Parents with students at Catholic schools across the Canberra and Goulburn Diocese are facing a 7 per cent hike in fees next year.
A 2023 fee schedule sent to parents at St Matthews Primary School in Page shows the tuition fee set by Catholic Education Canberra rising to $489 a term.
School levies of $397.50 and the $200 tax deductible building fund take the term fees to $1086, or $4346 for the year.
Acting Principal Petra Cole told parents that this represented an increase of 7 per cent on last year, “in line with rising salaries and costs required to ensure our school continues to deliver quality education”.
Catholic Education confirmed this would be the expected fee increase for ACT primary schools in 2023.
The fee increases come amid a cost-of-living crisis due to surging inflation caused by higher fuel, energy and food prices brought on by the war in Ukraine and flooding in rural Australia.
Australians are also struggling with rising mortgages as the Reserve Bank jacks up interest rates in a bid to slay the inflation dragon.
“We are very mindful of the impacts any fee increase incurs on families, and have therefore carefully considered what would be most appropriate for the year ahead,” Ms Cole said.
“In setting 2023 fees, we have worked hard to strike an effective balance between our essential work of providing an excellent education for our students and keeping any increase manageable for families – especially given the current economic environment.”
Catholic Education Director Ross Fox blamed ACT and Australian Government funding decisions, as well as inflation, for the fee rises.
Mr Fox said Catholic Education strove to keep fees as low as possible, and in an ideal world, fees would never increase.
“Unfortunately, the reality is that the cost of resources schools need continue to increase,” he said.
“To meet parent and student expectations for a high-quality education, it’s important that all income, including fees, keep pace with increasing education costs amidst the changing funding environment.”
Catholic schools are also facing pressure from teachers taking industrial action in support of pay claims.
Catholic Education said sibling discounts for tuition fees were available to families – 50 per cent for a second child, 70 per cent for a third and no charge for a fourth.
For St Matthew’s parents, that translates to annual total fees of $6014 for two children (term tuition fee $734), $7290 for three (term tuition fee $881) and $7978 for four (term tuition fee $881).
It said ACT secondary colleges’ fee increases for 2023 would not differ significantly from the average 7 per cent increase in other ACT schools.
In NSW, parents sending their children to Catholic schools will fare better than their ACT counterparts, only having to fork out about 5 per cent more next year.
NSW central and secondary school discounts are administered on a school basis and closely reflect ACT sibling discounts.
Catholic Education is also simplifying fees in most schools to three items – a Student Resources Levy charged per student, a School Resources Levy charged per family and an ICT Levy charged per student.
Mr Fox urged any parent or carer concerned about the fees at their school next year to contact their principal.
“Catholic Education seeks to support every family in need in respect of fees and believes no child should be denied a Catholic education because of fees,” he said.
Mr Fox said that despite the fee rises, Catholic Education believed Catholic schools continued to provide good value for money.