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Everything you need to know about government assistance for schooling

We all want the very best for our children. Through conversations with thousands of parents, we know that the majority are prepared to make financial sacrifices for their child’s education. The price of school fees, textbooks and other equipment can be expensive, so it’s worthwhile looking into the various rebates and other payments available which may assist with the cost of your child’s schooling.

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What government assistance is available to parents?

There are some payments you can claim depending upon which state you live in, and others that all Australians can claim, no matter where you are based.

Federal Government payments

Up until July 2016, the Schoolkids Bonus was available nationally to eligible families with primary and secondary school-aged children. This payment, distributed by the Federal Government, has now been phased out. Eligible families were those receiving the Family Tax Benefit Part A. Although the Schoolkids Bonus no longer exists, the Family Tax Benefit is still available.

Some families may be eligible for the Parenting Payment and for older students aged 16 to 24 years, the Youth Allowance may be available. Both these Federal Government payments are means-tested.

For pre-school aged children, the Federal Government offers the Child Care Rebate (CCR), which is not means tested, and the Child Care Benefit (CCB), which is. You must receive the CCB in order to be eligible for the CCR, which will cover 50% of your out-of-pocket childcare costs of up to $7,500 a year.

State-based payments

Both the New South Wales and Queensland Governments provide a number of payments families may be able to claim, including a Living Away from Home Allowance for eligible secondary school students who need to board in order to attend a government school. The Queensland Government also offers assistance to families of secondary school age students attending state or non-state approved schools to help with the cost of learning resources, including textbooks.

Does the government provide funding to all schools?

Yes. The Federal Government provides funding to both public (or government) and private (or non-government) schools. The most recent figures show private schools receive roughly $11 billion in government funding per year; while public schools receive approximately $37 billion.

Public schools are owned by the government of the state or territory the school is in. The Federal Government provides additional funding on top of that provided by the state or territory. Aggregated, each student enrolled at a public school receives $16,180 per year in government funding.

Private schools receive public funding from both the Federal Government and the government of the state or territory the school is in. On a student per capita basis; 42 per cent of private schools’ funding, on average, comes from Federal or State governments. Aggregated, this equates to $9,327 per year per student. This funding is provided alongside the school fees paid by families.

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