How much public funding do schools receive?

how much funding do schools get

There is almost ongoing discussion in Australia as to the various pros and cons associated with both public and private school education. Academic, social, career and of course financial.

The most recent kickoff point for the current conversation is a paper released by PerCapita thinktank: ?Who?s afraid of a public school?? which aims to measure and explore the attitudes of Australians towards the relative merits of public versus private education as well as evaluate those findings according to the established literature and data available about actual strengths and weaknesses of the two different systems.

Inevitably news reports of school-related research attract reader comments with regards to how schools are funded. Sometimes these comments show a lack of understanding with regards to school funding.So here is how it works:

In overall terms, there are four main sources of school funding. These are outlined below:

Type of funding Utilised by
Funding from state government Primarily received by government schools
Funding from federal government Received by both government and non-government schools
Fees charged to parents Primarily received by non-government schools, with some government schools passing limited costs on to parents
Investment earnings Primarily received by non-government schools


When it comes to public money, government schools quite naturally receive more per student. According to the most recent National Report on Schooling in Australia formation available, in 2009/10 government school students received an average of $14,366 per head of public money (combined state and federal funds) and non-government school students received an average of $7,416 per head of public money (combined state and federal funds). It would appear more cost-effective for taxpayers to encourage students into the private system.

Averages are of limited interest, of course – but you can also check out the individual schools in your local area, via the My School website. Just do a postcode search, click on each school in turn and then click on the “school finances” link for each institution. The information will specify both state and federal government funding per student. It makes interesting reading!

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