Back in January, the education editor for adelaidenow.com.au, Sheradyn Holderhead quoted figures from the Australia Scholarships Group showing that Adelaide is now the most affordable city for private education. What really made me sit up and take note was the fact that ASG had collected more than 14,000 national responses to compile their survey. Not only has the cost of private education in Australia risen at more than twice the rate of inflation over the past decade but the ASG Education Cost Index forecasts that it will ‘rise by 5.73 per cent each year over the next 20 years’ according to the article.
A Sign Of Things To Come
With the cost of privately educating your child in Australia rapidly outpacing inflation for the foreseeable future, what does this mean for parents faced with ever-higher bills? As ASG predicts that Adelaide will retain its position as the cheapest city, we could see a migration in terms of where parents choose to send their children or an increase in boarding options for schools in those areas.
The Limits To Compromises
While overall the numbers of students in private education in Australia have fallen slightly from where they were a few years ago, parents are far more likely to make financial cutbacks in other areas of their lives than pull their children out of private schooling. Private education offers the highest educational standards, the best facilities and the most opportunities for children’s happiness as well as their education. With no signs of Australia’s public school system dramatically improving any time soon, research shows that parents are unwilling to give up on private education. ASG’s research indicated that parents will forgo holidays, home improvements and gadgets before deciding to pull the plug on their child’s education opportunities.
A Vision Of The Future
A private school, Fernhill, in Glasgow Scotland recently hit the headlines for offering mortgage-type repayment schemes for school fees. It’s not impossible that Australian private schools will follow suit. Fernhill’s annual fees top nearly $15,000 (£9,000) and in response to the pressures that parents are facing financially they devised an innovative solution. In order to make education more affordable, Fernhill is currently offering parents the chance to spread the cost of fees over ten years, and they are offering this interest free. One of the school’s governor claimed that parents who took advantage of this scheme could see their monthly payments drop by a half.
The Future For Australian Parents?
Depending of the success of mortgage-style schemes like the one offered by Fernhill, the choices facing Australian parents who wish for their children to enjoy a private education could be blow wide open in the next few years. It’s possible that more Australian private schools could offer these schemes. If we look back at the UK, some financial service companies are also starting to offer long-term loans for education. These same loans could become more popular in Australia over the coming years. As a private education become less affordable for many Australians, we’ll certainly see more options available for financing.