Live in Australia

Government school fees for international students

This page has information on the fees and other costs for international students attending government schools, how to pay fees and the refund process.

2018 tuition fees

Year Tuition fee per year
Pre-school AU$3,750
Primary school: Transition to Year 6 AU$7,500
Middle school: Year 7 to 9 AU$9,000
Senior secondary: Year 10 to 12 AU$10,000

2018 tuition fees

Fees to be paid Pre-school Primary – Transition to Year 6 Middle – Year 7 to 9 Years 10, 11 or 12
Annual tuition fee AU$3,750 AU$7,500 AU$9,000 AU$10,000
^ Refundable bond Not applicable AU$1,000 AU$1,000 AU$1,000
Total AU$3750 AU$8,500 AU$10,000 AU$11,000

^ Additional costs for students who are the primary holder of a subclass 500 international student visa.

Fees include all of the following:

  • application and school placement processing
  • pre-departure information
  • welcome and orientation
  • student support services including career and personal counselling
  • ongoing English language support
  • school term and semester reports.

Additional expenses

Additional expenses include:

  • student visa costs
  • homestay accommodation costs
  • school uniforms
  • school excursions
  • personal expenses
  • overseas student health cover (payable each year)
  • specialist course fees.

Intensive English program

Fees for the Intensive English program are determined by the student’s age and appropriate year level:

  • primary school the fee is $7,500 each year
  • middle school the fee is $9,000 each year
  • senior secondary the fee is $10,000 each year.

You can refer to the tuition fee table above.

Read more about the Intensive English program.

Fee payment

You are required to pay your fees in advance. Details are provided in the letter of offer, confirmation of placement or invoice issued by the school.

Who is required to pay fees

Students on specific visa subclasses are required to pay international student fees to attend a Northern Territory government school.

There are a range of visas that students may be on as the primary holder or as a dependent. Visas include:

  • visitor
  • working and skilled
  • studying and training
  • family and spousal
  • refugee and humanitarian
  • bridging or repealed.

The table below lists all visa subclasses that attract international student fees.

173 400 407
417 462 500
590 600 601
602 651 884

Repealed visas that attract fee include subclasses 160, 161, 162, 402, 442, 456, 459, 470, 570, 571 (except for exchange students), 572, 573, 574, 575, 580, 675, 676, 679, 685, 944, 956, 976 and 977.

For more information on visa subclasses that attract tuition fees get the overseas student tuition fees by visa subclass list (209.6 kb).

Bridging visa

Students on bridging visa class E (protection visa) are not required to pay international student fees.

The fee-paying status of all other bridging visas is determined by the immediately preceding visa.

If the immediately preceding visa attracted international student fees, fees will continue to be payable while the student is on the bridging visa.

If the immediately preceding visa did not attract international student fees, no fees will be payable to the school while the student is on the visa.


Refunds of international student fees depend on your visa type.

You must notify International Services in writing to request a refund or if you withdrawal from a course.

Students applying for or holding a student visa – subclasses 500/571

If your visa is rejected

You will be refunded all paid course costs minus a A$100 administrative fee within 28 days. The refund will only be granted if you supply evidence that your application for a student visa was rejected by Australian immigration authorities.

Student-initiated withdrawal

If you defer, suspend or cancel your enrolment, refunded amounts will be based on when written notice of withdrawal is received:

  • up to four weeks before commencement of the course – A$100 administrative fee will be retained by the school
  • less than two weeks before commencement of the course – A$500 fee will be retained by the school
  • more than four months after commencement – no refund of tuition fees.

No refund will be made if your enrolment is cancelled for any of the following:

  • failure to maintain satisfactory course progress (visa condition 8202)
  • failure to maintain satisfactory attendance (visa condition 8202)
  • failure to maintain approved welfare and accommodation arrangements (visa condition 8532)
  • failure to pay course fees
  • any behaviour identified as resulting in enrolment cancellation per Department of Education policy.

Students who are dependants on their parent’s visa or visitor visas

Change of visa status

If your visa status changes to a visa subclass that does not attract international student fees then tuition fees will be refunded from the date that the new visa is granted.

A copy of the new visa must be provided to the school and International Services.

Early departure from a course

If you leave the school to return to your home country or to attend a school outside the Northern Territory (NT), all tuition fees that have been paid will be retained unless a minimum of four weeks notice of your intention to leave is provided to the school in writing.

If four weeks notice has been provided, a refund will be given from the date that you ceased at an NT government school.

Living costs in Australia

Knowing the average living costs in Australia is an important part of your financial preparation. For your reference, here are some of the costs associated with living and studying in Australia (all costs are in Australian dollars).

The costs below are an approximate guide only. Students should be aware that these costs can vary depending on your study location in Australia.


  • Hostels and Guesthouses – $90 to $150 per week
  • Shared Rental – $85 to $215 per week
  • On campus – $90 to $280 per week
  • Homestay – $235 to $325 per week
  • Rental – $165 to $440 per week
  • Boarding schools – $11,000 to $22,000 a year

Other living expenses

  • Groceries and eating out – $80 to $280 per week
  • Gas, electricity – $35 to $140 per week
  • Phone and Internet – $20 to $55 per week
  • Public transport – $15 to $55 per week
  • Car (after purchase) – $150 to $260 per week
  • Entertainment – $80 to $150 per week

Minimum cost of living

The Department of Home Affairs(opens in a new window) has financial requirements you must meet in order to receive a student visa for Australia. From 1st February 2018 the 12 month living cost is:

  • You – $20,290
  • Partner or spouse – $7,100
  • Child – $3,040

All costs are per year in Australian dollars. To convert to your own currency, visit in a new window)

The Australian Government provides information and guidance on managing your finances. You can read more at in a new window)

The ‘Insider Guides Cost of Living Calculator’ is also a useful tool to help estimate your cost of living(opens in a new window) in Australia in a new window).

If you experience financial trouble while in Australia, talk to your institution’s international student support staff for assistance.

Private School Fees and Costs

How much do Australian Private Schools Cost?

Private school tuition fees vary considerably across Australia; however you may expect to pay anywhere between $23,000 and $40,000 for a Year 12 day student attending an established, well regarded metropolitan private school in 2018 – with boarding fees in addition. Most schools do, however, provide a discount of some form for families where multiple children attend the same school.

Fee Comparisons

To provide some additional detail, the table below provides an indication of school fees payable at some well-known colleges across Australia for Year 12 students. These are generally prestigious schools and their fees are at the very top end of the range – Catholic schools are usually appreciably less expensive. The table illustrates that fees charged in both Melbourne and Sydney are now basically comparable and remain ahead of other mainland state capitals, although the difference seems to be narrowing. Compulsory levies have been included in fee comparisons where identifiable and possible – IT and “Tablet” levies are currently almost universal. It is now also becoming more common to see schools including “voluntary donations” within fee invoices – at this stage we will flag these situations rather than include them in direct comparisons.

The trend over recent years has been for the increase in private school fees to significantly exceed wage and wider inflation; with compound increases of over 6% being common amongst the better known schools over the last five years, effectively doubling the cost of private education every decade. 2018 shows signs of a continuing, and overdue, moderation in fee increases.

In any event, the cost of private school fees continues to outpace general inflation and their sustainability is questionable, with enrolments beginning to soften. However, they need to be very carefully considered within your financial planning if you are committed to the private school system – in many situations the cost of sending two children through an Australian private school will easily exceed AUD700K.

Last Increase
Canberra Grammar 21,860
Canberra Girls Grammar 20,810*
PLC Sydney 30,660**
SCEGGS Darlinghurst 35,672
Sydney Grammar School 32,644
Scots College 33,925^
Brisbane Grammar School 25,130
Brisbane Girls Grammar 22,520
Anglican Church Grammar 22,266*
Prince Alfred College 24,720**
Walford 24,240**
Pulteney Grammar 23,200**
Geelong Grammar 37,328^
Melbourne Girls Grammar 32,736
Haileybury College 28,710
Trinity Grammar 30,680
Hale School 24,330
Christ Church Grammar 26,200
Fahan School 16,060
Hutchins School 16,310
Excludes additional (unavoidable) charges, such as textbook and notebook hire, Art, and Sport participation.
School does not make fees public – any figures provided are unconfirmed and may not include ancillary costs
Additional voluntary contributions to building or scholarship funds suggested
Awaiting fee publication

It may seem pointless to include schools in the comparison who do not make their fees public. However, we believe that a school’s acceptance of any level of public funding should be contingent on a minimum level of transparency, including fees charged and their enrolment policies. For the moment, there seems to be a very clear and direct relationship between the absolute level of fees and the unwillingness of schools such as Geelong Grammar and Scots College to publish them.

Non- Residents: Private School Costs

The difference between private school fees for resident and a non-residents can be quite substantial; the figures below are those applying in relation to an Anglican Church Grammar Year 12 boarder in 2018, and they are fairly representative:

Tuition Fees
Boarding Fees

Additional Costs

Apart from the cost of school fees, the cost of attendance at an Australian private school includes a range of potential additional costs.  A summarised, and by no means exhaustive, list of costs split into non-recurring and recurring costs appears below:

Non – Recurring

  • Application Fee – circa $50 to $200
  • Enrolment or Admission Fee – circa $500 to $2,500 and may be higher. For example, Hale and Christ Church, both located in Perth, currently (2018) charge non-refundable/non-tax deductible fees of $8,100 and $6,905 respectively upon the admission of a first child.
  • Non Interest Bearing Loans – may increase as a child progresses through the school


  • Building Levies – Compulsory or Voluntary
  • Compulsory purchase of IT equipment – laptops and tablets
  • International Baccalaureate levies – often $2000+ per annum
  • Additional subject costs eg. music, language, sports tuition
  • Special Programme costs
  • School Camps and Trips
  • Uniforms
  • Musical equipment hire
  • School bus services
  • Book charges
  • Pre and After-school care costs
  • Fundraising support (voluntary)

Some Comments on Funding Education Costs

1. Australian expats looking to fund future education costs in Australia need to seek specific financial advice – the “best” approach may be very dependent on your location. For example, for expats based in low or no tax regimes it is unlikely that Australian based investment solutions will be competitive with products or services available offshore.

2. Expats in Australia on temporary resident visas with children in private schools (in Australia or overseas) or resident in states which charge for access to public schooling should seek specific tax advice regarding the advantages of salary sacrificing these costs within their remuneration package.

3. We are unconvinced that the current Education or Scholarship funds available in Australia to fund primary, secondary and University schooling always represent “good value” from a cost or flexibility perspective. We would rather see this sort of funding integrated within a family’s overall financial plan; unless participation is simply seen as a budgetting tool.