Applying to non-government schools is not only a daunting process, but it can also be expensive. It’s important to know the costs involved and what you’re paying for.
You might experience time outlays and (not-so) hidden costs such as application fees. These fees are a ubiquitous charge made in the early stages of your child’s enrolment process. It is aimed to cover the cost of processing your child’s application.
But application fees can vary wildly between schools. We're here to find out why that is and how much they are.
What do application fees cover?
Depending on the school you’re applying for, typically application fees are used to cover the costs associated with processing and evaluating your child’s application. This can include postage and printing costs, as well as the cost of staff reviewing and evaluating your child’s applications and/or conducting interviews.
In some cases, schools may also use a portion of the application fee to fund scholarships or bursaries, helping education become more affordable for families who may be struggling financially.
How much are they?
Across many low-fee, suburban Victorian schools, the average application fee sits somewhere between $50–150. For example, St Francis’ Catholic College Melton charges an application fee of $50 for students entering Years 7–12, as does Balcombe Grammar in the well-healed Mount Martha.
Geelong Grammar, an institution that boasts a strong list of ex-students such as King Charles III, charges $150 per application.
On the other spectrum in regional Victoria, The Geelong College charges a relatively high application fee: a non-refundable $500 for those entering Years 7–12.
These fees are non-refundable and often required to be paid years prior to a child being of an age to enrol, allowing your child to join the waitlist.
Still, many schools charge no application fees at all, as is the case with the Islamic College of Melbourne and Catholic schools in the Diocese of Sale.
We’ve put together a selection of application fees charged by popular Victorian private schools below:
Balcombe Grammar - $50
St Francis College Melton - $50
Ballarat Clarendon College - $100
Camberwell Girls Grammar School - $100
Carey Baptist Grammar - $100
Goulburn Valley Grammar - $100
Lauriston Girls’ School - $100
Methodist Ladies’ College - $100
Mount Lilydale Mercy College - $100
Scotch College - $100
St Bede’s College - $100
St Francis Xavier College - $100
St Leonard’s College - $100
St Pauls Anglican Grammar (Traralgon) - $100
Star of the Sea College - $100
Woodleigh School - $100
Alphington Grammar School - $110
Penleigh and Essendon Grammar - $110
Trinity Grammar - $110
Camberwell Grammar School - $130
Sacre Coeur - $135
Academy of Mary Immaculate - $150
Ballarat Grammar - $150
Caulfield Grammar - $150
Edinburgh College - $150
Fintona Girls’ School - $150
Geelong Grammar - $150 (domestic), $350 (international)
Bialik College - $150
Lighthouse Christian College - $150
Kilbreda College - $150
Korowa Anglican Girls School - $150
Melbourne Girls’ Grammar - $150
Mount Scopus Memorial College - $150
St Michael’s Grammar School - $150
Tintern Grammar School - $150
Westbourne Grammar School - $150
Xavier College - $150
Yarra Valley Grammar School - $150
Brighton Grammar School - $200
Firbank Grammar School - $200
Lavalla Catholic College - $200
Peninsula Grammar - $200
St Mary’s College (St Kilda/Windsor) - $200
Wesley College - $200
Haileybury College - $250
Nunawading Christian College - $250
Presbyterian Ladies’ College - $300
St Kevin’s College - $500
The Geelong College - $500
Do schools offer a fee concession or exemption?
Some may waive or reduce their application fees for families who are experiencing financial hardship. You will need to enquire about your eligibility for such a concession or exemption.
You might also want to consider other costs associated with the enrolment process, such as assessment fees, tuition fees and boarding fees, where applicable. When applying to an academically selective school, you might also encounter an ‘assessment fee’.
Be reminded that some schools offer scholarships or bursaries, which can help provide the financial support that you need.