22 Jan 2016

'Free' schooling costs $37,000 - survey

2:44 pm on 22 January 2016

Parents are being warned to plan for rising school costs in the same way they would for retirement, with new figures suggesting a state education could cost up to $37,000 for children born this year.

 School children

Each child's schooling costs up to $37,000, the study suggests. Photo: 123RF

The study, by investment company ASG Education Programmes, asked parents who invest with it to outline all the costs they faced during their children's 13-year education - including uniforms, shoes, extra-curricular activities, text books, as well as computers and computer peripherals.

While the findings suggested state education cost up to $37,000, the upper figure for children at private schools was more than $300,000.

ASG chief executive John Velegrinis told RNZ's Nine to Noon the cost of sending a child to school has been steadily rising.

"We know that over the last 10 years education costs have been actually rising at 1.5 times the headline inflation costs and certainly growing faster than wage growth. Wage growth has been growing in this country at about 3 percent, education costs have been growing faster.

"So in net terms, parents are actually finding it a real impost."

Mr Velegrinis said there was a range of parents that were deeply concerned about the costs.

The advent of computer costs had posed challenges for families on a budget.

"All schools are cognisant of the fact that this is posing a challenge and they're trying to do what they can to defray the cost for parents.

"At the same time - they're taking the view that tablets or computers do need to be a homogenous type and that's not necessarily always the cheapest model, depending on what they want to do with it.

"That poses challenges for parents because instead of being able to buy a $200 to $300 model, you may have to buy a $700 model."

"They (children) will need these digital skills. I mean there's no question in the wide world that we're ever going to go back to quill and ink."

Mr Velegrinis recommended parents started planning their children's school journey early.

"It's similar to retirement - you wouldn't wait until one or two years from retirement before you decided to start planning for that eventuality.

"You do need to start early if you do want to get on top of it and ultimately achieve your aspiration."