READY TO GO: Scott Hawkins, 10, Nicholas, 6, Michael, 12, Kirsty, 5, and their mum Tiffany Hawkins are all set for the first day back at school.
READY TO GO: Scott Hawkins, 10, Nicholas, 6, Michael, 12, Kirsty, 5, and their mum Tiffany Hawkins are all set for the first day back at school. Doug Eaton

Parents face bill of $2954 in back-to-school costs

FOR Cumbalum resident Tiffany Hawkins, sending her four kids to school this semester has been a costly lesson in school expenses.

This year her youngest Kirsty, 5, will be going to school for the first time, joining older brothers Nicholas, 6, Scott, 10, and Michael, 12, at Emmanuel Anglican College in Ballina.

"It would be close to two grand or more including drink bottles and lunch boxes, let alone the stationery and new uniforms," she said.

"So it's certainly something we plan for.

"My husband (jokingly) complains. He says he'll never be able to retire."

Ms Hawkins said school fees were the biggest cost. "My eldest is starting high school this year and that's a huge jump in fees, and along with that comes extracurriculars as they get older."

She said some parents who sent their children to a private school worked two jobs to be able to afford it.

"People talk about it and budget for it and look at where they can cut spending elsewhere to pay for the kids' school," Ms Hawkins said.

According to an education cost calculator on the Australian Scholarships Group website, parents sending their child to a public primary school this year can expect to pay about $2954, while parents of private school children will need to fork out about $9046 for the year.

A breakdown of these costs for a public primary school includes $287 for fees, levies and charges, $1375 for extracurricular activities, $304 for clothing, $178 for necessities, $346 for travel and $464 for computers.

By the time a child has completed primary school, public school parents will have paid $21,229 in total costs and private school parents will have paid $71,056.

The data also shows costs increasing annually from $2954 in 2014 to $3123 in 2020 for a child enrolling in a public primary school this year, and $9046 to $11,370 for a private school education.



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