Key Facts

  • In the 2021/2022 financial year, average total government recurrent expenditures (money spent on the daily operations of schools) in government schools was $22,511 per student.

  • In the 2022 calendar year, average total recurrent expenditure was $19,372 per student in non-government schools.

  • Capital expenditure (money spent to buy or improve long-term fixed assets, such as renovating classrooms or constructing a new library) was $4.35 billion in government schools, $1.93 billion in Catholic schools and $2.95 billion in independent schools in the 2022 calendar year.

For more information on school finance information published in the National Report on Schooling in Australia, please click here.

Notes and caveats

Government expenditure on government schools

    • Reported amounts are total expenditure on government schools by state and territory governments and the Australian Government (National Schools Statistics Collection: Finance) - (Financial year)
    • The "Government expenditure on government schools" (National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC): Finance) data set is based on expenditure data for a financial year, whereas the "School income and capital expenditure for government and non-government schools" (My School finance) data is based on school income data for a calendar year. Therefore, the two data sources should not be compared.
    • Student numbers are the average full-time equivalent (FTE) student populations for the years being reported.
    • From 2018-19 FTE enrolled students used to derive NSW and total Australian recurrent expenditure per student for government and all schools excludes Norfolk Island Central School (NICS) FTE enrolments. NICS is under Queensland administration from 1 January 2022.
    • Expenditure incorporates both salary and non-salary costs. Non-salary costs include other operating expenses, grants and subsidies, and depreciation.
    • Salary on-costs include items such as superannuation, payroll tax and workers compensation.
    • There is a notional payroll tax for WA, Tas., Qld and the ACT, as schools in these jurisdictions are exempted from paying payroll tax.
    • In the government budget context, the user cost of capital is usually defined as the opportunity cost of funds tied up in capital assets used to deliver government services. Capital charging is the actual procedure used for applying this cost of capital to the asset management process. As such, it is a means of representing the cost of capital used in the provision of government budgetary outputs. A notional user cost of capital based on 8% of total written down value of capital assets as at 30 June of the relevant year is applied to all jurisdictions.
    • Depreciation and user cost of capital expenses relating to government schools have been attributed to states/territories based on ownership of the underlying assets. A portion of these assets would have been acquired through Australian Government capital contributions, with states and territories responsible for maintenance costs. Australian Government expenditure data in this table include only Australian Government specific purpose payments. Other Australian Government funding for schools and students is not included.
    • Capital expenditure figures include Australian Government capital grants contributions.
    • The data do not represent total government expenditure on school-level education. They specifically exclude items such as:
      • Commonwealth direct payments to parents and/or students
      • Preschools and TAFE establishments
      • Sinking fund payments and interest on Commonwealth loans
      • Teacher housing and student hostel provisions
      • Funds raised by schools, school councils or community organisations.
    • Components may not add to totals due to rounding.
    • For the 2008/2009 financial year, per capita and enrolment data was not collected.
    • Sources: Government Schools Finance Statistics Group, National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) - Finance, 2022 (unpublished); National Report on Schooling in Australia, previous years

Expenditure by non-government schools:

    • Excludes amounts related to boarding facilities, and direct payments by the Commonwealth to students and/or parents.
    • Includes recurrent and capital grants, debt servicing of loans for capital and operating purposes.
    • Capital expenditure excludes loan principal repayments.
    • Expenditure of system offices is allocated across the schools in proportion to enrolments.
    • Includes special schools.
    • Catholic independent schools (also known as non-systemic Catholic schools) are classified as Catholic schools for the purpose of this collection.
    • In some years, all independent schools in Tasmania and Australian Capital Territory are either classified into primary or combined school levels.
    • Components may not add to totals due to rounding.
    • 2009 and 2010 expenditure figures for Australian Government grants to schools, and capital expenditures by schools increased due to funding from the Australian Government 'Building the Education Revolution' program.
    • The Australian Government provided increased assistance in 2020 to some non-government schools in response to COVID-19.
    • Source: Australian Government Department of Education unpublished data, with unpublished Calendar Year Implicit Price Deflator from ABS, Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, Table 4.

Capital expenditure

    • Capital expenditure for both government and non-government schools were derived from MySchool data. These amounts differ from the capital expenditure amounts based on NSSC data for government schools and data provided by the Australian Government Department of Education for non-government schools. For the MySchool Finance data, jurisdictions agreed to exclude all capital expenditure on the construction and acquisition of new schools where the expenditure was incurred in calendar years prior to the school becoming operational. There are generally 40-45 new schools opened each year, for which this change applies.
    • Data is aggregated by the school attributes (school sector, geolocation and school type) for the latest available year, rather than allowing minor changes in these attributes over time to impact on the time series.
    • Important Note: there are key differences between the 'School income and capital expenditure for government and non-government schools' - My School finance data (based on a calendar year) and the 'Government expenditure on government schools' - National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) finance data (based on a financial year). The income-based finance data from My School should not be compared to the expenditure-based finance data from NSSC (Finance).
    • In the My School data collection, a number of Catholic non-systemic schools, mainly in NSW, are classified as independent schools. This affects finance data for those states and nationally, for the Catholic and independent sectors reported in this data set. An option has been provided to allow the viewer to choose whether to include these non-systemic Catholic schools in the independent or Catholic sector in data views.
    • The methodology and other associated material related to My School finance data classification may be obtained from the My School website.
    • From 2016 to 2017, the method used to calculate NSW government school income from fees, charges and parental contributions and other private sources was changed for data quality purposes. This change affects the comparability of the 2017 and later years' data for NSW government schools with previous years' data.
    • Source: ACARA My School Finance Data Collection.