Income test for private school

An independent Melbourne school is the first in Australia to introduce means-tested fees in a bid to tackle the rising unaffordability of private school education.

According to a report by The Australian, Jewish school Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah College has introduced a system which calculates tuition based on parents’ income.

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The scheme, called CAPS (Creating Access Promoting Success), is based on a system used in Montreal and is believed to be the first of its kind in Australia.

Principal Yehoshua Smukler said the school, which is one of the top-performing in the country, didn’t want to be elite, and introduced the scheme after seeing falling enrolments.

“We believe a quality education should be accessible. Some of our families can afford any school they want but they’re choosing our school on purpose because they believe in what we are offering,” Rabbi Smukler said.

“Families don’t want to go into significant debt or make unreasonable compromises to their lifestyle. They want a private school and Jewish education for their children but find it’s unaffordable.”

School fees for parents earning less than $100,000 are capped at $8,000 each year, while fees are capped at $63,000 for households with an annual income of $350,000.

Rabbi Smukler said he expected private tuition fees, which are already at $30,000 during VCE in some elite schools, to rise to $50,000 in the next five years.

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