Varsity College slug parents with fee hike

Are your kids heading to school at Varsity College next year?

If they’re in the higher grades, brace yourself: reports are in that fees have increased more than 50% on last year’s school fees, to reach more than $1,000 per student for the final two school years.

One parent reports that her child’s fees went up from $800 to attend grade 11 this year, to $1,200 for Grade 12.


She has a child in a lower grade as well, whose fees went up from $246 this year to $450 in 2017.

These fees include the use of a personal laptop per student in high school, but don’t include school uniforms or excursions.

I can understand why parents are annoyed about this. Varsity College is a state school – which means it is meant to provide a quality education at a low cost, as it’s primarily funded by the Queensland government.

Spending upwards of $1,500 on school fees and uniforms is not affordable for many families, especially now that the government has abolished the Schoolkids Bonus.

If you have three kids in high school you won’t get much change from $5k. As one parent shared with me:

“I have three kids at the school and next year, our school fees are up to almost $3,000. The school is being very strict in terms of ensuring students wear correct uniforms, right down to Varsity-branded socks and school-issued school bags. This means we’re looking at spending somewhere between $500 and $1000 on uniforms as well. We’re a single income family so this is going to make a really big impact.”

Times have certainly changed since I attended a local state school.

I recall my parents paying a very affordable “resource fee” of around $100 to cover my textbooks in high school. I wore hand-me-down uniforms from my big sister, supplemented by standard-green jumpers and sports skirts from Big W, and sported a generic bag and vinyl shoes picked up from Kmart on the cheap.

It was all very affordable, which is lucky – because it was all my parents could afford.

Letters went home to parents about the fee hike right in the middle of school holidays, which is a little cheeky, albeit very strategic. It gives parents a good week to cool down before they can get in contact with the school to discuss the higher cost.

To the administrators at Varsity College, brace yourselves: your first week back after the school holidays is going to be a busy one!