South Australian Catholic schools are putting a “freeze on fees”

Jarrod Brown
Jarrod Brown

South Australian Catholic schools have announced they won’t increase fees in 2024 in an effort to lighten the financial burden on families. 

This unprecedented move is the third consecutive year that Catholic Education SA has not raised tuition fees.

“We recognise that cost-of-living increases are putting significant pressure on families,” said Executive Director Dr Neil McGoran

“The bottom line is families matter. At a time when South Australians are experiencing high inflation, increasing interest rates and mortgage pressure, families need affordable school fees more than ever.”

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Dr McGoran said the fee-freeze would provide welcome relief to families without impacting the quality of education offered to students.

“We’re genuinely committed to keeping school fees as low as possible and ensuring a Catholic education is affordable and accessible to all.”

‘Flocking to faith education’

The announcement comes as the sector continues to grow, with 1,400 reception students starting at South Australian Catholic schools in term three. 

More than 52,300 students attend the 101 Diocesan and separately governed Catholic schools in South Australia. 

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The sector’s August census shows enrolments have risen more than four per cent since last year’s census.

“Growth in enrolments across the State in our 101 Catholic Schools, together with prudent financial management, puts us in a position where we are able to hold tuition fees at this year’s level,” said Dr McGoran.

Christian schools are seeing similar growth across the country, with data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing more children are enrolled in independent schools than ever.

“Parents are continuing to flock to schools providing a faith-based education”, said Christian Schools Australia Director of Public Policy, Mark Spencer.

mark spencer headshot

“We have heard reports from small regional Christian schools experiencing growth of more than 65 per cent and larger metropolitan schools in growth corridors experiencing growth of more than 57 per cent.”

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Lightening the load on families

In an effort to improve accessibility for families, Catholic Education SA has been implementing the ‘Making Catholic Education More Affordable Initiative’ since 2019. 

“We’ve introduced a range of initiatives, including widespread fee reductions, a low-income fee for families on modest incomes, and a free midyear intake for Receptions,” said Dr McGoran.

Over the last three years, all diocesan Catholic primary schools have continually frozen and reduced fees by up to 15 per cent. 

Further fee remissions and reductions have also been made available through individual schools for families struggling under financial pressures. 

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Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. Jarrod established his journalism career working on the education news and information site The Bursar. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.