School Fees Increase Looms in Shorncliffe Catholic School, Other Qld Private Schools

With rising inflation and costs associated with delivering educational services, private schools in Queensland including a Shorncliffe Catholic school, are sounding the alarm on impending school fees hike.

During the past two years, many private schools have chosen to freeze fees to stem the exodus of children of pandemic-impacted families to public schools. But now, it looks like the inevitable has come.

Private schools in Queensland have begun announcing or are considering school fee increases for next year whose uptick rate could even surpass the current inflation rate, between four and ten per cent. 

St Patrick’s College is no exception. In mid-September 2022, the college sent notice to parents about possible higher fees with increases that could be as much as ten per cent for the next couple of years. 

St Patrick’s College pointed to several factors that impacted the school’s budget for 2023 that led to possible increase in fees including the rising operational cost and inflation as well as insufficient federal and state government funding. Still, the school assured its commitment to delivering quality education amid the inevitable school fees hike.

 St Patrick’s College
Photo Credit: St Patrick’s College /

According to a report from Blueprint Institute released in early September this year, fees at independent schools nationwide have increased by more than 50 per cent over the last decade. In major cities, the increase went as much as 54 per cent and up to 80 per cent in some instances. These increases far outstrips inflation and wage growth, the report said, which creates an affordability crisis for families across the country.

The Blueprint paper noted that, presently, there is a lack of transparency around non-government school expenditure which often “feeds into the uncontrolled year-on-year fee increases.” 

“The taxpayer spends $18 billion per year on funding private schools under the guise of providing ‘educational choice’ to families. But this justification becomes indefensible when that choice is removed unless families take on credit card debt or remortgage their homes to pay for school,” Blueprint CEO David Cross said.

Blueprint, hence, proposes “the creation of a statutorily independent ‘Non-government School Transparency Advisory Committee’ by each state government.” This would in turn result in extensive self-regulation that could limit school fee increases and stop exorbitant spending.

“Non-government schools will be more reluctant to spend money earned from fees on superfluous capital works, exorbitant executive salaries, travel, and luxury items if they know they have to publicly defend said expenses to the Committee and fee-paying parents,” the report said.