000. Pictured: Terrace student Oliver Wightman and Ipswich Grammar School’s Jack Chivers during the GPS Cross Country Championships in Ipswich on June 4.
Technology, camping, sporting and capital works are some of the additional fees and levies, which hit parents with another hip-pocket pinch ranging from about $30 to more than $1,000. Pictured: Terrace student Oliver Wightman and Ipswich Grammar School’s Jack Chivers during the GPS Cross Country Championships in Ipswich on June 4.

Clayfield College parents will pay $500 for a capital levy, $760 for a general levy, $730 for a technology levy, $430 for a co-curricular levy.

While across the PMSA group of schools extra fees include at $1,200 technology fee at BBC which costs parents $24,116 in fees and an all-inclusive structure at Somerville House tuition at $21,520.

Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association Chief Executive Officer Sharon Callister said each PMSA school council and Principal determined the costs and were conscious of families' financial pressures.

"For example, some PMSA schools provide laptops for students while others chose the 'Bring Your Own Device' approach.

"We understand that cost is one key factor for parents when choosing the right school and we ensure our PMSA schools provide outstanding Christian education that is value for money."

Independent Schools Queensland executive director David Roberston said school boards carefully considered their total tuition fees and the capacity of their communities to meet those costs each year.

 

All Hallows’ Principal, Catherine O’Kane, said fees and additional costs were outlined on the school website so parents could plan ahead and “and make informed financial decisions”.
All Hallows’ Principal, Catherine O’Kane, said fees and additional costs were outlined on the school website so parents could plan ahead and “and make informed financial decisions”.

 

"Some schools provide all-inclusive fees that incorporate tuition, technology, camps, building contributions, and other costs, while others provide a discreet tuition fee and itemise other costs," he said.

"Whatever fee arrangements a school has in place, all funds are reinvested back into the school to create the best learning experience and environment for current and future students."

It comes after The Courier-Mail revealed that some prestigious Brisbane schools had increased their fees by nearly double inflation.

One of the biggest increases was a 5.5 per cent hike in fees at inner-city All Hallows' School, where tuition costs will rise to $11,450 in 2020. And parents will also pay a raft of levies depending on each year level with camp/events fees ranging from $40 to $925, technology from $180 to $640 and a maintenance levy per family at $600.

 

Some PMSA schools provide laptops for students while others chose the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ approach.
Some PMSA schools provide laptops for students while others chose the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ approach.

 

But All Hallows' Principal, Catherine O'Kane, said fees and additional costs were outlined on the school website so parents could plan ahead and "and make informed financial decisions".

"Fees remain at the low end of the private school range and parent feedback confirms we provide excellent value when measured against our extensive curriculum offering which delivers strong academic outcomes, plus the quality of our social justice, culture and sports programs for students," she said.

"Extra expenses are carefully considered, varying based on year level specific requirements such as interstate trips (e.g. Year 6 Canberra excursion) or graduation functions."

Most all-inclusive fee structures will still see parents paying for a range of extra costs including sporting camps and co-curricular activities, stationary, textbooks and more.

Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network executive officer Justine Cirocco said the majority of parents spent about two years researching all aspects of schools they've short-listed.

"They know what they can afford and what education approach will bring out the best in their child," she said.

"Independent schools are transparent about their fees, identifying what's included and what's not. This allows parents to accurately compare costs."