How are independent schools funded?
Independent schools receive funding from both state and Australian governments on a student per capita basis. State governments have primary responsibility for funding government (or public) schools, while the Federal Government directs most of its schools funding to non-government (Catholic and independent) schools.
According to the Productivity Commission*, total state and federal government funding to non-government schools in Australia in 2012-13(the most recently available figures) amounted to approximately $11 billion, while government schools received approximately $37 billion. On a per student basis, in the same year independent schools attracted, on average, $8,812 per student in government funding while students in government schools attracted $15,703 each. (*2015 Productivity Commission Report on Government Services)
On average, independent schools receive the majority of their income (approximately 60% overall but this amount varies from school to school) from fees, donations and fundraising within the school community. The remainder of their income comes from government recurrent (annual) grants and through targeted programs, such as those that assist students with special needs including disabilities, those from non-English speaking backgrounds or indigenous students.
Across all non-government schools (independent and Catholic), parents contribute more than $6 billion per year in the form of tuition fees and donations. The independent schools sector is estimated to save governments approximately $2.5 billion per year.
Some additional information and facts and figures about school funding are available from the 'Useful Documents' section on this page.