Schools are funded under a single system. If the school is eligible, the Commonwealth and State Governments will provide funds which contribute to the cost of operating the school. Schools which operate for profit are not eligible for funding. Since government funds can only be paid once the school is established, it is critically important to consider funding eligibility, along with proposed enrollments, fees and expenditure etc., to determine the feasibility of the school.
Commonwealth Government funding
The approved authority for a not-for-profit school may also seek approval for eligibility for funding by the Commonwealth Government. Schools are encouraged to apply as soon as NESA has provided approval to operate the school. A summary of current funding arrangements is available here, with further detail in the Australian Education Act 2013 and the Australian Education Regulation 2013.
Application for Commonwealth funding is via an online application at Schools Entry Point (SEP). The SEP application process ensures that all the legislated requirements (under both the Australian Education Act 2013 and the Australian Education Regulation 2013) are met, including necessary supporting documents (demonstrating NESA registration etc.).
Payments to new schools are made after the school opens, and after the school’s entitlement has been calculated from a compliant application. For a school that opens before August, the estimated entitlement uses the initial student cohort from when the school starts to deliver education (opens). Entitlements are then updated with the actual student numbers from the August census day.
For new school approvals, the proportion of the entitlement paid as an initial amount is shown below, with the balance paid in October to take into account data from the August student census:
- for approvals before July, the payment is a 50 per cent advance, calculated from their estimated entitlement
- for approvals from July to August, the payment is a 75 per cent advance, calculated from their estimated entitlement
- for approvals after August, the payment is 100 per cent of their actual entitlement (using student census data).
Further information on Commonwealth funding for a new school is available from Grantsanddata.firstname.lastname@example.org.
State Government funding
State Government funding, for registered schools operating not-for-profit, is aligned with the the Commonwealth’s funding model with the Commonwealth determining each schools’ funding entitlement. The Commonwealth pays 80% and the NSW Government pays 20% of the funding entitlement. The NSW Department of Education (DoE) Non-Government Schools Unitmanages the payment of State Government funding to NSW non-government schools.
Further information about NSW non-government school funding is available here.