With 2017 now in motion, many parents and carers are looking at how they’ll cover school fees for the year ahead, not to mention other costs, such as new uniforms, shoes, stationery and software.
The Schoolkids Bonus was phased out in July last year1, but the good news is you may still be eligible for financial relief through other subsidies in your state or territory.
State and territory allowances
Attending a government school, from pre-school through to high-school, is currently estimated to cost around $66,862 if you’re living in an Australian capital city2.
With that in mind, it’s worth knowing the rebates and tax breaks you may be eligible for.
New South Wales
If you drive the kids to school because there’s no public transport where you live, you may be eligible for the School Drive Subsidy. This replaces the Private Vehicle Conveyance Subsidy, as this was phased out in December last year.
There are also two financial support programs for eligible families who must board their children away from home to obtain secondary education. Find out more about the Living Away from Home Allowance and Boarding Scholarship for Isolated Students.
If you have secondary school age students who are attending state and approved non-state schools, you may be able to receive financial assistance to contribute toward the cost of textbooks and other learning resources. For eligibility details check out the Queensland state government website.
Depending on your situation, your family might be eligible to receive free or discounted uniforms, shoes, textbooks, stationery or software through the not-for-profit organisation State Schools’ Relief.
The Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund will also provide payments so eligible students can take part in school trips and various sporting activities.
The School Card scheme provides financial assistance with expenses, such as school fees, uniforms, camps and excursions. This is available for eligible students attending government schools.
The Secondary Assistance Scheme is available to parents who hold eligible concession cards. It provides an education program allowance, which is paid to the school, and a clothing allowance that can be paid to the school or parent.
The Student Assistance Scheme assists with the cost of school levies. It provides support to low-income families to help with the cost of students in kindergarten through to year 12.
The Back to School Payment Scheme provides financial assistance to parents and guardians of children enrolled in a Northern Territory school or who are registered for home-schooling. The entitlement can be used towards things like uniforms, books and school camps.
There is also a Sport Voucher Scheme that provides vouchers for sport, recreation and cultural activities.
You may also be able to get financial help if your child has to travel considerable distances to go to school each day or lives away from home to attend school. Check out information on the Northern Territory state government website.
Australian Capital Territory
The Secondary Bursary Scheme and Student Support Fund programs provide assistance to eligible low-income earners in the state with dependent full-time students in years seven to 10.
Commonwealth Government assistance
There’s also a Child Care Benefit which may help with the cost of out of school care, vacation care, pre-school and kindergarten. Eligibility criteria and an income test do apply, so see details on the Australian Department of Human Services website.
The cost of kids3 has almost doubled in the last ten years, so it’s worthwhile making the most of the subsidies available to you.
In the meantime, speak to your school about what financial support is available and talk to other parents who have children at the same or nearby schools.
Source: AMP 12 January 2017
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