If you are relocating to Australia as temporary residents and you have school age children, you need to check whether you’re liable to pay State Public School tuition fees. The most common types of temporary resident visa that we hear about are the Temporary Business Short Stay and Temporary Business Long Stay visas – visa subclasses 456 and 457.
Fees for State Public Schools
Before we look at school fee requirements in the different Australian states and territories we should be clear that these tuition or education fees relate to Australian State Public Schools only (also called Government Schools).
The fees payable at Australian Catholic and Independent Private Schools are usually the same for temporary residents, permanent residents and Australian citizens. For temporary residents of some Australian states, Private schooling is cheaper per year per child than paying for State Public Schooling. This is particularly true for larger families because Private schools offer reduced fees the more children you enrol.
Note: If you are staying in Australia as short term visitors (i.e. on a visitors or student visa) you will be liable to pay international student fees for Private schooling, as defined by each school. This will normally cost more than the standard Private school fees offered to residents.
Which states ask for State Public School tuition fees?
Currently the states \ territories in Australia that clearly require temporary residents to pay tuition or education fees are the ACT, NSW, NT and TAS. It’s worth highlighting that although many states require tuition fees for temporary residents, visa subclass 457 is often exempt. Read on for full details…
NSW: Temporary residents program education fees
This brochure explains the Temporary Residents Program Education Fees in NSW. In NSW 456 and 457 visa holders pay temporary resident education fees. Currently the cost per year per child for temporary residents attending government schooling in NSW is;
- Primary School Years K – 6 and High School Years 7 – 10: $4,500
- High School Years 11 and 12: $5,500
Fees are paid in advance and a one off administration fee of $110 is also payable. Full details are provided in the brochure. This table provides a comprehensive list of visa types and whether a NSW Temporary Residents Program Application Form and Fee are applicable.
A note on NSW Preschools
Families should be aware that Preschool (the year before Primary School) isn’t subsidised by the NSW government. All families in NSW pay for Preschool. However, permanent residents and citizens may be able to claim a rebate from Family Assistance depending on their family income, work and \ or study situation.
ACT: Temporary resident tuition fees and 457 fee waiver
In the ACT, tuition fees are required for temporary residents wishing to study in State Public Schools. However, the ACT education department waive these fees for visa subclass 457 (long stay business visa). Fees are not waived for visa subclass 456 (short stay business visa).
Government school tuition fees per year per child in ACT are;
- Preschool: $3,600
- Primary School Years K – 6: $9,320
- High School Years 7 – 10: $12,500
- High School Years 11 and 12: $13,900
Full details and a description of what the fees cover is included in this application form.
This Fact Sheet lists visa types that are exempt from ACT government school tuition fees. Although you don’t pay fees you still need to apply for a waiver by supplying appropriate documentation. The waiver for people living in the ACT and holding a 457 visa is also specific to jobs that appear on the Skilled Occupation List; make sure you check the table to confirm your requirements.
Other exemptions to the ACT government school tuition fees are listed in this policy document, they include dependents of Australian government and university scholarship holders.
Tasmania and the Northern Territory – 457 exempt from fees
The policy in TAS and the NT is similar to that in the ACT. School tuition fees are generally required for temporary residents, but visa subclass 457 is exempt.
In Tasmania, if you’re a temporary resident but not on a 457 (or 574) visa the exact amount payable per year per child depends on the visa type but can be no more than $5,500. Full details and a Temporary Resident Application Form are available here.
In the NT, as well as visa subclass 457, there are a number of ‘skilled migration’ visa types that are exempt from international student fees. A full list is provided here (at the bottom of the page).
What about the other states \ territories?
According to Mum’s research, Government Schooling is generally provided to temporary residents of VIC, QLD, SA and WA in the same way as it is to Australian citizens and Permanent Residents. There are no tuition fees and the only costs parents need to consider are uniform and resource contributions (stationery, excursions etc).
Understanding the cost of schooling is critical to families planning their move to Australia. We know families in NSW who have chosen Catholic or other Private Schooling because they want to avoid paying the Government School fees. Whatever your plans, or wherever you have relocated as a temporary resident, please let us know if your experience differs from the details we’ve provided here.
If you can offer tips and advice to other potential or existing temporary residents regarding the fee waiver process that will also be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Earlier in the week we talked about LAFHA, an Australian tax break for temporary residents. If you’ve moved to NSW with school age children you’d be forgiven for feeling that what’s given with the left hand is taken with the right! But still, we hope you’re enjoying your time down under.
**Breaking News for those considering Catholic Education** Please read: Australian Catholic Schools – New fee for temporary residents.
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